Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Impure Reason

We didn't watch last evening's State of the Union speech by His Nibs President Trump - husband put in a suggestion, early on, that we should cease and desist - so we did. I haven't yet read anything about what was said, but I wouldn't be a bit surprised if the word 'codswallop' hasn't been intoned by someone somewhere! So...apropos of nothing but that:

A few examples from Jayj Jacob's
Codswallop Detector & Critique of Impure Reason.
These are his personal indicators of codswallop (also known as nonsense), found sometimes in astrology but more often elsewhere - I've chosen some of the more universal ones from the list.

The author forms "an objective assessment of faults, logical mistakes and spurious reasoning most apparent and seemingly inherent in astrology and astro-logic. By no means are these mental preconceptions limited to astrology or metaphysics; they are pandemic in western culture."

(Notes in blue strips, below each item, are my own by the way.)

Authoritism: The dual beliefs that if it's in print it is true & that famous people are always right ('authors' are de facto 'famous'). The more famouser the more righter. "If I haven't already read, or heard of them, they are nobody, and know nothing."
NOTE: I used to believe this, but well over a decade and a half online has opened my eyes - very clarifying it has been!

Conspiritorialism: The conviction that the truth is being deliberately withheld from 'us' by 'them'. The fewer people that know it, or believe it, the truer it is. Denial is always evidence for, rather than against.
NOTE: Sometimes a conspiracy is just a conspiracy, sometimes it ain't!

Cosmenology: The belief that whatever makes the universe seem pretty, kind, caring, etc., is correct. "Beauty is Truth." [reference Robert Pante, "If you look good, and dress well, you don't need to have a purpose in life."]
NOTE: True that!

Audiblation: The assumption that volume makes right. The louder (and meaner) you say it, the truer it is. Capitalization Convinces.
NOTE: capitalization gets you roundly scolded by all and sundry, so this one is a tad iffy. I suspect most people have grown wise to "audiblation".

Spuriousism: The assumption that if you can make it seem to work for you once, it does indeed work - and must be used by everyone.
NOTE: Yes, this one can be applied to astrology, right enough - also to things like slimming (or other) diet ideas, recipes, political campaigning, themes and plots for film and TV shows.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Scientist, Mystic and... Astrologer - Arthur M. Young

Last week, at Quora I was prompted to a very brief rant about astrological skeptics. It went something like this:
"Skeptics on astrology are some of the most determined and vehement of all types of skeptics. My view is that it makes them feel superior - more intelligent, more logical, more… well, you know! That’s fine by me. Let ’em feel better if that’s all it takes."

Later, I happened upon an old post of mine, featuring a scientist who was also an astrologer - quelle horreur! I shall give it a re-run, ever so slightly edited.

Arthur M. Young was born in Paris, France, his American parents lived there at various periods, while his father, a landscape painter, studied Impressionism. I'm going to call Arthur M. Young AMY, from here on, for brevity and ease of typing. He was a mathematician and scientist first and foremost, and inventor of the first Bell Helicopter. It was later in life that he slid into philosophy, metaphysics, ESP, and even astrology. Shock horror - a scientist who was also an astrologer! Would that there were more of his ilk around today.

In Jeffrey Mishloves "An Appreciation of Arthur M. Young" he writes:
"Arthur was also a student of eastern mysticism and yoga...... was a master of astrology, and he enjoyed demonstrating its value with reference to my own chart. He did so in the most uncanny ways."
There's a website dedicated to AMY. It includes some of his essays, several of which mention his study of astrology, in fact one is dedicated to the subject.

Part III: On the Value of Astrology for a Science of Life
by Arthur M. Young (1992)
In summing up his essay, AMY wrote:
To sum up: The rejection of astrology by science is based on the belief of science that there is no way for planets to influence life. This belief is opposed by the practitioners of astrology, who find a factual correlation between the position of the planets and the dates of important events in life.

But the principles on which physics is based do not predict or even accommodate life. Life requires a narrow temperature range and a periodic alternation of this temperature, and hence a very special environment, requiring a planetary system with a certain type of sun. This makes life depend on contingency rather than law, and indicates that while the laws of nature are necessary to life they are not sufficient.

