Donald Evans, Virgo artist #9

DONALD EVANS (b. 28 August 1945, Morristown NJ, 6:40 am) was another artist born under Virgo whose work is organized by the Grid. The postage stamp and its perforated sheets provided the rectilinear, regulated containment for Evans’s fantasy. He created the postal art for scores of imaginary nations;  peculiarly distinctive, whimsical, exotic or banal, as philatelic images tend to be, executed with microscopic precision and tongue in cheek.  Virgonian imagery predominates: catalogues of flora and fauna, natural landscapes, textiles, crafts, alphanumerics, and daily minutiae.

More of his work is here.

What to make of his premature death at the age of thirty-one, as enigmatic and abrupt as one of his postage stamps? His contained wanderlust led him to expatriate to the distinctly unexotic and safe Amsterdam, where he was ironically trapped in a fire in his neat apartment/studio (on 29 April 1977).

I have two fine copies of THE WORLD OF DONALD EVANS by Willy Eisenhart (1980, paperback, 173 pages, numerous plates) at the store.         $22.00

Order one here:


David McKirdy: Virgo Grid Artist #7

I met an amazing artist from Tampa named David McKirdy. He told me he was a Virgo. His work is almost entirely grid-based. He punches holes or burns them into his medium with an etching tool. Needless to say, digital reproduction hardly captures the delicacy and devotion in each of his pieces. In a 2007 interview he said, "I'm not doing it for the excitement. There's not a thrill of spontaneity. ... It's about going to work and doing something that I believe in. I really like the field when it's finished, even though it is in some cases very grueling."


Virgo Grid Artist #8: Will Shortz

Will Shortz, born 26 August 1952, is the crossword puzzle editor of the New York Times. However, with both Moon and Mars in Scorpio, his interests go beyond crosswords, to puzzles in general; he styles himself an enigmatologist.


Samaras more Virgo Grids(6)

Bit of a hurry today. More Virgo artists with the grid habit.

2 above by Lucas Samaras (b. Sept. 14, 1936)


the gemini cancer cusp

The question asked where Gemini becomes Cancer: Is language magic?

Every fourth sign is Water. Water is Mystery. Cancer turns the empty binarism of Gemini into an infinitude of possibilities, symbolized by the pair of comedic, unpredictable pincers. Cancer turns the rational geometry of Gemini’s parallel into the double helix of DNA. One can run with this metaphor. For instance: Gemini rules the pair, the male and female gametes, Cancer the resultant pregnancy and birth. Gemini is the pure information of letters and digit, the empty on/off; Cancer is the fertile imaginative capacity that transforms that information into human meaning;  the book vs. someone to read it.  Each fourth sign in the zodiac is a water sign, following an air sign. Air is rational intellect, water irrational emotion. Thus the zodiac proclaims that rationalism is invariably superceded by something mysterious, involving love and death. But these ruminations add nothing really to what’s already in the literature. For instance, in C. E. O Carter’s classic:

“To those who are chiefly developed on the mental side, as is so often the case in the modern world, the passage from Gemini to Cancer seems a retrogression. After attaining the keen if limited mentality of Gemini, what a fall it seems to pass back to a sign that is largely instinctive and has the reputation of wallowing in emotion, especially of the gloomier kind!”
                     Essays on the Foundations of Astrology, 1947


Warhol a Leo, but the grid is Virgo's

An incorrect Scorpio birthdate for Andy Warhol is in circulation. Its erroneous origin is discussed at AstroDataBank. The coyly secretive artist offered several different dates for his birth. The accepted birthdate of August 6, 1928 is therefore dubious.  The birth certificate, not registered till 1945, was probably concocted by Warhol himself to satisfy a college registration requirement and is derived from an affidavit resting on the veracity (indeed, on the very existence) of the alleged birth midwife. This belated certificate has been supplemented as evidence by a "baptismal certificate" which on examination is equally derivative and indirect. Warhol was just the sort of person to shave some time off his age at the first possible opportunity. (“Eighteen years old and still not famous?”). I find it hard to believe that this notably dark Leo had seven planets in firesigns including sun and moon, sure representation of sunny extroversion, and few serious afflictions, as was the case on August 6, 1928. The 1928 horoscope is as much an ironic disguise as the blond wig.

