Aries in red #7

Sarah Jessica Parker was the third to wear Little Orphan Annie's famous red dress.


Scarlet women (#6)

Red signifies prostitution as codified in 17th century French legal code and in "scarlet woman" and "red light district". Here are two Aries actresses playing mother and daughter putting on the red in a grim tale of prostitution, Freeway.Reese Witherspoon and Amanda Plummer


Holiday in Red (#5)

Joseph Stone supplied this red rendition of Billie Holiday.

She tells an unforgetable story about a red dress in her autobiography, "Lady Sings the Blues":

When you did something against the rules [in the Catholic institution], at least they didn't beat you . . .

When you were being punished you got a raggedy red dress to wear. When you wore this dress none of the other girls were supposed to go near you or speak to you.

I'll never forget the first girl I saw wear the dress. She was a real wild one and she was alone in the backyard, standing on a swing. She kept swinging higher and higher, shouting and hollering, swinging higher and higher. She worked so hard she was puffing and huffing. And the kids stood around watching her, all eyes.

The Mother Superior tried to keep the kids moving and break up the crowd of gawking girls. The girl in the raggedy red dress kept on swinging and screaming. I guess she figured as long as she stayed up there on the swing no one could touch her. The Mother Superior just looked at ther, then she turned to a group of us and said: "Just remember, God will punish her."

In a few seconds there was a terrible jerk. As she swing to the highest point she could make on the swing, the chair broke and the girl flew through the air. Then there was a terrible thud and then nothing. When they found her, her neck was broken.

The first time I wore the red dress was at Easter.


Aries in Red #4

Isn't it astonishing that Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, Bessie Smith, Sarah Vaughan and Billie Holiday are all Aries? Not to mention Alberta Hunter, Pearl Bailey and Mariah Carey. Aries Maya Angelou'a autobiography, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings", evokes the nascent soul, emprisoned in the negations of blackness and femaleness.




Red Aries #3: Lon Chaney

The red of Aries excites and vivifies, but it also shocks and terrifies.

Actor Lon Chaney (born 1 April 1883) developed his expressivity as the child of deaf parents. The silent screen is heavily populated with Aries, which must make itself known over all obstacles. Many of the most memorable were Aries-born: Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Gloria Swanson, Wallace Beery, Harold Lloyd, George Arliss, Fatty Arbuckle, Freddie Bartholemew, not to mention Marcel Marceau, Houdini, Bill Irwin and David Blaine; there’s no silencing Aries.
For the range of his extreme characterizations Chaney was known as the ‘Man of 1000 Faces’,  recalling Aries Joseph Campbell’s mythic ‘Hero with 1000 Faces’. (In his one talkie Chaney played a ventriloquist with five voices.)

Chaney as The Masque of the Red Death
Opposite Joan Crawford in the gruesome 1927 silent The Unknown, Cheney plays Alonzo the Armless, a circus knife thrower. He excelled at the grotesque, the Hunchback of Notre- Dame, the scarred Phantom of the Opera, pathos and grotesque deformity are his Self. The Aries unconscious teems with primitive horrors, and a distinct terror of nothingness, as if recalling the suffocation of the womb.  

Chaney's talents extended far beyond the horror genre and stage makeup. He was also a highly skilled dancer, singer and comedian. In fact, many people who did not know Chaney were surprised by his rich baritone voice and his sharp comedic skills.  

Purposefully fostering a mysterious image, he  avoided the social scene in Hollywood. He tried not to be photographed undisguised and said “Between pictures there is no Lon Chaney."

Mars-ruled Aries is partial to the military. Chaney’s portrayal of a tough-as-nails marine drill instructor in Tell It to the Marines (1926), one of his favorite films, earned him the affection of the US Marine Corps, who made him their first honorary member from the motion picture industry, and provided a chaplain and Honor Guard for his funeral. He was interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery, in Glendale, California, next to the crypt of his father. His wife Hazel was also interred there upon her death in 1933. For unknown reasons, Chaney's crypt has remained unmarked.



The Bride Wore Red

Aries Joan Crawford, first glimpsed as a child by her 1979 biographer as

"a tiny figure in a bright red accordion-pleated dress."