Since alternation (periodic change) of temperature is necessary to the evolution of organic life in plants and animals, it would seem that the evolution of consciousness, which has its inception in organisms which move against entropy, should for its completion require an alternation of longer period than the daily or yearly alternation of temperature. This is what the outer planets supply.

As for the question of how the planets can influence mundane events, this problem already exists in biological rhythms, which have been found to be endogenous; that is, not dependent on known physical influence

That, I can (just about) understand. I'm not going to pretend that I understand his Theory of Process , his studies of consciousness and suchlike. I don't. It's all way over my head. His Theory of Process relies on a kind of wave-like effect which he considers applies to everything in one way or another, because it's the origin of everything, starting with "Light"..... (I think!)

There's more information at the Halexandria website:

Ahem (too deep for me) - quickly turning to AMY's chart then -

We should find prominent Saturn/Capricorn(mathematics and science) Uranus/Aquarius (invention and maybe astrology) and Jupiter/Sagittarius (philosophy)

Arthur M. Young born on 3 November 1905 in Paris, France. Astrodatabank gives his time of birth as 10.23am.

His Sun and Mercury in Scorpio remind me that Carl Sagan has these placements (but with even more Scorpio planets). As well as its reputation for eroticism, passion, paranoia etc. Scorpio has that incisive mentality (especially with Mercury there) which can cut through stuff which leaves the rest of us deeply confused. AMY's Scorpio Sun closely trines mystic Neptune in Cancer - here's his draw to mysticism - a draw which Carl Sagan didn't have.

Aquarius Moon trines Jupiter in Gemini. The harmony between invention and philosophy in AMY's life is here, for Jupiter is ruler of Sagittarius (his rising sign, and therefore Jupiter is his ruling planet) and it is in very helpful aspect to his inventive Aquarius Moon.

Now we come to more of what I was expecting to see: Saturn in Aquarius, and....Uranus in Capricorn. Aquarius, Capricorn, Uranus, Saturn - there's a peculiar link here.
Aquarius and Capricorn were originally both ruled by Saturn, modern astrology places Uranus as ruler of Aquarius, and in AMY's chart the planets swap homes, with Saturn in Aquarius and Uranus in Capricorn. I'm not sure how that can be interpreted except that it's a conglomeration involving mathematics and science(Saturn and Capricorn) invention and astrology (Uranus and Aquarius) - all kind of related to one another by marriage (as it were), bringing together two very different realms. In addition Moon in Aquarius is in helpful semi-sextile aspect to Uranus in Capricorn - a further blending of the two realms.

So, all in all, AMY's natal chart, even from my minimalist take on it, clearly matches his chosen paths in life.
It has been said that everything everywhere affects everything else.
This may be true.
Or perhaps the world is just full of patterns.

( Terry Pratchett in Wings)

Monday, January 29, 2018

Music Monday ~ Earworms

Earworms! I have two at the moment, thanks to the theme tunes of a couple of old TV series we're watching, at the rate of one or two episodes per evening.

The first song accompanies The Guardian, first aired between 2001 and 2004, starring Simon Baker - I love to watch Simon Baker! He has a gorgeous face. There are times when he reminds me, facially, of the late Paul Newman - now he had a face for the ages! Simon, the guardian, is a very different Simon from Simon The Mentalist.

The earworm - by The Wallflowers:

My second earwormy tune: the theme song from British comedy series The Royle Family, aired originally between 1998 and 2000, with 'specials' from 2006 to 2012. This show is definitely an acquired taste, even for British viewers - and what American viewers make of it I cannot imagine - though my husband gets it, and enjoys many a belly laugh while watching it.

The show's theme song is sung by Neil Gallagher of the band Oasis.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Here it is again...

As John Glenn said,
"There is still no cure for the common birthday" which case:

And I'm taking the weekend off! I'll be just a couple of days older when I return - that's my story!

Friday, January 26, 2018

Arty Farty Friday ~ Pollock

Jackson Pollock was born on
28 January 1912 in Cody, Wyoming. Pollock's art is very much an acquired taste. From biographical notes, and from the movie, Pollock, it appears that he was a veritable poster boy for zodiac sign Aquarius. His natal Uranus, modern ruler of Aquarius, is very close to his Aquarius Sun - just barely in Capricorn, in the last minutes of the sign, and his Sun is at 7.31 Aquarius. That's close enough to combine forces - Aquarius + Uranus = eccentricity rampant!