One year earlier, however, we find a precise and powerful conjunction at the Venus/Pluto midpoint, of Jupiter and Uranus at 3 Aries, a degree whose Sabian symbol [M. E. Jone, The Sabian Symbols, 1953] reveals “an utterly naïve assimilation of self into its world and a complete flow of all effort  toward some proper end,” which is consonant with both his gee whiz manner and his remarkable productivity and accomplishment. (That conjunction at 3 Aries appears with equal descriptive accuracy in the chart of John Ashbury, another unique and unsunny Leo genius born a few days before.) A late Scorpio moon, conjunct Saturn and square Neptune, also seems appropriate to his mysterious, dead-pan persona, not to mention his unflinching morbid subject matter: dead movie stars, electric chairs, auto crashes, JFK's assassination, various disasters, criminals, skulls, shadows, etc. That configuration was under the direct pressure of transiting Neptune when Warhol was shot by Valerie Solanas in 1968. 

I also expected to see some Virgo in this Leo’s chart, since he employed the grid device continuously throughout his career, virtually his trademark mode of presentation. As Virgo is adjacent to Leo the absence of Virgo planets in the 1928 chart is conspicuous, but in the 1927 both Venus and Mars are in Virgo. 

More on Virgo and the Grid here.


Virgo Grid Art 4



Minimalist Virgo artist Carl Andre (b. 16 September 1935) restricts himself to repetitive rectilinear arrangements.

Gemini artists & writers here

Aries in Red Dresses here



Virgo Grid Art 3

Virgo conceptual artist Robert Irwin (b. 12 September 1928; one day after Robert Indiana) employs the grid as metaphor and plan. His use of both high-tech and horticultural materials unites the mechanical and and natural poles of the Virgo temper.  (Above: Nine Spaces, Nine Trees 1983; below, Light and Space, 2007)


Virgo Grid Art 2


Virgo artist Robert Indiana, b. 13 September 1928.


Virgo and the Grid 

Modular cube, Sol LeWitt (b. 9 September 1928 - 2007).

Virgo is the concept of the grid: as armature, as classification system, and ultimately, as the woven fabric of human reality itself -- woof of matter and warp of consciousness. Virgo is the natural process of unfoldment along determinative patterns, the interplay of timeless abstraction (logic, mathematics) and temporal developments (organism, culture). The grid of Virgo quietly underlies  the wildest tendrils of nature as under the statistician’s strict bell curve teeming reality flourishes .



Virgo Astrology Data





* The painting, Wheelbarrow, is by Morris Graves (b. 28 August 1910 - 2001), a Zen Buddhist and gardener from the Pacific Northwest, much influenced by oriental attitudes toward art and nature.

* Graves named all his dogs and cats Edith, after the Virgo poet Edith Sitwell (born 7 September 1887 - 1964), herself an acolyte and biographer of the Virgin Queen, Elizabeth the First (also born 7 September, but 1533 - 1603).

Graves, who died in 2001, was the epitome of the refined Virgo artist of nature. More of his work is here.  I reproduce the red wheelbarrow because of WC Williams's poem:

so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white

* Word for word, for its brevity, The Red Wheelbarrow is one of the most scrutinized poems in the English language.

* The author, William Carlos Williams (Virgoborn in the Garden State on 17 September 1883,  d. 1961), was a pediatrician as well as a poet, shares the Virgonian tendresse of the artist Graves.

* The poem, essentially a haiku, enters American literary space by spelling out the ellipsis implicit in all haiku: so much depends upon . . . The remainder of the poem contains the traditional seventeen syllables, if "glaz-ed" is read poetically.

 * Virgo rules gardening, farming, pets, flowers and livestock.