Here in The Bride Wore Red.  "Anna scandalizes everyone late in the picture with the titular red dress, a year before Bette Davis would do the same early in the superior Jezebel." (Lawrence J. Quirk, Joan Crawford)

For Bette Davis see Aries in Red #13.



I will post an image of an Aries in a red dress every day this month.


For my Sagittarian friends


Stendhal on astrology

Any announcement of future events is an infringement of the rule, and involves this danger—that it may change the event, in which case the whole science falls to the ground,  and becomes nothing more than a childish game.  

The Charterhouse of Parma, Chapter 8


Palin: There's no there there

 Aquarian Gertrude Stein’s comment about her hometown, Oakland CA,  “There is no there there.” points to the distinctly Aquarian imprint of Palin’s personality: daffy, wacky, spacey, airhead. This variation of unformedness of personality is the demeanor of a particular female Aquarian stereotype: disconcerting, saucer-eyed, strange-voiced, unblinking. Mia Farrow, Carol Channing, Tammy Grimes, Farrah Fawcett, Vanna White, Paris Hilton, with Palin’s own distinctive spunk, and telegenic skin.

 Palin’s got fully five of the seven bodies of the classical solar system located in the single sign of Aquarius. Gertrude Stein had a sizeable imbalance of Aquarius as well. Recall that she wrote her life story in the third person and in the guise of the autobiography of someone else. Her lesser known sequel was a book called “Everybody’s Autobiography”. Aquarians try to wiggle out of acknowledging there’s a Self there. Their sense of self is weak, they may diffuse their selves to include multitudes, or they may defend to the death against their oceanic insecurities, with a kewpie doll (or bow-tie) persona, or a shiny new, pre-fabricated belief system. Radical Aquarian Norman Mailer narrates his experience in the third person as a character named Aquarius in “Of a Fire on the Moon”; Chapter one is called “A Loss of Self”. Reactionary Aquarius historian Henry Adams narrates his great autobiography in the third person too. Two radical Russian distopias by Aquarian writers envisioned worlds in which the “I” is banished: Ayn Rand in “Anthem” and Zamyatin in “We”. [1924.  SciFi collectors: Banned by the Soviets, it first appeared in English translated by Gregory Zilboorg. I have a rare copy of the first edition at whokilledkenny books.]


Sarah Palin's Horoscope

            Sarah Palin was born in Sandpoint, Idaho on February 11, 1964. Her horoscope is being devoured by internet astrologers, but there is no certainty yet about her time of birth.   Regardless of the time of day she was born, she’s got the Sun in close, ugly conjunction to Mars and Saturn (the Lesser and Greater Malefics, respectively). The conjunction is quite close; the three bodies are found within a span of four degrees, in the sign of Aquarius.

            If a client presented with this configuration in her birthchart, I would heave a sigh and say a prayer. I would immediately search for amelioration.  Today’s humanistic astrology doesn’t want to say that a configuration is simply ‘bad’. Many ordinary people with nearly the same configuration will lead lives  damaged or merely emphasized by Energy (Mars) and Necessity (Saturn), in other words, hard work: manual laborers, soldiers, prison guards, trained athletes, even “energetic people who are able to overcome the greatest difficulties”.

            In the chart of a powerful political leader, however, the grim imagery of Mars, the War God, and Saturn, the Reaper, joined with the conscious Solar Ego, evokes a ruler who presides over devastation. McCain’s age and melanomas cannot be ignored; if he is elected there is a strong possibility that Palin will succeed him. Similar configurations to hers appear in the charts of Francis Joseph of Austria (who led the Austro-Hungarian empire to collapse), also Herbert Hoover (who ushered in the Great Depression), also less remembered figures, like Carlos I of Portugal, who saw his nation go bankrupt twice and was assassinated.  The Hamburg Astrology school’s lexicon provides the phrase “To be cause of death” for the association of these three planets, with Mars at the midpoint as here.  Clearly a hawk, having killed her moose and championed “barbaric” aerial hunting of wolves and bears, she casually suggested we go to war with Russia. Her short political history in Alaska is an accumulation of administrative brusqueness. There is joking talk of pit bulls. Her state-trooper brother-in-law tasered his eleven year old step-son. Joking aside, there is a fatality towards destruction, an affinity for strife, and a cold, hard hand in the triple conjunction of Sun, Mars and Saturn that might make an astrologer shudder.