Pollock was never satisfied with the status quo, always trying for something different. I used to think of those later Pollock works, the paint splatter ones, as a cynical money-grabbing exercise. I changed my mind, after seeing one or two originals on visits to art galleries. There's a lot of skill involved, more than one might initially appreciate. These pieces have a regular "rhythm", yet Pollock danced around his canvas on the floor, slinging paint hither and thither in seemingly random fashion; even so, the finished product looks somehow planned, the colour distribution, the clever choices and mixes of colours. An example:

 Full Fathom Five

Jackson Pollock and Ed Harris: an actor/director, and a maverick artist born a generation plus a couple of months apart: the actor/director, Ed Harris born 28 Nov 1950, in Englewood, New Jersey.

Ed Harris starred in and directed the 2000 movie "Pollock". Harris's father once bought his son a book about Jackson Pollock. He felt that Ed bore a strong resemblance to the painter. That book no doubt kick-started the actor's apparent fascination with the artist.

It seems logical that the actor/director would need a deep understanding of the real-life character he portrays, and that somewhere in the natal charts of the two men there would be a link. There are several. The inner chart is Pollock's; chart placements in the outer circle are Ed Harris's.

I can find no time of birth for Pollock, though a rectified time is suggested at Astrodatabank - 12.06pm (26 Taurus). Astrodatabank gives 5.32am (17 Scorpio) for Ed Harris. I'm not including ascendants here, just comparing planetary positions.

I think Ed Harris's natal chart indicates a kinder and warmer character than Jackson Pollock seems to have been. Still, there ought to be some link which enabled Harris to give such an outstanding portrayal of the artist on screen. The actor seemed to understand Pollock's oddball nature very well.

Pollock said several times that he couldn't separate himself from his art. Not knowing much about his art when I began to read about him, it was more his persona, his struggles as a human being, that were interesting to me.
(Ed Harris).

Harris's Mars and Pollock's Mercury are both at 16 Capricorn.

Pollock's natal Venus lies at 9 Sagittarius. Ed Harris's natal Jupiter at 9 Sagittarius.

Ed Harris's natal Venus is at 28 Sagittarius Jackson Pollock's Jupiter at 29 Aquarius- in harmonious sextile aspect.

Their natal Suns are at 7 Aquarius and 5 Sagittarius- also sextile.

Harris's natal Moon at 17 Cancer is close enough to be termed conjoined to Pollock's natal Neptune at 21 Cancer. The Cancer/Capricorn opposition in Pollock's chart, Mercury/Neptune is echoed in Harris's by Moon/Mars.

These connections must surely have significance. The "feel" of a connection is there, without resorting to individual interpretation of the links.

Astrology is stranger than we realise - stranger even than Jackson Pollock!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Waves of Change, Wired-in.

An old article at Live Science, "Some Brains Are Wired For Change", by Amelia Thomas is an interesting read. Astrologers have long realised that an inbuilt easy acceptance of change, some individuals are born with, has specific astrological indications. A preponderance of well aspected personal planets in the mutable signs (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces) or positive emphasis on the zodiac sign Aquarius or planet Uranus.

According to the linked article, scientists are finding that:

"People who welcome new experiences have stronger connections between their memory and reward brain centers than people who tend to avoid anything new, research now shows.

Specifically, people who actively seek lifestyle changes may have a more developed connection between two specific brain areas: the hippocampus, a site for storing and retrieving new and old memories, and the ventral striatum, a reward system which is responsible for those carpe diem moments, said researcher Dr. Bernd Weber of the Life & Brain Center at the University of Bonn in Germany. Turns out, if the hippocampus identifies an experience as new, it then relays signals to the striatum to release neurotransmitters which lead to positive feelings.

"The strength of the connection is positively correlated to novelty seek[ers] ... but this does not imply that having weaker connections is a 'bad' thing," Weber told LiveScience.

Weber and his University of Bonn colleague Michael X. Cohen used non-invasive MRI imaging technology on 20 subjects to follow the flow of diffused water through their brain tissues. The information was then used to reconstruct a nerve pathway to the striatum. If the pull of water diffusion is stronger, that in turn implies a stronger nerve fiber tract, Weber said.