Virgo and Soap



The German historian Heinrich von Treitschke, a Virgo (b. 15 September 1834 - 1896) is best known
 for a mere three words: CIVILIZATION IS SOAP. (He actually said something quite different: that the English believe that civilization is soap.)

Still, the well-known connection of astrological Virgo to soap, cleanliness and purity pretty much holds water. William Lever of Lever Brothers, for instance, the inventor of the soap manufacturing process . . a Virgo, and indeed responsible for the proliferation of washing-up in the British Isles, which drew forth Treitschke’s memorable observation. 

 Michael Chiklis of The Shield, classical composer Anton Bruckner, and vegan musician Moby: 3 Virgos!

Arn. Schoenberg, b. THIRTEEN September 1874
I mention Moby's veganism as Virgo is inevitably preoccupied with orthorexic notions of health and nutrition. Boringly precise, endearingly fussy, or pathologically obsessive-compulsive, thus Anton Bruckner's numeromania, also the similar numeromania (triskaidecaphobia) at the root of composer Arnold Schoenberg's twelve-tone system. Virgos may be highly sensible or highly strung, there's always a pitch of refinement.

99 - 44/100% PURE! (reg.) The depth and brilliance of this advertising slogan is the recognition that perfection is unattainable, that the profound fate of measurement and knowledge is to strive and fail and strive again. That truth is only approached by endless asymptote. The very concept of purity "invokes" desecration and frantic defenses. Hence Virgo's urgency and  stubborness. Hence George Bataille (10 Sept. 1897), Antonin Artaud (4 Sept. 1895) and Alfred Jarry (8 Sept. 1873). OCD vs. a compulsion to desecrate is the typical Virgo neurosis.

"I live like a monk: with one toothbrush, one cake of soap, and a pot of cream."The three great screen beauties born under Virgo, Greta Garbo, Sophia Loren and Raquel Welch, are all known for their obsessive beauty ahd health rituals. Vera Stravinsky,  recording her impressions of Greta Garbo,  wrote that Garbo was  uninterested in the conversation around her until someone mentioned discovering a new soap. "Is it good for stockings?" was Garbo's only memorable remark of the evening.



Cameron Diaz (b. Aug. 30, 1972) is arguably Hollywood's most compulsive celeb. Not only does she open doors with her elbows to avoid touching germ-infested knobs - doorknobs, that is - she also admits to scrubbing her Hollywood home scrupulously and washing her hands 'many times' each day."

Heidi Montag (b. 15 Sept. 1984) famous for her unending quest for physical perfection through obsessive exercise and plastic surgeries.

Jeremy Irons, b. Sept. 19, 1948


The British-born star, biding time in Ireland's Shannon Airport, got so bent out of shape over a filthy airport bar that he gave the beer-soaked tables and overflowing ashtrays some desperately needed elbow grease...

" . . .He said: 'I'm just hanging around here. I'm bored and it has to be done. This place is disgusting. . . . I had an hour to kill in the lounge. I had done enough reading, and I looked around me and the place was a dump, so I decided to clean up, I find being delayed at airports quite depressing, and I felt much better after cleaning up. . .'"


Virgo Michael Jackson was, of course, a famous germaphobe.


Leo and the Self

When I consider my selfbeing, my consciousness and feeling of myself, that taste of myself, of I and me above and in all things, which is more distinctive than the taste of ale or alum, more distinctive than the smell of walnutleaf or camphor, and is incommunicable by any means to another man (as when I was a child I used to ask myself:  What must it be to be someone else?) nothing else in nature comes near this unspeakable stress of pitch, distinctiveness and selving, this selfbeing of my own. Nothing explains it or resembles it, except so far as this, that other men to themselves have the same feeling. But this only multiplies the phenomena to be explained . . .  But searching nature I taste self but at one tankard, that of my own being.
                        Gerard Manley Hopkins
                        b.  August 20, 1880

"I go on and on until I am stopped, and I never am stopped."
                        Percy Bysshe Shelley
                        b. August 4, 1792

“I am not a man like other men. The laws of morality and of society are not applicable to me. I have the right to answer all of your objections with an eternal I.”

