Monday, 28 November 2011

Ken Russell: Dedicated to Dionysus

Film director Ken Russell made big, messy pictures with a lot of sex and music in them. His fluid, emotional, freewheeling camerawork is still like no one else's.

Yesterday at the age of 84, the old maverick was taken by his maker (Uranus Returns, Jupiter conj Chiron).

His chart is fascinating – very pure. I've seen a few other artists charts like this. It's almost as if they really have got just the one task to do for the gods while they're here; all the energy needs to go into that.

All the outer planets are intimately linked to Russell's personal planets: Pluto with the Sun, Neptune with the Moon, Jupiter, Uranus and Saturn with Mercury. There in a nutshell we have him. He needed to communicate (Mercury) himself (Sun) emotionally (Moon) and the heavy planets mean he needed to do that to and for the collective.

Russell's task was to create movies which at their best have the overwhelming emotional and physical power of a great symphony. He managed to make a few of those, and quite a lot of dreck. Sometimes his work is plain ludicrous, but when he hits the notes right, it's fantastic.

So look at this beautiful chart. It absolutely sings.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Astrology of Now: Eclipse Energy

Race ahead during an eclipse like this chap
in the film Stagecoach
All of us, without exception, are on a journey of evolution and change. Sometimes the road is smooth and even, we roll along at a steady pace; sometimes we stop for a long, long time at a roadside cafe pausing perhaps to enjoy a Jupiterian hubble bubble or a Cancerian cuddle, sometimes we fall into a hole or crash into someone going the other way, occasionally we get taken hostage. The highway of life is crowded with fellow travellers, highwaymen, pedlars and players.

Sometimes, we fly. The horses just have a burst of speed and we find that we've galloped way ahead into a whole new country. That's what happens when you are taken by the energy of an eclipse.

Grandma Love

Alison Uttley's Little Grey
Rabbit has the bright eyes and
busyness of my darling
mother out law
I am blessed with a very lovely mother-out-law, who is both charming and sweet-tempered. What is more, she really loves my children. The feeling is mutual.

The astrology is so apt, it makes me laugh. Grandma's Venus (love) is conjunct my elder daughter's Moon (soul), and her Sun (self) is conjunct my younger daughter's Venus. Both conjunctions are exact to the degree.

Do I see a bit of her in both my little girls? Yes, her DNA shines through, little chips of glittering Grandma in the mosaic of their characters.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

George Harrison: Water Boy

George: Sun, Moon, Jupiter, Venus in water signs.
Marty: Sun, Moon, Mars, Venus, Mercury, Jupiter in water signs.

"Who's your favourite Beatle?"

When I'm feeling difficile I like to reply Yoko Ono, but the truth is, for me, it's always been George. 

Why? I've never really thought too hard about it before; the point is to answer instinctively. The Beatles offer a clutch of archetypes.

Ringo, the kind childlike joker. (Cancer Sun)
Cheeky, clever Peter Pan Paul. (Gemini Sun)
Angry peace warrior John. (Libra Sun)
And moody George, the seeker. (Pisces Sun)

By answering that question you reveal something about yourself. Me, I like moody seekers.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Egypt: More Work To Do

Praying in Tahrir Square
Back in February, I concluded my piece on Egypt with this remark: "Meanwhile, it remains to be seen if the junta makes way for a genuine democracy. Getting rid of Mubarak may turn out to have been the easy part." 

To read the rest of that post, Killing the Father, and another called Egypt, Your Enemy Is In The Mirror, both written during February, click here and here.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Astrology of Now: Mars in Virgo = The Big Clean Up

I have been down at the bottom of the garden this week, turning my compost, mulching the autumn leaves, sawing up wood, stacking old flowerpots and sharpening blades. It's creating a surprising amount of room under the laurel trees.

The action planet Mars has gone into Virgo, the sign of order and routine, and created a beautiful grand trine in the earth signs. Pluto (decay and transformation: compost) is in Capricorn (the soil) and Jupiter (more room) is in Taurus (the garden).

I feel satisfied.

Mars is usually in a sign for about two and a half months, but he's going to be hanging around in Virgo for about half a year, so we, all of us, better get used to this particular energy.

Interestingly, this transit is especially going to effect Gen X born in the 1960s with Uranus-Pluto in Virgo – in fact the last Uranus-Pluto crisis before the one we are currently experiencing.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Natalie Wood: Saturn Returns

Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood
Hollywood legend Natalie Wood – beautiful, talented, passionate – died in mysterious circumstances 30 years ago. She was 43 years old and had spent the previous 39 years working, loving and living smack in the public eye.

