Saturday, June 30, 2018

Saturday and Sundry Thoughts on the Outlander TV series, & on Two Battles

I recently bought a used set of DVDs, as a change from Netflix etc. These cover season 1, volumes 1 and 2, of the TV series Outlander. Any tale with time travel embedded, for us, is always worth a look!

So far we've watched only volume 1 of season 1 - and in black and white. The new TV set we had to buy when ours decided to go awry, has yet to be fully sorted out for use of our older DVD player. I do believe that, as I type, the husband has managed to do this, so volume 2 will probably be viewed in colour. I actually enjoy black and white movies, and lack of colour in volume 1 of Outlander didn't bother me at all - in fact I thought it rather enhanced the mysterious side of the time travel involved.
From the Wikipedia link above:
Outlander is a television drama series based on the historical time travel Outlander series of novels by Diana Gabaldon. Developed by Ronald D. Moore and produced by Sony Pictures Television and Left Bank Pictures for Starz, the show premiered on August 9, 2014. It stars Caitriona Balfe as Claire Randall, a married World War II nurse who in 1945 finds herself transported back to the Scotland of 1743, where she encounters the dashing Highland warrior Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) and becomes embroiled in the Jacobite risings.
The second season, based on the novel Dragonfly in Amber, awaits - if we decide to continue.
We are enjoying the beginnings of this tall tale of time travel with a side of steamy romance, and background of history, fairly honestly reflected, so far. As we left volume 1 of season 1 the the epic Battle of Culloden was on the far horizon. Mention of the Battle of Culloden sparked my interest.

My maiden name was Scott, though I have not found any direct link to Scotland in my genealogy, and the Scotts in question were based in Suffolk, way down in the south-east of England. There are several theories as to how a Scott family (or even more than one Scott family) arrived so far south back in the 17th and 18th centuries, or earlier. One, among other theories I've come across, is that some prisoners from various battles, including the Battle of Culloden, were sent to Norfolk, in England, to work on draining the marshes there. Norfolk is a county bordering Suffolk. People of Scottish background, away from their homeland, were often referred to as, for instance,
James the Scot then, eventually, just James (or whatever) Scot(t).

My husband, aka anyjazz, in researching his family history, found that the earliest known ancestor on his mother's side was one Sander (short for Alexander) Milleson, who arrived in Massachusetts USA on a ship carrying prisoners, the majority of whom were Scottish, taken during the Battle of Worcester in 1650. Sander's name appears in the ship's list of prisoners, he is #178 on the 'John and Sarah' passenger list. He can be linked to other known members of husband's maternal family members. These prisoners were put into indentured labour for a number of years, and later released. Husband's relatives moved, eventually, into Pennsylvania, then into Kansas.

How erm...'cool' would it be if my ancestor and my husband's ancestor were Scottish prisoners from battles a century apart, sent off in different directions, one to the New World and one southward to England then, centuries later, courtesy of the internet, two of their distant relatives met and married?

Friday, June 29, 2018

Arty Farty Friday ~ Matte Painting - What is It?

While looking for something arty fartily interesting for this post I kept stumbling over the term 'matte painting'. Matte, to my simple mind relates to something that is non-glossy - a matte-finish photograph or paint surface for instance - or refers to a decorative border placed around a framed piece of art, photograph or print, to enhance it in some way.

So what is 'matte painting'? It's a term for a method used in film-making, when there's a need to create scenic background that would be too expensive, or impossible, to create conventionally. Matte painting has been used since the early 20th century, originally by talented artists painting on glass, but now, in the age of computers, digital art has come to replace the actual highly skilled matte painters of the past.

The History of Matte Painting - Basix is an interesting 22 minute video dealing with the older, traditional matte painting method, with examples from famous movies.

If you are challenged by internet A[ttention]D[efiicit]D[isorder], or can't afford 22 minutes, here's a less than 5 minute video on the same topic:

Wikipedia has this to say about the coming of digital matte painting

New Technologies
Throughout the 1990s, traditional matte paintings were still in use, but more often in conjunction with digital compositing. Die Hard 2 (1990) was the first film to use digitally composited live-action footage with a traditional glass matte painting that had been photographed and scanned into a computer. It was for the last scene, which took place on an airport runway. By the end of the decade, the time of hand-painted matte paintings was drawing to a close, although as late as 1997 some traditional paintings were still being made, notably Chris Evans’ painting of the RMS Carpathia rescue ship in James Cameron’s Titanic.

