Friday, 31 October 2008

Russell Brand and Jonathon Ross



"The Information Superhighway", do you remember this epithet? And it's true to a certain extent. The internet is said to be a huge democracy where anyone with a keyboard and a connection can give their opinion. Again, it's true to a certain extent. However, if we put the two ideas together, we might expect it to result in widespread 'informed opinion', but instead often what we find is 'uninformed reaction'.

I have availed myself of the so-called wonders of the internet for many years, and its advantages have not yet been outweighed by its disadvantages, although it has been a close-run thing on occasion. In entering into the world of web logging, I have opened the door to both the informed and the uninformed commentator; I'll leave it to the reader to decide which group frequently holds the majority. As an example, I present the chart for the moment that the Russell Brand Show (BBC Radio 2) was broadcast.

For details of this story follow the following link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7694989.stm

Following this broadcast, it is said that two listeners complained, as of 30th October, over 20,000 have complained. This implies that at least 19,998 of these complainers hadn't actually listened to the original broadcast. Russell Brand and Jonathon Ross are known to sail very close to the wind in terms of social acceptability, nevertheless they are very popular and successful. Their risqué humour and repartee is why they are never short of work - the reason that they are booked. Personally speaking, I find them sometimes amusing and sometimes not, silly perhaps, but not outrageous, not by today's standards at least. The latest news is that Brand has resigned from his radio show and Ross has been suspended and none his shows, TV or radio, will be broadcast. So, what is this all about? The show ran for two hours and had been recorded on the previous Thursday; no information is presently available as to why, if it was so offensive, that part was not removed.

The chart for the time when the programme went 'on air' unsurprisingly shows the Moon in airy Gemini; the duality of the sign possibly pointing to double trouble and perhaps another agenda. This may be more so since it separates from that arch complainer, Saturn, whose position in Virgo makes it vocal and easily offended (this isn't to say that what Brand and Ross said and did is excusable, but we have heard and seen worse and complained less). It's interesting that the Moon is in the 12th house which is a strange place for a broadcast with several millions of isteners. It's true that Brand and Ross were the authors of their own undoing, but I wonder if this was an example of them at their worst - I doubt it. (Note also the South Node of scandal - and treachery - on the 3rd cusp.) Likewise, I doubt that they were entirely responsible for the fact that it was broadcast. Mercury disposits both the Moon and Saturn, in Libra which is full of hot air, its angularity gives it more importance and greater influence, but it has little essential dignity. Although in the 4th house, it is not in the same sign as that on the IC, which suggests a description of all those who were outraged and offended, but didn't in fact hear the original broadcast. However, I favour Jupiter as an indicator of the huge protest. Jupiter in fall in Capricorn, or connected with Saturn puts me in mind of the proverbial lead balloon which is an expression aimed at entertainers who are not well received. But the other effect of this position is that it inflates gloom, and we have only to consider the current economic crisis, placed firmly at the feet of Jupiter and Saturn, to see a further example of this.

Jupiter afflicts the Ascendant by opposition and is in an applying trine with Saturn to reinforce the rest and, as ruler of the 10th, shows immoderate action by those in authority (this matter was raised in Parliament, as if we don't have more important matters to worry about). The strongest planet here is Mercury in Libra and it is in mutual reception with Saturn by exaltation both in the 4th. The complaints I've mentioned have not caused the complainers any great expenditure of time or energy - no-one was picketing Broadcasting House. They sat in a place of safety and hit the keyboard or keypad: easy. With Saturn so busy in this chart and in Virgo, I have to suggest some jealousy or envy at play here. The Moon in Gemini is mischievous in the house of mischief-making, this certainly applies to Brand and Ross, however it is disposited by Mercury. As mentioned, Mercury is in Libra, an Air sign, and so is more than usually significant of the media. In mutual reception with Saturn it implies not a reaction of disapproval, but something more calculated than that. There is a darker aspect to this than a bad joke gone wrong. I don't know which newspaper led the field with this story, but once a story makes the headlines in one, the others usually follow. And in the same way, the British public appear to have been convinced that if it is in large enough print, it must be important (...and true, but that's another story).

The 4th house is the darkest angle, the 12th is a dark house and Mercury is working with Saturn = surreptitious censorship. There is a definite flavour of control and restriction which, in fact, is contrary to the nature of the British who are losing their sense of moderation and appear to have been doing so for some years. But the media should be careful, too, because the 'freedom of the press' is endangered by their own excesses. In my view, this is clearly seen by fallen Jupiter, the planet of moderation, made unfortunate by its position in carping Capricorn. It becomes excessive, extreme in its attempts to enforce moderate action - bans and prohibitions, and in this case, sackings. Moderation cannot be enforced, the two are mutually exclusive.

Let's concern ourselves with how many ways we can force individuals to be part of the herd. The politicians like this very much: how much better it is that we worry about Brand and Ross, than that we concern ourelves with the situation in Afghanistan or Iraq or Pakistan, or the dire economic situation... Astrologers might do well to read again pages 439 to 442 of Christian Astrology: "If Presbytery shall stand?" and consider Jupiter in Capricorn in an applying trine to Saturn in Virgo. Notice also how this enforced moderation in all areas is denoted "education", all for the public good of course.