            On the birthdate the Moon passed from Capricorn to Aquarius at 9 am. Therefore the chances are 5 to 3 that the Moon is in Aquarius. If not, it’s in Capricorn and we have Abraham Lincoln’s Sun/Moon combination, which ought to give a slow, methodical political climb with plenty of opposition, and a somber demeanor. But the chances (and the rumored 4:40 pm birthtime) favor the Aquarius Moon, which to my mind is more apt, and could hardly be more dire. For, in addition to the fatal triple conjunction in Aquarius, the planet Mercury is also found in that sign, plus the Moon gives us five, fully half of the ten modern astrological bodies located in just one of the twelve zodiac signs. Pulling back a layer, and more weightily, all five are among the classical seven planets. This is an extreme and unusual imbalance, made much more dangerous by being in Aquarius, the sign of extremities, eccentricities, and downright weirdness. Herman Kahn, the futurologist who was the model for Dr. Strangelove, was an Aquarian. It is all too likely that under the gravest immediate stress Sarah Palin would launch destruction “without blinking.”


The chameleon

photo: Francois-Marie BanierReading about prodigious imposter, the "professional liar", Frederic Bourdin, in the Aug. 11-18 New Yorker, I sez to myself, "This guy has got to be a Gemini." Sure enough, the author (David Grann) gave up his birthdate: June 13, 1974. In addition to his amazing adaptability, his facility with languages, and his effortless border-crossing, it was his youthfulness, his ability well into his thirties to convince everyone he was fifteen that struck me as particularly Geminian.


Not G. K. Chesterton, too.

Readers of The New Yorker puzzled recently over a seemingly pointless article about G. K. Chesterton, of use to me at least because he was, you guessed it, a Gemini (29 May 1874).  When he was 19 he got deeply into the Ouija board with his 14 year

old brother Cecil and they were scared witless. The experience was so powerful that Chesterton was shocked into lifelong orthodoxy. He and Cecil remained staunch brothers-in-arms, both professional progressive literary journalists in London, supporting and editing each other, co-editing journals, even sharing in libel trials, until Cecil’s death in the Great War.

The tendency among prominently paired literary siblings, for one of them to be a Gemini is marked: the Corneilles (Pierre's the gemini), the Goncourts (Edmond), the Manns (Thomas), the Hitchens (it's Peter), the Wolffs (Tobias), the Collins (Joan), Byatt/Drabble (Margaret), Cockburns (Alex), Dunnes (John Gregory), etc . . . where is my list?

Chesterton had that knack of creating an identity by pairing off. His biographer Joseph Pearce examines his long and successful, though childless, marriage with Frances Blogg in a chapter titled “Chesterblogg”.  His signature controversies with Hilaire Belloc and G. B. Shaw get chapters likewise titled “Chesterbelloc” and “Chestershaw”.  Called in the title of another biography “the Prince of Paradox” he bristles with dualisms. The caricature above calls  attention to his wonderful plain old bookishness, which an old bookstore owner admires. He seems to have published yards of books;  one collection of essays published in 1908 was called “All Things Considered.” 

Chesterton is remembered mostly, however, for his Father Brown mysteries, which some esteem as highly as the Sherlock Holmes tales by Arthur Conan Doyle, also born under Gemini. Doyle was led to mediumship by the death of his brother. He paired up with Gemini Oliver Lodge for psychical investigations. Also involved with these two in the Society for Psychical Research was the scientist Sir William Crookes, (again, what else, a Gemini) the discoverer of the cathode/anode tube, who turned to the study of mediumship after the death of his brother. 


Geminis Cardozo and Habermas carry weight.