Paint has now been superseded by digital images created using photo references, 3-D models, and drawing tablets. Matte painters combine their digitally matte painted textures within computer-generated 3-D environments, allowing for 3-D camera movement. Lighting algorithms used to simulate lighting sources expanded in scope in 1995, when radiosity rendering was applied to film for the first time in Martin Scorsese’s Casino. Matte World Digital collaborated with LightScape to simulate the indirect bounce-light effect of millions of neon lights of the 70s-era Las Vegas strip. Lower computer processing times continue to alter and expand matte painting technologies and techniques.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Pluto in Capricorn In Earlier Eras - What Happened Then?

A decade ago, or more, astrologer Neil Giles wrote a two-part article on Pluto and its then imminent entry into Capricorn.

On Jan 26th 2008, a new measure begins here with life on earth as Pluto, lord of the underworld returns to the sign of Capricorn for the first time since 1778. Looming at the outer reaches of our solar system lies Pluto, dark and mysterious.....

Some excerpts from the article follow, relating to a few of Pluto's earlier transits through Capricorn. These are worth a look, now that we are have experienced a good deal of the current transit - we are in a position to compare - or contrast. It has to be borne in mind, though, that the position of other outer planets, in each era, will have varied greatly, and will have "coloured" things slightly - or even vastly - differently with each transit.

The whole of Mr Giles' 2-part piece is an excellent read - do go take a look!

The coming cycle of Pluto in Capricorn is the ninth since the beginning of the modern era and the years AD. The first of those came in 42 AD as the unlikely figure of Claudius came out of the shadows of a speech defect and a seeming intellectual handicap to transform from the least capable contender in the dynasty of the Caesars into the Emperor of Rome.

Claudius proved an able administrator and ruler as he reformed the Senate, restored Roman social order, expanded the boundaries of the Empire, especially with the conquest of Britain, and embarked on a major program of public works. The hidden power in Claudius was revealed through this test of elevation to authority and so the Empire flourished under his guiding hand. In the years ahead of us now, those who've had to wait their turn may come to power late in life and find accomplishment, as the dark lord hovers in the sign of age, delays and time's measure.

An even clearer illustration comes with Pluto's next entry into Capricorn in 287 AD when Diocletian ruled in Rome. This vigorous, practical soldier rose through the ranks to become a general and was, on the assassination of his predecessor, elected by troops on the battlefield to take the office of Imperator. He fought his way across the empire, subduing rebellious tribes and reuniting a divided realm till there was a stability not known for fifty years. He re-established the tradition of divinity for the head of state and named himself Dominus et Deus.

He solved the dilemma of succession and, recognizing that the Empire was now too large to be governed by one man, divided it on the line of East and West, also dividing the rulership among the four members of a Tetrarchy, two senior emperors (of which he was one) and two junior emperors. This began what is now called the second phase of the Roman Empire and, by 395, on the foundation of these reforms, the Empire was permanently partitioned, writing a new chapter its history.

It was in 532 AD that Pluto entered Capricorn again. His journey was grim and marked with the suffering, restriction and blight to which the sign of the Goat will sometimes condemn us. 536 AD saw the Mediterranean freezing under a cloud of dust, born in a volcanic eruption in the Southern Hemisphere that brought a nuclear winter to the North. Wars and political instability set their mark on Europe and the East as they foundered in the changing tides of aggression and ill-fated campaigns. Buddhism found the Japanese, Christianity found the Welsh, the Toltecs found the Yucatan Peninsula and plague ravaged Europe, shutting down agricultural activity, causing widespread food shortages and reaching all the way to England. Ironically, in 549 AD, Rome was in the hands of the Ostrogoths and the last ever games were held, these cruel and savage spectacles ended by a people the Romans called barbaric.

It is wise to realize that Capricorn is the sign of midwinter [northern hemisphere, of course – ed.]. If we have had a fruitful summer then our winter stores will see us through in comfort. However, if we have wasted our resources or been tested by harsh conditions, we may find ourselves living a life ruled by necessity. Under Pluto in Capricorn, we may pass through the midwinter test and there will be rules and regulations to order our lives in accordance with requirement or restriction. Prevailing conditions may test us where food supplies and simple domestic resources are concerned. Whatever name we like to give to the current instability in our climate, Pluto in the sign of the Goat will create conditions we will have to live with. With Pluto entering Capricorn as Saturn is retrograde in Virgo, the sign of health and work, ill-health or difficulties with employment that affect us at a mass level may alter the structure and order of our social operations.