            Napoleon Bonaparte, b. 15 August 1769


Gemini: I am writing millions of letters a year . . 

                                        . . .  I correspond with hopeful

          messengers in Detroit, I am taking drugs

and leap at my postman for more correspondence, Man is leaving

          the earth in a rocket ship,

there is a mutation of the race, we are no longer human beings,

          we are one being, we are being connected to itself,

it makes me crosseyed to think how, the mass media assemble

          themselves like congolese Ants for a purpose

                                                                      Allen Ginsberg


          communicate with me

          by mail post telegraph phone street accusation or scratching at my window

          and send me a true sign I'll reply special delivery


Allen Ginsberg




MrsRaptor, the Open Salon blogger born May 22 whom I wrote about yesterday, adds that she is a twin,  mother of two sets of twins, and grandmother of twins. She's  typically communicative: not only a blogger but a ham radio operator, and her English (not her native language) is impeccable. Geminis show their need to communicate by picking up languages easily. (My father was a G and spoke 5 languages. Whenever we traveled he would pull out the local phonebook, even in some podunk motel that we stayed in for one night, and find someone in it who was related to someone from his home town in Eastern Europe, call them and invite them over for a drink.) 

Also, check out Neeti Ray's lovely appreciation of Gemini here.


Gemini bloggers on

     This happened to me. I was reading a piece by English journalist/interviewer Lynn Barber in The Observer (via and I thought the writer had a Gemini vibe -- nothing in particular, and not unusual in a journalist/interviewer. The Observer gave her a bio where I read that she was born on May 22. Gratifying. One of her hobbies is gossip. Perfect.

     Then I checked out Huffington Post. I was interested in Gemini Brooke Shields's remarks about Michael Jackson. She brings up the subject of asexuality, which I find a Geminian topic (two of them I can think of, Elsa Maxwell and I. Compton-Burnett, claimed to be neuter). Among the comments one person writes, "Why is Brooke Shields always talking about asexuality?" I had no idea. I do remember the exquisite androgyny of her prepubescent modeling work. Another commenter says that Morrissey is an avowed asexual. I wonder if he's a Gemini, with all those double letters. Turns out he was born on May 22. Another hit. Plus, the 22 again.

     This, I thought, is not blog material, too trivial, too fussy, who's Lynn Barber, anyway. 

     Now, I have only eight or nine regular subscriber/readers. They know who they are, I (for the most part) don't. Aside from the regular perusers of Elsa's aggregator,, my blog is hardly seen by anyone. I feed it to Open Salon but have never, I think, known anyone there to read it. So an hour ago I get an email: an Open Salon blogger, MrsRaptor, has made me a favorite! I suppose it's because in my last post I mentioned Open Salon bloggers and how I wondered if Geminis predominate among them. For some reason, Open Salon likes everyone  easily to know the birthdate of their members. MrsRaptor was born on M A Y   2 2.

     Well, what can I do with this? Drop a few chips on 22 rouge?




venus & serena w Il lI ams

Gemini often occurs among siblings or couples who become prominent in related professions, and whose personal relationship is professionally relevant. Serena is a Libra, an air sign like Gemini, in fact the most serene of the air signs. Venus, the Gemini sister, is paradoxically named, since the planet Venus rules Libra, her sister's sign. Thus in their very naming began the intended intermixture of their identities. They are the only pair of tennis players to have played championship singles matches and then partnered in doubles. This year they did it for the second time. I relish the exemplary equanimity of these sisters who shift from opposition to cooperation, expressing the astrological nature of the signs of the Twins and the Balance. 

iSaiaH Berlin



Anglo-russo social philosopher, historian of ideas, and intellectual playboy (6 June 1909-1997).