A highly distinguished Gemini attorney, “one of the most influential legal minds of [the twentienth] century”, would be Benjamin Cardozo,  revered Justice of the Supreme Court from 1932 until his death in 1938. Born 24 May 1870, he was one of twins, and lived his entire life, apparently celibate, with the older sister that raised him, another example of a talented Gemini  enacting a lifelong sibling-centered existence. Witness the gifts and interests of Hermes/Mercury, the patron of Gemini, in Cardozo’s contribution to contract law (dyadic, reciprocal),  while as a theorist of common law and social action he shares the terrain of the Gemini communications theorist Jurgen Habermas (18 June 1929), about whom I wrote a few weeks ago. The vibrational similarity (if I may) seems to play out in a physical resemblance.

Benjamin Cardozo


Juergen Habermas


 A weighty column by Habermas appears now on Arts and Letters Daily ( about the current European Union crisis. There are few public intellectuals left who express enlightenment ideals as forcefully and opportunely as he. (,1518,560549,00.html)


John Edwards, Gemini behaving badly.



He of  the “Two Americas”,  with the inherent duplicity of the Twins, called LIAR in 4 inch letters on the front pages of the tabloids. Months ago he was caught by YouTube preening in a mirror. Narcissus, a Gemini without a brother, yearns after his own image, never matures. Dowd in the Times made merciless fun of him for hiring his lover to make videos of himself (“His self-diagnosis of narcissism was weirdly narcissistic . . . ”).  

Mentally fluent Twins fill the ranks of Edwards’s profession, lawyering,  fascinated by the dynamic of justice’s two-panned scale and the power of the word.  As a Gemini, the lawyer enjoys  in-betweening and pairing off in so many ways: as an advocate, a mediator, a communicator, a representative,  an opponent whose strength lies in the ability to argue either side;  also,  she exploits to the hilt her network of personal relationships and inter-obligations, contacts and introductions.  Some prominent  attorneys immediately come to my mind: F. Lee Bailey (10 June 1933, with the Geminian lightness of the aviator/playboy), and Palm Beach’s Robert Montgomery (9 June 1930, who died last week),  a tort litigator like Edwards, a Democrat with Republican clients, and the man responsible for the multi-billion dollar finding against the tobacco industry. Closer to Edwards’s current dilemma are two recent New York Attorneys General: Eliot Spitzer (June 10, 1959), who projected an image clear as a bell, then suddenly proved schizoid, two-faced; and Rudolph Giuliani (28 May 1944), whose idiosyncratic infidelities and cellphone antics are the least of his Geminian displays.                                                         


(Marilyn Monroe & Donald Trump are also Geminis.)


E. M. Lilien (Hands of Gemini 10)


An interesting Gemini has turned up on my shelves, the photographer and artist E. M. Lilien (b. May 29, 1874). These two images comprise the front and back covers of The Art of Light, Photographic Aspects of E. M. Lilien, Jerusalem, 1992. The reciprocity between the two duplicative processes (photography and engraving), both practiced with great imagination and skill perfectly strikes the Geminian interval.

In Lilien’s involvement in newspaper, journalistic and reportage photography, book and periodical illustration, and art education, the resemblance to the German graphic master, Durer, is notable;
the stylistic resemblance is obvious. In the two illustrations above notice the importance of that symbol of Gemini, the subject’s hand.

There is bold adventure in a 25 year old eastern European Jew dragging cumbersome photographic equipment to the desert. Sometimes called “the first Zionist artist”, his photograph of Theodore Herzl is iconic. As Gemini needs continuously to communicate, to mediate, so Lilien felt that his art would help
bridge  both the jew/arab and the semite/European splits.



Two gemini hearts

Have a nice day from two gemini artists.  

Two six foot red hearts, sculpture by Jim Dine (b. 16 June 1935 )                                                                                                                                


                                            Raymond Pettibone (26 May 1957), 

                                         Untitled (Meet  John Doe), detail                 


pettibon & escher

escher-pillar104.jpgpettibon-pillars109.jpgHere's a couple of interesting Gemini images from Gemini artists. The one on the right is by M. C. Escher. The one below comes from "The Arte of English Poesie" of 1589, an influential compendium of rhetorical and poetic techniques. The column on the left is to be read from bottom up, the  one on the right from top down. "The Arte of English Poesie" is attributed to George Puttenham about whom little is known (no birthdate, alas)  except that he had a brother. This particular, and peculiar, excerpt  appears in a selection of work by the Gemini artist Raymond Pettibon (published by Phaidon), in the "Artist's Choice" section.