1762 brought Pluto to Capricorn for the dark lord's last journey there. It was then that a disparate band of colonists in the New World broke with the Mother Country, England, over issues of taxation, over-regulation and colonial control. The American Congress sat, fought a war against imperialism, issued a declaration of rights and laid the foundations for the birth of the American Republic. Now, more than ever as Pluto returns to its natal place in the chart of the USA, it will be timely to examine the path by which a revolutionary democracy became a global superpower that has left footprints and spent shells in so many foreign lands.

After some general predictions for the current Pluto in Capricorn era :
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.

Well then...we'd best get a move on!! There's scant evidence of this, yet; Pluto is already in the 20s degrees of Capricorn, currently in retrograde motion.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Answers to Questions

My own brief, mostly off the top of the head, answers to a few recent questions at Quora:

What is the origin of "make it from scratch"?
I answered:
The term ‘from scratch’ is thought to have originated from the line scratched into the ground to mark the start of a race, or where contestants’ feet must be placed before a bout of fisticuffs. The term evolved into meaning ‘from the very beginning’, or ‘from the raw materials’, rather than something made, aided by use of easy-mix helper ingredients.

A favourite quote of mine from Carl Sagan:

If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.

Why do a lot of women believe in astrology signs? Don't they know it isn't true?
I answered:
Exactly what is the point in submitting a question like this to Quora? Is it to try to show off your own supposed superior intellect, as a man?

If so : Why do men spend so much time, and money, on following football, baseball, basketball, gambling etc. Don’t they know that all they are doing is making pots of money for those already filthy rich ? Don’t they realise it’s simply fantasy, a way to spend spare time, and a way to be “one of the lads?”

What’s the biggest misconception about being a white person?
My answer:
Biggest misconception? That we all consider, and think about ourselves - when we do - as “White”, or even “white”. Until flurries on the internet recently, in the USA, I never had thought in that way - not ever. I thought of myself and all others as simply ‘humans’.

One thought, and one that comes to me often these days, is that it will be be a very important teaching moment when, if ever, beings visit Earth from space; maybe at last humans will properly grasp that we really and truly are one race.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Music Monday ~ "Giving it some welly"

An expression sometimes heard in the UK, but I haven't it heard used in the USA: "Give it some welly", sprang to mind while I contemplated a post for this Music Monday.

There are times when I just want to listen to a singer who "gives it some welly!" For any stray passing reader not familiar with the expression, here's what Wiktionary has to say:
(Britain) To increase fuel or power to an engine, as to a car by depressing the gas pedal.
(Britain) To apply great physical effort to (something)
'Welly', by the way is short for wellington boot - the rubber boots worn for wet weather or for trudging through mud and dirt. This footwear was named for the first Duke of Wellington (see Wikipedia).

So...when I crave hearing, and feeling, a singer "giving it some welly" I go to these favourites:

And, mustn't forget another fave: Carlos Marin (of Il Divo fame) - he never does less than "give it some welly!"

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Saturday & Sundry Favourite Actors

Couldn't think what to write about this weekend. Apropos of absolutely nothing then, sundry personal thoughts on actors in film and TV dramas.

These actors remain in my A-list whatever they do - I'll happily watch them in anything and everything:

Paul Giamatti

David Strathairn

Matthew McConaughey

Damian Lewis

Simon Baker

No diversity in my list, so far - all male (sorry!) and all white. But there's Danny Glover too - he was great in "Lonesome Dove" - my favourite character in fact - but he, unfortunately, was cast in Lethal Weapon movies with Mel Gibson, which I didn't enjoy. He has starred in some super roles since though.

Former favourites, who in my opinion were spoiled by the direction the industry has sent them:

Bruce Willis -compare Moonlighting to Die Hard and similar violent movies.

James Spader - compare Stargate (which he said he did only for the money, but it's one of my favourites) also his great performances in Boston Legal to ultra violent The Blacklist

Two newer (to me) faces I've started follow: Joel Kinnaman - I first saw him in "The Killing" TV series, and was impressed, then I sniffed him out in a variety of other roles - all very different- he's an excellent actor - one who doesn't simply "play himself" in every role.