The test candidates also took personality surveys, choosing the best descriptions of their attitudes about trying new things. The data revealed the relationships between a person’s personality and their physical brain structure.

"Brain 'wiring' and personality are not really one causing the other," Weber said. It's more likely to be an interaction between the two."
All of which led me to wonder whether if, at certain times in the cycles of the year, vibrations, electri-magnetic waves, ...or something... provide a helpful mix to strengthen, in a newly born child, connections between specific centers in the brain described in the article. If so, do these times coincide with times when astrological doctrine expects similar characteristics to be identifiable in a personality?

Other characteristics might be similarly led by conditions at certain points in the yearly cycle. I don't find this an outlandish idea at all. We are all part of the same universal physical network. "We are star stuff", a scientist called Carl Sagan said so!

We must not discount family inheritance of physical or mental strengths and weaknesses, of course, but anyway, astrological links within families are known to exist.

It's unlikely that data obtained from surveys such as the one described would ever be made available to astrologers, more's the pity.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The (Scary) Circle

Some movies are supposed to be scary, some are unintentionally so. I haven't yet decided which best describes "The Circle", currently available via Netflix. We watched it last week, and it scared me! George Orwell's "1984" seemed to be coming to life, but in slightly different guise and flavour. Remember that famous quote attributed (possibly mistakenly) to Sinclair Lewis? "When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross" ? After watching "The Circle" I decided a re-phrase of that quote would be apt: "When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the internet and carrying a smartphone."

"The Circle" is a movie adaptation of Dave Egger's 2013 novel of the same name. It's a cautionary tale, the story of a young tech worker, Mae Holland, played by Emma Watson. She gets an entry-level job with The Circle, a powerful internet corporation based in The Bay Area, California.

The Circle stores data, unbelievably huge amounts of data: financial, medical, social, personal, about its account holders. The Circle's leaders convince account holders that collection of their data is for their own convenience and will bring about a better life experience. Open sharing is good, they are told constantly. There are no grim oppressors here, their role in this digital age is taken over by smarmy, insincere Machiavellian figures, played by Tom Hanks and Patton Oswalt.

The Circle, the original 2013 novel, was set in what was then the near future - a near future so near now, in 2018, that you can taste it! Some elements of the story are already here.

I'll not outline the story in detail, in case any stray reader might want to read the book or see the movie. There are numerous reviews around the net for anyone curious to know more. Reviewers in general are not impressed with the movie adaptation, though most do say that the theme is a good one - the adaptation for screen could have been handled better. I agree. There was something missing, for me. I found The Circle scary and prescient though, because of what I've read about today's social network websites. The movie's worst failing, I thought, was that it felt flat, in tone. Tom Hanks played the part he was supposed to play well enough, yet it's not easy to erase his long-time chat show image: a genuinely nice, good guy. A different actor in that part could have added extra edge and a brisker tone. Let's see, who can play smarmy, charismatic, but basically manipulative and...well...bad, with no ingrained "good guy" background?
Bryan Cranston? James Spader?

Monday, January 22, 2018

Music Monday ~ Meet the Genres

At Quora last week, someone posed a question along these lines: If music genres were people what would they be like? I'll have a bash at this one, thought your friendly neighbourhood blogger. This is what I came up with:

Classical - Tall, handsome gentleman, polite and charming, with a beautifully dressed lady on his arm.

Swing & Big Band - Clean-cut happy-go-lucky guy in blazer and slacks, will buy drinks all round at the bar, girl friend is a leggy blonde who loves to socialise.

American Standards - A bit of a solitary nerd, horn-rimmed spectcles, always scibbling on the back of tickets and cigarette packets.

Jazz - African American couple, moody, changeable, charismatic, but for outsiders, not easy to understand.

Blues - Solitary, gloomy African American guy - tends to study his own navel a lot.

Early Rock and Roll - Teen school friends, frequent the coffee bars, a bit full of themselves- they think they've invented the wheel.

Psychadelic 60s
- Good looking young couple, long flowing hair, he bearded, she bra-less, both smoking - something.

Country - A couple who've been through the mill, romantically and in life generally. They drive an old truck & go to church of a Sunday.

