Entries in astrology (71)


Pride of Lions: one male and six females

I am remiss in sharing new astrological data. Just picked up an addition to the Leo file. Turns out that the radical modernist composer Karlheinz Stockhausen (b. 22 Aug1928), one of the pioneers of electronica, was polygamous. Three other important, charismatic Leos were similarly all-embracing in their love lives.

Carl Jung (26 July 1875), like Stockhausen center of a cultish circle, was famously shared by his wife and his pupil/colleague Toni Wolff, who was also said to  manage his harem of Jungfrauen. For the last 40 years of his life he was commonly accompanied by both women  at public and private functions.

Erwin Schrodinger (12 Aug 1887) the great physicist and Einstein colleague, a Vedantist with deep theories about the role of sunlight in the creation of life on the subatomic level, lived openly with two women, because of which several universities terminated his engagements. Oddest of all, perhaps, the great Lutheran theologian Paul Tillich (20 Aug 1886), author of ‘The Courage to Be’ (such a Leonine title) agreed with his wife early on to an ‘open marriage’ but according to his son, “this arrangement got out of hand. He wouldn't stop and she didn't like it anymore.” Nevertheless they did not divorce, and his promiscuity was unconcealed.

What particularly strikes me is that all four of these guys, in addition to being Leos, are German (yes Jung was Swiss, but German-speaking Lutheran and self-identified as Aryan). Needless to say, the lion in the wild is virtually a symbol of authoritarian maleness. He is also the Blond Beast. 


Red Aries #38

Bette Davis, 5 April 1908

Marc Jacobs, 9 April 1963


Red Aries #37: Lips

James Franco, 19 April 1978

Tim Curry, 19 April 1946

Heath Ledger, 4 April 1979

Marcel Marceau, 22 March 1923


Red Aries #36: Francisco Goya

Another great court portraitist, (like Anthony VanDyck, Red Aries #18), Francisco Goya, born on March 30, 1746, had a penchant for bright red, especially as an accent: red cape, red ribbon, red collar, red corsage, red boutonniere, red cuff, feather, box, flag, flame, hat, pants, ember, blood. He painted the Duchess of Alba twice, once in a white dress and once in a black one, each with a red sash. The painting above, Goya's most beloved, unites the color with his favorite theme, childhood. At the lower left, his frequent touch of the macabre, the three cats ready to pounce on the bird.

Here he equates the Aries bodypart, the head, and the Aries color.

The haunting portrait of Count Floridablanca is profound meditation on identity. The ostensible Subject is the central figure in bold red, but his existence is diffused, appearing also in his oval portrait dimly looming above him. There is also a self-portrait of the artist, humbly dressed on the left, whose profile is 'fortuitously' highlighted, while the individuality of an insignificant secretary seems to have struck the artist as more interesting than the Count, who is comparing his painted image with his image in a mirror. So there are at least six self-images present or implicit. Other important Aries images in Goya's work: Boy on a Ram, The Disasters of War series, The Massacre, and the hacked and bloody butcher's still life, "Head and Quarters":


Red Aries #35: Grayson Perry

Grayson Perry (born 24 March 1960), provocative English artist /perfomer, here in male costume -- note: the Aries sign is a phallus!


Red bow!

Red shoes! (c.f. Aries in Red #21: Hans Christian Andersen)



Red Aries #34: Brenda Starr

Brenda Starr, flaming red-head reporter, created by cartoonist Dale Messick, born April 11, 1906.


Red Aries #33: Cynthia Nixon

Taking a page from Lady Gaga's (#32) playbook, Cynthia Nixon (April 9, 1966) in a red leather dress!


Lunar menstrual synchronization

This paper: Knight, Chris; Camilla Power & Ian Watts (1995). "The Human Symbolic Revolution: A Darwinian Account" (PDF). Cambridge Archaeological Journal 5 (1): 75–114. presents this interesting diagram:

to demonstrate how the synchronization of the human menstrual cycle with the lunar cycle led to the development of symbolization and civilization. In fine scientific fashion, the theory led to an hypothesis and a prediction: something arcane about the use of red ochre in imitation of menstrual blood, and where it would be found at Paleolithic sites. The prediction came true, like a wish in a fairy tale, hence the entire anecdote has been printed in the Cambridge Archeological Journal and is a respected scientific concept, and a plausible element in a theory of the relationship between astronomology and early hominid development.

The authors consider themselves "radical archeologists".  They were arrested in England last April for trying to upstage the Royal Wedding with a public orgy.


Some Gemini poets and Joseph Brodsky's Urania.

" I believe in the fable that the Fates fell in love with Hermes. "  Emerson

" Mediator. Mediation. There is nothing else; there is no Immediate known to us. "    Emerson

" A good symbol is the best argument. . .  The value of a trope is that the hearer is one; and indeed Nature itself is a vast trope, and all particular natures are trope ... All thinking is analogizing, and 'tis the use of life to learn metonymy. "    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  "O please don't start in on the Zodiac."  Joseph Brodsky, Gorbunov and Gorchakov

         The Twins, the third sign of the zodiac, first one of the element Air, associated with the Messenger Deity Mercury/Hermes, houses the Sun at the births of many writers. It is the first sign that has language at its disposal.

         The symbol of the Twins denotes any and all copula, their functions and manifestations,  from the intimate to-and-fro of personal interaction, to any generalized form of mediation, transition, re-presentation, specularity, iteration, duplication or multiplication, mimesis or similarity. Hieroglyph, stylus and pen, typeface, word, the mirror and the mirror neuron, metaphor, language, dialogue, translation, figuration, photography, all spring from the Twin's mutual address. Gemini, the third sign, looks back and sees only two things, the majestic parental binary of Aries and Taurus, and channels all its creativity through the revelation of AND.