And Jeffrey Dean Morgan (as he was in The Good Wife and a few other series). Sadly he has already moved off in the wrong direction for me, with his role in The Walking Dead.

Why don't I have female favourites? I'm not sure. I admire Judi Dench and Maggie Smith, am always happy to see Sarah Lancashire in any role - they are all British. Sometimes the tones of American female actors' voices irritate my ear - that might have a bearing on the dearth of 'em in this list. But let's finish with three of the best of British:

Friday, June 22, 2018

Arty Farty Friday - Another Destructive Fire in the famous Glasgow School of Art

Glasgow fire: Art school's Mackintosh building extensively damaged

I was shocked, and very sad to read of the dreadful fire reported in the above piece, some days ago. It is the second destructive fire in this famous building in recent years, reconstruction from the last one was only recently completed.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh's designs have been a longtime favourite of mine.
Here are links to two earlier posts about him:
From 2009 - a joint post also features Frank Lloyd Wright.

From 2014 - the post also features Charles' wife, Margaret MacDonald Mackintosh.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Summer Solstice

The words following were written by experts, waxing far more eloquent than I could ever be on anything, not least the topic of summer and the solstice. South-western Oklahoma summers, for my northern English blood, are not much fun - they're simply "too flippin' hot!" Still, though, for any passing readers who enjoy the heat - "have at it" (as they say) and please take my share as well!

"The spring rains woke the dormant tillers, and bright green shoots sprang from the moist earth and rose like sleepers stretching after a long nap. As spring gave way to summer, the bright green stalks darkened, became tan, turned golden brown. The days grew long and hot. Thick towers of swirling black clouds brought rain, and the brown stems glistened in the perpetual twilight that dwelled beneath the canopy. The wheat rose and the ripening heads bent in the prairie wind, a rippling curtain, an endless, undulating sea that stretched to the horizon."
Rick Yancey, The Infinite Sea

"Hot weather opens the skull of a city, exposing its white brain, and its heart of nerves, which sizzle like the wires inside a lightbulb. And there exudes a sour extra-human smell that makes the very stone seem flesh-alive, webbed and pulsing."

Truman Capote, Summer Crossing

Heat, ma’am! it was so dreadful here, that I found there was nothing left for it but to take off my flesh and sit in my bones.
Sydney Smith, Lady Holland’s Memoir

It is Summer, it is the solstice
the crowd is
cheering, the crowd is laughing
in detail
permanently, seriously
without thought.

William Carlos Williams

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

JUNETEENTH - Today, 19 June.

When I arrived in the USA, 14 years ago, I'd never heard of Juneteenth. I have to admit too, that for years I had only the vaguest of ideas what it's all about. For anyone else in the same state of semi-ignorance, here are links to a couple of good, helpful articles.

12 Things You Might Not Know About Juneteenth
By Stacy Conradt.

That piece begins:
There's more than one Independence Day in the U.S. On June 19, 1865, General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas, and announced that slaves were now free. Since then, June 19 has been celebrated as Juneteenth across the nation. Here's what you should know about the historic event and celebration....
Texas Matters: Juneteenth Stories And Why They Matter
By David Martin Davies.
June 19 1865 is when word of emancipation finally reached Texas and its slave population. The news was delivered two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and about two months after Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered.

But what did "emancipation" mean for the no-longer slaves? Many were quickly reabsorbed into an economic system that looked similar to the slavery life. Others found liberty by establishing Freedom Colonies across the South, town-like communities of former slaves that frequently became self-sustaining. Nevertheless, the freedom to self-determine and pursue one's abilities and dreams to the fullest would be generations away. And even today there is still work to be done.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Music Monday ~ "Are we not formed, as notes of music are, For one another, though dissimilar?"

The quote in the post's heading is from Percy Bysshe Shelley, by the way.

Music and astrology have quite a lot in common. Both rely on a limited but still potentially vast collection of possible content, based on a non-negotiable structure.