Folk - A youngish couple who have an oddly old fashioned look, a bit rumpled, a bit unkempt, yet they always retain a certain classiness.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

"You've either got or you haven't got class..."

Ann Landers was a pen name created by Chicago Sun-Times advice columnist Ruth Crowley in 1943 and taken over by Esther Pauline "Eppie" Lederer in 1955. For 56 years, the Ask Ann Landers syndicated advice column was a regular feature in many newspapers across North America. Owing to this popularity, "Ann Landers", though fictional, became something of a national institution and cultural icon.
(More at Wikipedia, HERE).

While much of the advice dished out by "Ann Landers" writers would now feel seriously dated, the following quote, on how to have 'class' endures .

"Class never runs scared.
It is sure-footed and confident.
It can handle anything that comes along.
Class has a sense of humor.
It knows a good laugh is the best lubricant for oiling the machinery of human relations.

Class never makes excuses.
It takes its lumps and learns from past mistakes.
Class knows that good manners are nothing more than a series of small, inconsequential sacrifices.

Class bespeaks an aristocracy that has nothing to do with ancestors or money.
Some wealthy “blue bloods” have no class, while individuals who are struggling to make ends meet are loaded with it.

Class is real.
It can’t be faked.

Class never tried to build itself by tearing others down.
Class is already up and need not strive to look better by making others look worse.

Class can “walk with kings and keep it’s virtue and talk with crowds and keep the common touch.” Everyone is comfortable with the person who has class because that person is comfortable with himself.

If you have class, you’ve got it made.

If you don’t have class, no matter what else you have, it doesn’t make any difference."

― Ann Landers

Friday, January 19, 2018

Arty Farty Friday ~ Cindy Sherman

Happy Birthday, Cindy Sherman! As her birthday this year has fallen on Arty Farty Friday, I'm re-airing a post I wrote about her work in May of 2010.

It was tricky finding a photograph of the real Cindy Sherman, which is odd really, because almost all her best-known photographs feature just....herself. Having studied many pages of her photographs, on-line, I'm left with an impression of her as the Tracy Ullman of photography - or maybe it should be the other way around....Tracy is the Cindy Sherman of comedy? Either way, they both present themselves as caricatures or satirical images of cultural archetypes or stereotypes.

Cindy Sherman, in costume and makeup, portrays images of the female sex in all their glory or ignominy, spotlighting their foibles, conceits and human frailties. A series of black and white photographs in the style of film stills from the 1950s was a feature of her early work. More recently she concentrates on American female stereotypes. Some of her photo-portraits seem, on first sight, overly harsh, bitchy and unnecessarily cruel - but then life's like that! There is underlying social comment here I guess - but without much trace of compassion or empathy.

Before I looked at her birth data and natal chart I was expecting to find evidence of a self-centered personality. After all, her main body of work depicts only herself, albeit in many guises. Perhaps there'll be some close alignment to Sun or Moon by Uranus, planet of the unexpected and weird, or of Neptune representing photography, creativity and illusion.

Cindy Sherman was born on 19 January 1954 in Glen Ridge, New Jersey at 4:27 AM (Astrodatabank).

Sun conjunct Venus in the last degrees of Capricorn conjunct Mercury in first degrees of Aquarius, with Uranus in opposition from Cancer. Here we have weird old Uranus's involvement! Moon in early Leo also opposes Sun/Venus/Mercury. Neptune, planet of photography and illusion is in square aspect to the Sun Capricorn/Aquarius cluster. Both opposition and square aspects are thought to be challenging rather than helpful. Initially this might be thought to be a poor fit here, yet these hard aspects and challenges could well account for the overly harsh treatment Sherman gives to her portraiture. Furthermore, Mars and Saturn in Scorpio (a harsh trio if ever I saw one)could well reflect a lack of compassion I see in her work.

Sun (essence of self)forming an axis with Moon (inner self) represents her seeming need to "use" herself in her work. I'd have expected either Sun or Moon to have been nearer to an angle though. Sun is in 2nd house, the house of earnings and possessions. Her work does command record prices - a Sherman "movie still" sold for $2.1 million (Christie's, 2007). Amazing!

Sagittarius was rising as Sherman was born - no planets close to the ascendant though, but Jupiter in Gemini is on the opposite angle, the descendant, giving it extra significance in her chart and her nature. Jupiter represents exaggeration, Gemini = communication of all types, so her urge to portray exaggerated portraits for public consumption fits this placement well.