The Moon applies to a trine of the Sun in about 5 degrees, so perhaps this combination will perfect its promise and "reveal all".

Thursday, 30 October 2008

New Publication

The Autumn Equinox saw the first issue of The Tradition, a journal of Traditional astrology. It is the brainchild of Helena Avelar and Luis Ribeiro of Lisbon, Portugal, but I am pleased to say that I am also involved, if not in its conception, then in its birth. It is delivered to subscribers as a PDF file, beautifully designed and set by Luis, we are looking for high quality and well-researched articles and papers. The following is the first editorial:

"Choosing the name Tradition for our journal was done after much thought, after all, the word can have many meanings and be applied to all astrological ‘periods’, but we thought it described our aim best. A little like passing the baton in a relay race, Tradition means a custom, belief or opinion handed down to posterity. It implies a sense of continuity, and indeed it is the purpose of this journal to hand down the wisdom of the ancient astrologers to our readers in a clear and practical language. Our scope is wide, from the Ancient Middle-East and Hellenistic Periods, to the Arabic and Christian Medieval, and the Early Modern authors of the 17th century.


Each historical period has its own characteristics – political, social, religious, and so on – and the astrology of each period reflects those characteristics to some degree. Where these characteristics vary from culture to culture, or period to period, we also find variety in astrological method and technique. We are interested in finding the practical and philosophical core of each major astrological period and then identifying its development, or evolution, into the next. However, for all that, there remains a unifying essence which runs throughout history and its discovery forms our goal in these pages, although this does not imply that we favour attempts to fuse these methods, or ‘cherry pick’ techniques.

In order to achieve a deeper understanding of the astrological system as a whole, it is of paramount importance that the scattered resources of the Tradition be recovered and reassembled. We know that much is lost to us, but that shouldn’t prevent the attempt. Some achievements have already been made in this regard, but a more accessible platform is needed for the publication of this research. This journal intends to become that platform, thus creating opportunities for authors and researchers of the Tradition to publish their material without the restrictions found in wider ranging astrological publications. This way, we hope to encourage the research and study of the Art, serving as a primary point of reference for those interested in the Tradition.

This is a publication entirely dedicated to Traditional Western Predictive Astrology. By choosing the digital format we avoid restrictions of size and distribution, as well as making it easily available in any part of the world. This first issue is free of charge, and subsequent issues will have the nominal cost of 5€ (approximately $7.4 or £4). As the editors’ work is entirely voluntary, all profits from the journal will be given to charity. We’ll supply full details in the next issue.

The journal is bi-annual, and it will be issued near each Equinox, around the 15th of March and September. It can be acquired from our website: thetraditionjournal.com

So here it is, The Tradition, our commitment to astrology. We offer a warm welcome to all our readers and hope that you will support us in our work and enjoy reading what you find here."

Historical Context


Since I began my studies in Traditional astrology, many old and ancient works have been translated, or republished, or reprinted. This has been of some help for those interested in the Tradition. However, what has been entirely neglected, so far as I know, is any attempt to place these texts in their historical context (I use this phrase in its broadest sense). It is my opinion that without such knowledge our understanding of the astrology of any period is seriously lacking, and we cannot expect to understand.

I have a longstanding interest in the Second World War, and over the years I have made myself aware of the complexities of life during that period right down to reading contemporary cookery books. In the last few years I have become aware of modern commentators who criticise those who fought during that war, or who were actively participant in other ways. From the safety of a public broadcast or freely available newspaper, well-fed, healthy and not in fear for their lives, they criticize those who did not have such privileges or freedom. And yet this refers to less than 70 years ago. If we have difficulty grasping historical context when we still have oral testimony, how can we hope to understand the writings of many hundreds of years ago.

It is essential that each one of us purporting to be a Traditional astrologer (or Classical, or Hellenistic, or Medieval, or whatever) immerses him or herself in the astrological period of choice. The briefest of investigations into society, politics, religion, philosophy, architecture, design, food, music and so on, will provide historical context and help us to understand the motivations of those astrologers of old.

Introduction


I am an unlikely web logger and probably not a very good one. I seldom have much to say about astrology unless asked and struggle to find subjects to write about. Even when I do, it seems that it can be said in very few words. The internet has made it possible for everyone with a computer to express an opinion about anything and everything – I won’t find it difficult to restrain myself from that.

There are a number of reasons for my ‘coming out’ in this way, the main one being that it seems the best medium for those “few words” I mentioned earlier. The other benefit is that I do not have to continue if I choose not to and it isn’t necessary to prepare a full-blown article. We’ll see how this progresses.

It is not my intention that this space should become a forum or ‘talk shop’, although there may be times when readers’ comments may be included, particularly where those comments contribute to the subject in hand. The content here will largely be that which is of interest to me and if readers also find it of interest then so much the better, but I anticipate neither agreement nor disagreement.

So, to begin…