In music the structure is notes on a stave; in astrology, it's planets in the zodiac. Both have a kind of mathematics at their core. In music it's the beat, the time, the rhythm - 3/4 time/ 4/4 time etc. In astrology it's 360 degrees split into 12 segments and aspects formed between them: 90 degree squares, 120 degree trines, 180 degree oppositions etc. These mix with the rhythmic integrated waves of Fire to Earth, to Air to Water, to Fire.... Cardinal to Fixed to Mutable to Cardinal....
The pleasure we obtain from music comes from counting, but counting unconsciously. Music is nothing but unconscious arithmetic. ~Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz.
There's a branch of astrology known as Harmonics, which I, being mathematically challenged, haven't as yet managed to master.
Astrologer Bob Marks says : (HERE)
"This has to be one of the greatest advances in astrological analysis of the last hundred years. What are "harmonics?" Just a mathematical rearrangement of the horoscope so that we can see particular features more clearly. It's something like taking a cross-section of a sample in biology and putting it under a microscope."
Pythagoras, an early Greek mathematician and astronomer was the first to discover a mathematical relationship in the frequencies of the various tones of the musical scale. In postulating the planets' orbits as bearing a similar relationship based upon the distance from the center, he characterized their interrelated orbits as "the harmony of the spheres." (Nicholas deVore - Encyclopedia of Astrology)

So really, with a bit of imagination, each human being could be seen, astrologically, as a piece of music, a song. The exact positions of the planets, and arrangement in respect to one another, as we came into the world dictates our "tune", and therefore has much bearing on which other "tunes", real and human, we can most easily harmonize with.
There is in souls a sympathy with sounds:
And as the mind is pitch'd the ear is pleased
With melting airs, or martial, brisk or grave;
Some chord in unison with what we hear
Is touch'd within us, and the heart replies.

~William Cowper

When I first posted on this topic in 2009, commenter 'anthonynorth' wrote:
"Music is so important to all these systems. I've read about Baroque music being based in alchemy, and many mystics have allied music to their systems."

I responded that "I think what they, and we, sense is the edge of the tip of an iceberg of knowledge that'll emerge teeny bit by teeny bit over coming centuries...if man survives."

Sunday, June 17, 2018


My own Dad died in 1992. He'd be amazed to know that his photographs are being sent into cyber-space, and to know exactly where his only child, his daughter, was sitting - in Oklahoma U.S.A - sending them winging out!

My Dad was the eldest son of 10 siblings, 5 male, 5 female. He had to leave school earlier than he would have wished in order to contribute to family finances. After a couple of nondescript jobs he acquired an apprenticeship to a local baker, eventually became a master baker himself, managed a group of bakeries in Hull during the war years. After the war he and mother never worked for an employer again, they remained self-employed, first building up and running their own small but successful and much sought out, bakery business. They worked so darned hard! Dad was up every day before 4 a.m. making bread, there were few rest days, few vacations. Mum ran their small bakery store. After around a decade they decided to move on to try other things, always remaining self-employed. What followed included a fruit and veg. store, a small private hotel on the coast, a tourist snack bar, a coffee bar with juke box. Then my Dad was accepted as a sub-postmaster and they went on to run some sub-post offices - mixed business stores combined with post office business. So my Dad, by the last years of his working life via a convoluted and very varied route, was able to do a job similar to that he had longed for as a schoolboy - to work in the post office or in the offices of the local railway company.

 Around 1990





 About 1947

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Mini-rant, Politically Motivated.

I seldom, these days, blog about anything relating to U.S. politics, or manage to find an article which echoes, nearly, my own feelings about everybody's favourite Demon of the Day, Month, Year, Decade: President Donald Trump.

I've become so disgusted with online pundits, reports of late night hosts' constant jokes and derisions, and the same old same old stuff, day after day, about Trump, and his wife (who can do nothing right, while Saint Michelle Obama could do no wrong!)

Yes, we know, and have known since 2016, that Donald Trump should never be anywhere within a thousand miles of the US presidency. Enough US citizens did put him there, he didn't get there by magic! I do wish some people would start dealing with this eventuality in a more adult way! I sometimes feel, reading, or hearing things political, as though I'm in a flippin' high school classroom!

President Trump's latest adventure, in Singapore, has brought down, as expected, more sneers. While there's no guarantee anything positive will eventually come of it - who could deny that it was a step in the right general direction - albeit a baby step? It's still more than Saint Obama managed in his two terms - he was too busy sending out drones!

Anyway, back to my first remark: here is a piece I can agree with. Maybe I'm turning Libertarian in my old age? That was the way I voted in 2016, anyway - to avoid voting for either Clinton or Trump. T'was our only alternative in Oklahoma. I've never been a Democrat anyway, always Independent, from first registering to vote, in 2008. The Democrats have been sliding further and further downward in my estimation since then - not least due to their dastardly efforts to stop Bernie Sanders from gaining the Democratic nomination over Hillary Clinton in 2016.