“I feel I’m anonymous in my work. When I look at the pictures, I never see myself; they aren’t self-portraits. Sometimes I disappear.”

“I didn’t want to make ‘high’ art, I had no interest in using paint, I wanted to find something that anyone could relate to without knowing about contemporary art. I wasn’t thinking in terms of precious prints or archival quality; I didn’t want the work to seem like a commodity.”

— Cindy Sherman

Thursday, January 18, 2018


Dennis Kucinich has been one of my favourite figures in US politics since my first months in the USA. He has been gone too long! Now it is time! Several archived posts on him are accessible from the Label Cloud in the sidebar.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

1968: Oh my - 50 years ago - How Time Flies!

This special edition glossy magazine (knock-down price $14.99 - which I refuse to pay) was sitting in the rack at the supermarket check-out the other day. I asked husband to take a quick photo of it for me, it reminded me of an old blog post of mine, and I'm always happy to be able to pull out an old post, when its contents might have become new again, so saving further wear and tear on my typing fingers.

Previously posted in 2007 and 2011 - now ever so slightly edited.
3's a charm!

There have been some clear "tipping points" throughout the world's history. Whether we're presently living through another of these remains to be's starting to have that smell about it though. The thought was originally sparked by a reference to journalist Dahr Jamail, author of Beyond the Green Zone. I discovered that Dahr Jamail was born in 1968, into the atmosphere of tumult, unrest and change that year brought with it. From a book review (now disappeared) of Beyond the Green Zone:
"Soon after the US invasion of Iraq in March 2003, Jamail emptied his savings, bought a plane ticket to Iraq, and began writing about what he saw as an independent reporter from the war zone. His missives were sorely needed by those people looking for a side of the story not being told by the so-called embedded media and soon his stories were being published in multiple internet outlets, radio programs and even some newspapers....... the book is a riveting and clearly written piece of journalism that puts the pap most US residents consider as news to shame."

Without much astrological knowledge, it is possible to see astrology at work. Here's an example of how the qualities of a single year can be crystalised and reflected back many years later by some of those born within that time frame.

How about that year, 1968? Anything special about it? A synopsis of Mark Kurlansky's book 1968, The Year that Rocked the World threw some light on this.

"1968 was a year of political upheaval and protest around the world. In the U.S., there were the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, the antiwar protests, the Chicago riot at the Democratic National Convention, and the Apollo 8 mission around the Moon. In Vietnam, the Tet offensive was underway. Protests in France began the downfall of Charles de Gaulle's government. Soviet tanks rolled into Prague to quell the rebellion there. Mexico City police opened fire on university protesters. Mark Kurlansky documents these events and more that occurred in 1968, and examines the cultural forces that drew them altogether across the world."

An exceptional year! 1968 is described elsewhere as "a benchmark of unrest, tumult, and change."

Astrology tells us that those born during that time are bound to bear its imprint - some more clearly than others.

From a list of birthdays in 1968 , among the usual gaggle of actors, musicians, sportsmen, three names leapt off the screen: Mohammed Atta (said to have masterminded 9/11 attacks, and died in them), Timothy McVeigh, (the notorious Oklahoma City Bomber), and Ramzi Yousef (mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing). The astrology of that tumultuous year had certainly left its imprint on those three characters, and in the worst possible way! Dahr Jamail, however, carries the positive side of the same imprint.

It's necessary, for a moment, to blank one's mind to the horror and tragedy that Atta, McVeigh and Yousef individually caused, and look at their motives. They each had what they saw as "a cause" which they sought to further. They chose the wrong route - a route of destruction and death. Dahr Jamail too has a cause, but in him it is manifested in a noble and more enlightened way. His "cause" is to let the public see the truth. He furthers it in a way dangerous only to himself. The causes of these four men spookily reflect qualities of the year of their birth, 1968, when numerous events, both tragic and noble occurred, all in pursuit of "causes".

Pluto's transit during 1968 took in 22 to 25 degrees Virgo, with Uranus retrograding from 29 to 25 Virgo then proceeding into Libra by October. Neptune started the year at 25 Scorpio and after some retrograde motion finished in December at 27 Scorpio.