She drowned after a drunken row with her husband, the star Robert Wagner. That much is part of the public record. The then rising star Christopher Walken was also on their yacht at the time of her death – as was the skipper Dennis Davern.

Natalie Wood could not swim and she was terrified of water, according to her sister.

Her body, clad in a nightie and covered in bruises, was found on November 28, 1981.

Thirty years later, the case has been re-opened. Davern is finally publishing his version of events and admits that he did not tell the whole truth at the the time.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Jeff Buckley: Fallen Angel

Jeff Buckley, of the astonishingly beautiful voice, the soulful eyes and the strange and tragic death would have been 45 today (Nov 17).

Jeff Buckley (1966-1997)
His natal chart is compellingly simple. Almost everything is tightly aspected, He was born in the vortex of the mid-60s clash between Saturn and Pluto-Uranus. Mars is sandwiched between the two heavy planets, all in the second house of talent and value. Indeed, he was powerfully gifted.

But this harsh opposition is alleviated by such a close stellium in Scorpio. Neptune (music), Mercury (communication-singing), Sun (his self), Venus (art and beauty) all in the depths of the chart in the deepest sign. Creating art and beauty with his voice and talent helped him to get over the emotional pain that must have come with that opposition.

Scorpio Self Portraits: The Agony And The Absence

Francis Bacon, Oct 28
Don't expect to find this an easy bunch of pictures to look at. We are in the land of Scorpio this month - and this sign like to deal with deeper truth. Not for Scorp the polished surface of a Gemini or the gorgeous patterns of Libra. No, Scorpio prefers to hit us between the eyes with a wallop of dark emotion.

And when Scorpio looks in the mirror what truth is revealed?

Monday, 14 November 2011

Hmmm… Just A Touch Of Scorpio?

Artist Georgia O'Keeffe born 15 Nov 1887 - Sun, Moon, Mercury, Jupiter in Scorpio opposite 
Neptune (illusion, glamour)-Pluto (death again).

Scorpio - death, archeology, digging deep, the bare bones - and sex. Scorpio rules the genitals, of course.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Celluloid-Meltingly Sexy Scorpios

Equally beautiful, equally deadly. Alain Delon (Nov 8) and Monica Vitti (Nov 3). It took a Libra, Michelangelo Antonioni, to put them together in  L'Eclisse (1962).

Rather appropriately for our times he plays a shallow, materialistic stockbroker unable to connect emotionally. She is a translator unable to turn sex into love. Oh well...

Italy: Waking Up With A Hangover

Sophia and Marcello: Marriage Italian Style.
Pluto squares Italy's Neptune.
Some Italians will tell you that their country has essentially been run by a bunch of criminals since World War 2. Some astrologers might agree with that assessment.

The Italian natal chart shows the country's charm (Libra rising, Gemini sun). Its passion (Moon in Scorpio) and its artistic genius (Jupiter and Neptune in Libra). This is a nation that produces beauty (Saturn-Venus). Textiles, fashion, shoes, ceramics, furniture – you name it, Italian design is still the best.

But it's also a place where ideas about beauty and good manners are rigidly enforced (also Saturn-Venus in Cancer, which is a conservative sign). Try walking down the street in Milan in anything other than this year's fashion appropriately adapted for your age and figure. The Italian concept of "bella figura" (good form) is a social straightjacket. This has its ups: no public drunkeness – and downs: oppressive conformity.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Astrology of Now: Face the Music and Dance

As an über-Neptunian type, I am always excited when the god of the sea turns around and starts to surge forwards. Today's the day.

Dreams, fantasy, ideals. Love, sacrifice, deceit. Mob violence, peaceful activism. Fog, illusion, self-undoing. Music and movies. Drugs and alcohol. Neptune has many faces.

The collective unconscious – all the prejudices, fantasies, obsessions and desires of the group poured into the great bowl of ocean and swirled.

The face Neptune shows you may depend on how he is in your own natal chart and how you have learned to cope with his energy. He's in the last few degrees of Aquarius now, ready to go home to Pisces for the first time since the mid-19th century.

This week he's been opposed by Mars (action) in Leo, the individual, the ego and creative self-expression. This opposition could manifest in several ways, but on a personal level, try to go with this energy. It's powerful and creative.