North Korea: Pelosi Versus Peace
by Thomas Knapp

It begins:
Which is worse: The specter of nuclear war, or giving US president Donald Trump credit for a significant diplomatic accomplishment?

In her official statement on Trump’s Singapore summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, US House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi makes it clear that a few million incinerated human beings are a small price to pay to keep the 68-year-old Korean War going. Maybe not forever, but at least until there’s a Democrat in the White House.
And ends:
A genuine and durable peace on the Korean peninsula may or may not be achievable, but Trump seems to be giving it the old college try. Pelosi and her party, having proven unable to lead and unwilling to follow on the matter, should at least have the decency to get the hell out of the way.

Bravo Mr Knapp!

Link to a post I wrote about the North Korean situation in 2013:
North Korea - The Unknowns

Postscript - After drafting the above I came across a couple more pieces whose authors are thinking along similar lines to Thomas Knapp - and your friendly ranting Blogger:
By John Laurits: Brand Marketing a Political Party: Inside the Democrats’ Fake Opposition.

And, The Democrats Out-Right the Right on North Korean Summit by Ajamu Baraka.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Arty Farty Friday ~ "The Father of African-American Art"

 Portrait by Betsy Graves Reyneau.
Aaron Douglas
(26 May 1899 - 2 February 1979) - "The Father of African-American Art." I didn't choose him because of the title bestowed by his peers and those influenced by his example, but rather because I love his work and style. What better reason? His style is described in an exhibition catalogue as "combining angular cubist rhythms, seductive art deco style, and traditional African and African American imagery to develop his own unique visual vocabulary”.

Aaron Douglas was born in Topeka, Kansas, a baker's son. Topeka had a thriving black community. They followed progressive intellectual and social doctrines and had strong leadership which provided Douglas with many role models at an early age. Douglas was encouraged by his mother to continue his creative interest in art. His most serious decision in becoming an artist came from his exposure to the African-American printer, Henry Ossawa Tanner.

Douglas educated himself despite many obstacles. He joined the exodus to the north after high school, in order to earn money to pursue a college degree. In 1917 he attended the University of Nebraska. He graduated from Nebraska with a B.A. in Fine Arts in 1922. Douglas taught art at Lincoln High School in Topeka for two years, then was accepted as illustrator for Dr. Alain Locke's new book, The New Negro, published in 1925.

Douglas and his wife, Alta, later moved to Paris, France, where he expanded his knowledge of painting and sculpture. In Paris Douglas met his idol Henry Ossawa Tanner. On his return to the U.S. in 1928, Douglas became the first president of the Harlem Artists Guild. In 1929 he traveled to Chicago to create a mural for the Shermon Hotel's College Inn Ballroom. At the end of 1930 Douglas created another mural for Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. For his efforts, Douglas became known as the "Dean" among his fellow students. From 1939 to 1966 Douglas was a professor of Art at Fisk University. He later became department head before he retired in 1966.

Aaron Douglas is probably best known for his Aspects of Negro Life, a series of four murals completed under the sponsorship of the Works Progress Adminstration in 1934. The murals trace the history of African Americans from Africa through their migration to America's northern cities. In Aspects of Negro Life: Song of the Towers, Douglas presents jazz iconically in the figure of the saxophone player. The musician is an emblem of the intersections of African heritage, African American culture, and national identity.

A 12 noon chart has to suffice as no time of birth is known for Mr. Douglas.
Born 26 May 1899 in Topeka, Kansas.

Sun, Pluto and and Neptune in Gemini opposed by Moon (more than likely), Saturn and Uranus from Sagittarius. Mercury and Venus, planets of communication and the arts respectively were in Taurus, home sign for Venus and arguably one the most appropriate placements of Venus for an artist of any kind.

The Taurus planets are opposed by Jupiter from Scorpio. So, all in all the chart is dominated by oppositions indicating a "see-saw" dynamic: the need to constantly react until, with experience, it becomes clear that compromise between two opposing forces of the personality is the key to peace of mind. I wouldn't presume to guess what opposing forces were involved in Mr. Douglas's case, but being born long before racial integration in the US must have presented him with a feeling of "being in two minds" about many matters, in spite of the fact that he was fortunate in growing up within the support of a thriving black community. His work, while celebrating his roots, records the wrongs and hardships his fellow African Americans have faced.