A portion of his voluminous correspondence (Enlightening:Letters 1946-1960) is reviewed by Terry Eagleton in The Guardian:

“Berlin was not only a compulsive chatterer; he was in a chattering class of his own. These letters are great splurges of urbane speech, which at times come close to stream-of-consciousness mode.”




"Fragments of political philosophy blend with upper-class gush ("divine", "delicious", "adorable"). There is the odd, respectfully restrained note to Winston Churchill, along with loquacious missives to Arthur Schlesinger, John Sparrow, David Astor, Richard Wollheim, Violet Bonham Carter, Bernard Berenson and a glittering array of others. Berlin's parents are kept informed of the socially glamorous crew he has just dined with in Paris. All the time the man himself is darting from Harvard to Aix-en-Provence, Italian castles to Tel Aviv, penning his views on the Palestinian question while his social life proliferates hopelessly beyond control." (Terry Eagleton, The Guardian)



7 Literary Ladies under Gemini


ANNA LETITIA BARBAULD. Who she?  An enormous biography of her just came out. She was an egregiously literary Englishwoman, 1743-1825, precocious, verbally gifted, an exemplary Bluestocking and a popular poet, who developed into a serious controversial essayist, editor and critic, and an influential and innovative educator and children’s author. Ho hum, I would say, until I read about her intense involvement with her brother:

. . . She and her beloved brother John Aikin worked as a team . . . : John was instrumental in getting her into print in the first place, relied on her as a frequent (anonymous) contributor to the Monthly Magazine after he took over its editorship, and collaborated with her on books and articles. Charles James Fox once congratulated Aikin on an essay 'Against Inconsistency in our Expectations': '"That", replied Aikin, "is my sister's." - "I like much," resumed Fox, "your essay On Monastic Institutions".' "That", answered Aikin, "is also my sister's."'

. . . Even in the age of sensibility, theirs seems to have been a remarkably interdependent bond, and much more sustaining to Anna than her troubled marriage to Barbauld (who suffered from some sort of psychosis and from whom she eventually had to separate). In 1777, John and his wife Martha gave the Barbaulds one of their sons, two-year-old Charles, to adopt. It was a fairly common practice to share children out in this way in families, and clearly Anna Letitia was longing to be a mother, but one can't help thinking . . . that she and her husband didn't wait very long before deciding that they weren't going to have children of their own. It makes one wonder what truth there may have been in a later description of Anna as 'an icicle'. "

“Doubtless she’s a Gemini,” I thought and wiki’ed her. Sure ‘nuff: b. 20 June 1743, (28 degrees Gemini). Reading the Wiki article does not leave the impression she was “an icicle”, though capable of leaving a chill. 

2. FANNY BURNEY (June 13, 1752-1840) Bestselling English epistolary novelist, playwright, wit, diarist and letter writer. Of a claustrophobic, multi-siblinged family. Scarred by the scandalous incestuous elopement of her brother James and their half-sister Sarah. Her diary/correspondence with her sister Susannah is a significant portion of her oeuvre.

3. RAHEL VARNHAGEN. (May 19, 1771-1833) Saloniste. Wrote 10,000 letters, stimulated a creative epistolary network of over 300 correspondents. Among the published volumes drawn from the archive, the most interesting is that of her lifelong correspondence with her brother, the poet Ludwig Robert.

4. MARY WORTLEY MONTAGU  (May 26, 1689-1762), letter writer, travel writer, journalist. Her literary cat-fight with Gemini Alexander Pope, is archetypal: he called her a lesbian in heroic couplets. (cf. Gemini feuds: Mary McCarthy vs. Lillian Hellman, Elsa Maxwell vs. Wallis Simpson). "She did in fact try to rescue her favourite sister, the countess of Mar, who was mentally deranged, from the custody of her brother-in-law, Lord Grange, who had treated his own wife with notorious cruelty, and the slander originated with him." (Wiki)

5. HARRIET BEECHER STOWE (b. June 14, 1811-1896): Journalist, novelist, abolitionist. Note her substantial creative, professional, political and domestic involvement with her brother, Henry Ward Beecher, the notoriously divorced, influential literary editor.