All the outer planets, then, were in the last ten degrees of Virgo or Scorpio for most of the year, often within conjunction (same degree or near) and/or sextile (60*). In the summer months Saturn at between 21 and 25 Aries would have been inconjunct (150*) some of the outer planets.

I'm not going to attempt to interpret those configurations, except to describe the qualities of the three planets involved. Pluto is known as the planet of transformation (sometimes involving death). Uranus is planet of change and revolution. Saturn is planet of laws, rules, structure, representing the establishment and "status quo". Neptune is planet of illusion, delusion, and dreams. The fact that these astrologically powerful planets were so closely aligned during 1968 has to have a very significant connection to the world changing events happening then, as well as to the qualities born into some of the year's natives.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Music Monday ~ That Gently Weeping Guitar

The lyrics of George Harrison's beautiful composition, While My Guitar Gently Weeps
are so meaningful, yet to my mind many artists, however illustrious their record, do not give the piece's meaning enough weight in cover versions.

I look at you all see the love there that's sleeping
While my guitar gently weeps
I look at the floor and I see it needs sweeping
Still my guitar gently weeps
I don't know why nobody told you how to unfold your love
I don't know how someone controlled you
They bought and sold you.

I look at the world and I notice it's turning
While my guitar gently weeps
With every mistake we must surely be learning
Still my guitar gently weeps
I don't know how you were diverted
You were perverted too
I don't know how you were inverted
No one alerted you.

I look at you all see the love there that's sleeping
While my guitar gently weeps
Look at you all . . .
Still my guitar gently weeps.
Those lyrics are written in such a way that they can be understood either literally or metaphorically.

Literally, one can imagine the singer sitting in the corner of a bedroom watching loved ones sleeping, possibly some have been in trouble or are unhappy. He sings that they are capable of so much love, so much good, but they have been led astray, “perverted” by…could be by weakness or manipulation by others. The possibility for change, through love, remains.

Metaphorically, the sleepers become the whole of humanity. We are innately capable of so much love, yet we have been drawn away from its focus by manipulation, greed, lust, hatred - perversion, by others, or by governments, media, leaders, the Powers That Be.

The singer sees these things, and even his guitar weeps. Literally he sees dirt on the floor around him, metaphorically he sees the wrongs and injustices of life continuing, day after day, and nobody tries to change them - they need sweeping away, just like the dirt on his floor.

There’s a lovely version of the song in the movie “Across the Universe”, it is played when the leading character and a friend first hear of the murder of Martin Luther King Jr. The words fit that terrible, and sad, situation so well. This version, for me is the ultimate and definitive vocal version, sung by Martin Luther McCoy and Jim Sturgess. As it is MLK Day today, 15 January, it makes this reference to the song even more apt.

For me, many vocal versions do not do the lyrics' meaning proper justice - the words are virtually thrown away. Looking for some version that would satisfy me, I found two - strangely they are both jazz versions - but the musicians really understood what the lyrics are all about and were able to interpret them beautifully, instrumentally.

British violinist Nigel Kennedy's great instrumental version is eminently goosebump-worthy!

Another great jazz version is played by Portland Oregon group, Black Chamber. I love this, and the video images accompanying it are so apt.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Can a man......?

This question appeared at Quora this week.

I guess it's the currently charged atmosphere of
#Me too and suchlike that has set a few male nerves jangling, perhaps a tad overmuch. Once upon a time such a question wouldn't have seemed at all relevant.

There are some good answers. I especially enjoyed reading the one from Andrew Cullum - a little story of his encounter with the boots of the woman standing behind him in line at a 7/11.

I didn't contribute to the thread myself, but the question did set me thinking back through my long lifetime, my interactions with humans of the male variety, searching for examples of commentary from them on my wearing apparel.

You know... my opinion of men on this front is that, in general, they simply do not notice a woman's clothes, unless one wears something deliciously revealing, wildly eccentric or when there's a huge stain on the back where you'd managed to (for instance) sit down in some cheese sauce. The only instances I recall of my clothing being under scrutiny, complimented or commented on have been in conversation with gay guy colleagues, who have always had the knack of doing so delightfully and gracefully. My husband will, occasionally, notice the pattern on a shirt I'm wearing and say he likes the pattern (he's arty farty by nature), but I usually have to ask him directly whether I "look alright". Earlier male significant others in my life have had much the same attitude - even my first husband, an Italian with fairly snazzy fashion consciousness himself, didn't seem to give a hoot what I was wearing.