OK, so it's an opposition. But out of tension comes dynamism. It's better to dance with a partner. Face the music. As the song says,  

Before the fiddlers have fled
Before they ask us to pay the bill
And while we still
Have the chance
Let's face the music and dance

Pick up your paintbrush, your camera, your pen. Put on your dancing shoes.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Eurozone: The Leadership Void

The Woodcutter. Kazimir Malevich painted
this just before the Russian Revolution. 
Say one thing for the current euro crisis, it's cutting a swathe through Europe's ruling elite.

So far this year these heads of state have felt the sharp blade of Father Time's sickle.

Brian Cowen - Ireland - 9 March
Jose Socrates - Portugal - 21 June
George Papandreou - Greece - Nov 6
Jose Zapatero - Spain - going in a few weeks

Please go
Silvio Berlusconi - Italy

There's a certain kind of brutal justice to these departures. When we talk about firm but fair, we talk about Saturn in Libra, which represents a fair application of the rules and also putting a fair time limit on a situation. This combination says, "Enough already."

Take a look at the Euro chart.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Astrology of Now: Mayhem

The late lamented Heath Ledger as the Joker in Batman.
Mercury's dark side is on show now.
Here's what happened to this post.

I was lying in bed thinking about how often the word chaos has been in the news in the last couple of days.  Some guests at a party have decided to break a few rules, just to see what's going to happen. George Papandreou, the Greek Prime Minister, for example.

Papandreou, like a lot of comedians, is a Gemini, ruled by the trickster planet, Mercury. Currently, Mercury is moving through the heavens hand in hand with Venus, known sometimes as the laughing goddess.

They have just escaped from the gloom and doom of Scorpio where poor Venus was in fall, into jolly Sagittarius. 

So I decided the title of this post was going to be Merry Mayhem.

But something made me change my mind.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Why India Worships Shahrukh Khan

If you've never been to India, it's hard to explain just how important Shahrukh Khan is. He is a V, V, V, VIP.

Imagine someone who has the film star status of George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt rolled into one, who has the common touch and business acumen of Jamie Oliver, who hosts the most popular game show on TV, who owns the equivalent of, say, the Red Sox or Chelsea Football Club, as well as umpteen other businesses including a lot of alternative energy generation.

In India, Shahrukh Khan's face is everywhere on billboards, on TV, on the back of rickshaws, in every magazine and newspaper, with Google; selling mobile phones, soft drinks, Formula 1, cars, watches, soap. If SRK is not endorsing your product – well, poor you. (Maybe I should get him on OA.)

His net worth is well in excess of half a billion dollars. And his reign in Bollywood has gone pretty much unchecked from the early 90s, when he exploded onto the big screen and stole India's heart.

No wonder they call him King Khan.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Greece's Plight

Here is what I wrote about Greece back in June
"This is very, very serious for Greece. And I think it will lead to a complete re-invention of the state, and the journey may be pretty rocky."
To read the rest of the piece, click here.

Occupy Astrology: Resurrecting a Long-Dead Rebel

Rome 2011
You will have noticed that protesters from Madrid to Wall Street to the steps of St Paul's Cathedral have been sporting a particular mask.

Julian Assange has one.

No it's not Satan, although it does look rather devilish. It's Guy Fawkes, the Catholic revolutionary who was caught trying to blow up the British Houses of Parliament on 5 November 1605.

Here in Britain we celebrate that date with the most insanely pagan orgy of bonfires, fireworks and the burning of effigies. As every schoolchild knows:

Remember, remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Why Paisley?


OK – some of you have wondered what the paisley connection is with the November horoscopes. It's just this in my tiny mind. Paisley =  fertility = Scorpio. 

Paisley pattern, which originates in South or Central Asia depending on who is talking, is said to be an ancient fertility symbol – a mango split in half or a cypress tree or a frond.  The truth is no one really knows.

To me it looks like sperm under a microscope, which is about as fundamentally Scorpio as you can get since it's a combination of fertility and analysis.

So the illustrations for this month's horoscopes are an homage to Scorpio.

Crimson Pirate

The Crimson Pirate: Sagittarius Rising
Happy Birthday (and RIP, natürlich) Burt Lancaster, superstar Scorp. Was there ever a more robust yet complex specimen of manhood.

Born 2 November 1913: Scorpio Sun (water), Capricorn Moon (earth), Sagittarius Rising (fire).

November Horoscopes

With an eclipse and a Mercury Rx, November's a bit breathless. Click here to read your horoscope.