6. MARGARET FULLER (May 23, 1810-1850)  At the age of 25 she was given the responsibility of raising her 13 year old brother. After her death at the age of 40 he acted as devoted editor of her literary remains. Her meeting of the minds with Gemini Ralph Waldo Emerson is one of the touchstones of American literary history:

“Last night a walk to the river with Margaret, and saw the moon broken in the water, interrogating, interrogating.”  . . . from Emerson's  Journals

7. JULIA WARD HOWE (b. May 27, 1819-1910). Poet, journalist, feminist. Author of The Battle Hymn of the Republic. First woman elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her early, unpublished novel was called The Hermaphrodite. Her antithetical brother, the accomplished Sam Ward, was a bon vivant, after whom a cocktail was named (Chartreuse over cracked ice served in a scooped-out lemon).

More Gemini women of letters here, emphasis on sibling and/or gender issues:


Hands of Gemini 7: Marilyn Monroe

Leaving her handprints in front of Grauman's Chinese Theater, after the filming of Gentlemen Prefer Blonds, in which she figures as one of a pair (with Jane Russell), bon vivante and gender-bending. Granted, the hand is not the first body part one associates with Monroe, nor is Gemini the sign one might guess for her.  Yet that might be the very disjunction that explains her anguish. She gave herself to the camera, that is, to the state of being duplicated and multiplied, promiscuously and compulsively. Hedda Hopper, herself a Gemini (and note that both ladies rechristened themselves with alliterative names, gracing their self-created identities with the primitive charm of doubleness), observed Monroe's relation to the camera:

“No one in my memory hypnotized the camera as she did. . . In her brain and body the distinction between woman and actress had edges sharp as razor blades. Off camera she was a nervous, amazingly fair-skinned creature almost beside herself with anxiety about her roles, driven to seek relief in vodka, champagne, sleeping pills—anything to blunt the pain of her existence. When the camera was there she became an actress, using her eyes, her hands, every muscle in her body to court and conquer the camera as though it were her lover, whom she dominated and was dominated by, adored and feared.”   ---Hedda Hopper, The Truth and Nothing But (sic)

MM & HH: 2 Geminis and a mirror

As a hypermediated Gemini she was also a reader, fully entitled to wear glasses without joking. She married a writer, after all, not a bodyguard or back-up dancer. She was continually communicative, on the phone, kept in touch with everybody, even her distant half-sister, who wrote a book about her.

As Geminis do, she paired off with other Geminis.  Most memorably, Tony Curtis, JFK, and Joyce Carol Oates.Two Geminis with cameras


Gemini JFK avoided being caught in a photo with her, save in this rare shot taken on the sly, which includes the bonus features treasured by Gemini watchers: the Brother and the Library.

Two Geminis with phone

Gemini novelist Joyce Carol Oates announced Marilyn as her alter-ego or secret twin in the jacket art of her novel BLONDE, which had the working title of GEMINI, and is full of reflections on Gemini, including an extended fantasy of a sexual relationship between Monroe and a pair of handsome twins. A powerful chapter treats the occasion on which Monroe sang Happy Birthday to JFK. Years later tragic history repeated itself as farce when Gemini opera singer Beverly Sills sang Happy Birthday to Gemini Henry Kissinger.

(found stereogram)

(photo by Milton H. Greene)


reading Ulysses


Hands of Gemini 6: Garcia Lorca

Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca (b. June 5, 1898), also an artist, drew this pair of severed hands, which chillingly prefigure his severed life: he was murdered by the Spanish fascists in 1936. Poets take note of the shout-outs among Geminis Whitman, Pessoa, Lorca and Ginsberg!

Incidentally, as a youngster, didn't Lorca look like Gemini Johnny Depp? I know "Separated at Birth" is an easy game, but when they're of the same sign I can't resist.