Maybe it's me! Maybe (I snigger) they loved me for my mind.

All the above being so, I suppose that I'd be flabbergasted more than anything else, if a male commented, unbidden, on an article of my clothing. I would certainly not think he was being sexist - nor would I have thought so when I was much, much younger - but then, I come from a different era.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Arty Farty Friday ~ Paving the Way for Female Artists in Photography & Sculpture

Frances Benjamin Johnston and Barbara Hepworth, these two women, both born in the first half of January, 39 years and the wide Atlantic apart, became two of the first women to be successful in their chosen fields of art: photography and sculpture respectively.

Frances "Fannie" Benjamin Johnston
(15 January 1864 – 16 May 1952) was an early American female photographer and photojournalist whose career lasted for almost half a century. She is most known for her portraits, images of southern architecture, and various photographic series featuring African Americans and Native Americans at the turn of the 20th century.

Rather than posting too small images of some of F.B. Johnstone's photographs here, I'll leave a link to Monovisions a website with a thread of large format images of her photographs - do go take a look:
Vintage: Everyday Life in the U.S by Frances Benjamin Johnston (1900s-1910s)

Dame Jocelyn Barbara Hepworth DBE
(10 January 1903 – 20 May 1975) was an English artist and sculptor. Her work exemplifies Modernism and in particular modern sculpture. She was one of the few female artists of her generation to achieve international prominence.

Barbara Hepworth was born in Yorkshire on 10 January, 1903. She lived in Cornwall from 1939.
Hepworth emerged in the late 1920s as a leading member of a new generation of sculptors. Her work became increasingly abstract in the 1930s and, after moving to Cornwall, she began to make sculpture in terms of her experience of landscape. She continued to carve throughout her life, but from 1956 she also made works in bronze which allowed her to produce more and which were better suited to international travel.
(See HERE)

This video (around 3 minutes long) offers a brief overview showing some of Barbara Hepworth's sculptures.


Both charts are set for 12 noon, time of birth isn't known in either case. Moon positions and ascendants will not be accurate, as shown.

I wondered if there would be similarities in the charts of these two pioneering women, other than their shared Capricorn Sun sign. They did not share a Moon sign. Ms Johnston's natal Moon would have almost certainly been in Aries, whatever her time of birth - Aries is the classic sign of a pioneer, as it happens! If she were born quite a bit earlier than noon, Moon would have been close to Neptune, and Neptune relates to photography (among other things). Also in Ms Johnston's chart Sun is in helpful sextile to Jupiter and both planets link via 150 degree aspects to Uranus, planet of all that is modern or unexpected. I like that formation for her - it's known as a "Yod" or Finger of Fate. The Yod links the signs of Capricorn (practicality, business) and Scorpio (passion, determination), directing these to Uranus in Gemini - the classic communications sign; this lady's photo-journalism was pure communication, and the fact that it was by a female photographer in that era was unexpected. Bingo!

Frances Benjamin Johnston, born on 15 January 1864 in Grafton, West Virginia, USA.

There is no obvious similarity between the charts. I'm not surprised to see that Barbara Hepworth's chart had extra emphasis on Capricorn, including the sign's ruler, Saturn. To my mind sculpture - the manipulation of solid matter into art - naturally links to Saturn (solidity, rigidity) and Capricorn the Cardinal Earth sign of the zodiac.

Mercury and Jupiter are in Uranus-ruled Aquarius, adding an unexpected, modernistic tone.
Uranus in Sagittarius sextiles Jupiter in Aquarius - so here's a loose similarity to Frances B. Johnston's chart - the Uranus/Jupiter link.

Moon in Barbara Hepworth's chart, was at 5 Gemini at noon, if she were born in the very early hours, Moon might have been in the last degrees of Taurus - that would put it in harmonious trine to Venus, planet of the arts in Capricorn and would be very apt - but it's speculation only!

Dame Barbara Hepworth, born on 10 January 1903 in Wakefield, Yorkshire, England, UK.