The Arte of English Poesie, George Puttenham. $5


scientists: gilbert coulomb poisson maxwell lodge crookes mesmer 

steinbergplusminus057.jpgAnother image of pure Gemini from Saul Steinberg (June 15, 1914). 


Scientists usually feel left out when the topic of astrology arises;  they should not. For instance, a clearly disproportionate number of the seminal names in the physics of magnetism were born under the Twins, the primal dualism, Gemini:

William Gilbert, author of De Magnete, ("the first great English scientific work") was born May 24, 1544. He discovered that the Earth is a giant magnet.

Charles Augustin de Coulomb (born June 14, 1736). In seven papers on electricity and magnetism published between 1785 and 1789, he explained the mathematical laws of attraction and repulsion between magnetic poles and electric charges.

Simeon Poisson, mathematician (b. 21 June 1781)  " . . his memoirs on the theory of electricity and magnetism, virtually created a new branch of                 mathematical physics. .....  made important contributions to the theory of                       attraction."

James Clerk Maxwell (b. June 13, 1831), author of the 1873 Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism demonstrating the identity of the two phenomena, "the most important physicist between Newton and Einstein".

These four men established the theory that the material world is essentially constituted by the interplay of two opposing immaterial forces. Equally entranced by the dance of plus and minus was the genius British technoscientist Oliver Lodge (b. 12 June 1851). He extended and applied electromagnetic theory to wireless transmission, the bipolar electrical cell, the study of lightning, automotive engineering (the spark plug), and fog-busting. He might almost be the man in Steinberg's drawing. Oliver Lodge was also twice a highly active president of the British Society for Psychical Research.


Another important scientist and British SPR president was Gemini Sir William Crookes (17 June 1832) who made discoveries in many scientific realms, including electricity. He is best remembered for the Crookes radiometer, which moves by virtue of the difference between black and white. Gemini Wallis Simpson's witty earrings

Mention must also be made of another experimenter associated with a form of magnetism, so-called animal magnetism: Franz Anton Mesmer (b. May 23, 1734) who, applying the principal of universal immaterial polarized force to medicine, psychology and sexuality, was the progenitor of dynamic psychiatry and the experimental approach to subjectivity. Mesmerism was, of course, a principle object of study at the SPR. 


At the time of the flourishing of the SPR London was awash with Gemini writers characteristically eager to extend communication. Arthur Conan Doyle (22 May 1859) and G. K. Chesterton (29 May 1874), both alter-egos of popular psychic investigators (Sherlock Holmes and Father Brown) both also deeply pursued mediumistic contact with their departed, beloved brothers. The poet W. B. Yeats (13 June 1865) while working with Crookes on a spirit-voice transmission device, runs into novelist Arnold Bennett (27 May 1867) at a seance . . . Gemini embraces any possibility of communication. No wonder Timothy Berners-Lee, inventor of the internet, is a Gemini.


This universe a thing of dream
                substance naught & Keystone void
                                    vibrations of symmetry  Yes   No
                                    Foundations of Gold Element Atom
                all the way down to the first Wave
                making opposite Nothing a mirror
which begat a wave of Ladies marrying
waves of Gentlemen till I was born in 1926
                in Newark, New Jersey under the sign
                                                                sweet Gemini ---

                                                                           ALLEN GINSBURG




Ralph Waldo Emerson

Another quote from gemini Ralph Waldo Emerson:

How slowly, how slowly we learn that witchcraft and ghostcraft, palmistry and magic, and all the other so-called superstitions, which, with so much police, boastful skepticism, and scientific committees, we had finally dismissed to the moon as nonsense, are really no nonsense at all, but subtle and valid influences, always starting up, mowing, muttering in our paths, and shading our day. (Journals, September 1842)