         Dante Alighieri  in Paradise honored the "glorious Twins" thus:

                                          . . . .  o stars

                           impregnate with great strength,

                  to whom I owe whatever genius

                  I possess, with you the sun

                           arose and set when first

breathed sweet air of Tuscany.

          Each of the three books of the Divine Comedy ends with the word "stelle." Dante taxes us to experience pre-Copernican astronomy and astrology not yet fully separated.  In Dante's comprehensive vision anything believed of the heavens, mythological or geometrical, signifies spiritually.

          Ralph Waldo Emerson, a translator of Dante, reaches for the stars continually:

         "Astrology interested us, for it tied man to the system. Instead of an isolated beggar, the farthest star felt him, and he felt the star. However rash and however falsified by pretenders and traders in it, the hint was true and divine, the soul's avowal of its large relations, and, that climate, century,  remote natures, as well as near, are part of its biography."                                                                (The Conduct of Life: Beauty)

         "Every astronomical fact interested him," Emerson's nephew recalled, but his perspective was entirely symbolic. "I think," he wrote, " I could have helped the monks to belabor Galileo for saying the everlasting earth moved." According to a friend: "The majesty of planets and suns and systems, in their ordered courses, especially appealed to Emerson from youth. . . .  In the years between 1835 and 1845 his journals, and the scattered fragments of "The Poet" show how constantly he sought "the sweet influence of the Pleiades" and "Arcturus and his sons."

                                    Divine inviters, I accept

                           The courtesy ye have shown and kept

                           From ancient ages for the bard.

                           .     . .     . .     . .     . .     . .     .

                           I watch your course,

                           Who never break your lawful dance

                           By error or intemperance.

                           O birds of ether without wings!

                           O heavenly ships without a sail!

                           O fire of fire! O best of things!

                           O mariners who never fail!

                           Sail swiftly through your amber vault,

                           An animated law, a presence to exalt.

 "I am part of the solar system. Let the brain alone, and it will keep time with that, as the shell with the sea-tide." Emerson  looks to the stars with a philosophical yearning and a poetical mood and a downright belief in sympathetic influence that have little to do with astronomy. 

     America's first popuylar astrologer, William Chaney, adopted Emerson's "Hitch your wagon to a star" as his motto.

 W. B. Yeats casts horoscopes obsessively. His Geminian Sun murmurs "Mirror on mirror mirrored is all the show." He was enamored by the idea of a generative principle which he called the "antithetical self", as unreachable as the image in the mirror. (cf. A Vision)

                Gay Gemini poet Walt Whitman reaches out to "Poets to come!" Gay Gemini poets reply in echo: Garcia Lorca (Ode to Walt Whitman), Allen Ginsberg ("What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman . . ") and Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa (Salutacion a Walt Whitman), who left trunkloads of unpublished astrological papers, pleads (in English):

          With the higher trifling let us world our wit

         Conscious that, if we do it, that was the lot

                  The regular stars bound us to, when they stood

                  Godfathers to our birth and to our blood.


          Somehow Gemini Joyce Carol Oates added a name, or two, to the list of Pessoa's hundred-odd heteronyms. In a Yeatsian trance, a "real or imagined 'possession'", she "translated" fully 22 stories (a satisfying Gemini number) by (yet another) imaginary Portuguese author, Fernandes de Briao, collected in the volume "A Poisoned Kiss". In explanation Oates cryptically invokes Yeatsian antitheses.   "Everything about her had two sides to it," Oates wrote in her most famous story, and in her natus the Gemini itself is one side balanced against another, a powerful Persephone archetype). Her novel based on the life and death of Marilyn Monroe, also a Gemini, was written under the working title Gemini, then renamed Blonde; Oates' antithetical autobiography in a way.  

      Allen Ginsberg relished his birthstars, as here:

          This universe a thing of dream

                  substance naught & Keystone void

vibrations of symmetry  Yes   No

                  . . . . 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 ---

            .          .          .          .          .          .

          . . .  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

                  .          .          .          .          .                                                     

          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

         As promised by its title, Joseph Brodsky's "To Urania: Collected Poems 1965-1985" inclines to astrology. The title poem responds to the 1960 "Homage to Clio" of Brodsky's mentor, W. H. Auden (n. b. not a Gemini). Late Auden is permeated with this discouraging shibboleth: 'poetry makes nothing happen'. In "Homage to Clio" Auden submits to the realpolitic  of history (whose Muse is Clio), to rationalization and disenchantment.  He rejects Zodiacal illusions for good: "We may dream as we wish / Of phallic pillar or navel stone // With twelve nymphs twirling about it, but pictures / Are no help".

         In Brodsky's youthfully Geminian, optimistic counterview the very ubiquity of limitation and division in the sub-lunary world privileges Urania's  transcendental exploration over Clio's scrolled archive. Gemini is ever the gadfly to the realist. Urania's profounder Self ("the/body's absence") is a spiritual giant who strides the upper atmospheres like Dante ascending (or a passenger in an airplane), observing Earth's majestic shifts from above.

To Urania

          Everything has its limit, including sorrow.

A windowpane stalls a stare. Nor does a grill abandon

a leaf. One may rattle the keys, gurgle down a swallow.

Loneliness cubes a man at random.

A camel sniffs at the rail with a resentful nostril;

a perspective cuts emptiness deep and even.

And what is space anyway if not the

body's absence at every given

point? That's why Urania's older than sister Clio!

In daylight or with the soot-rich lantern,

you see the globe's pate free of any bio,

you see she hides nothing, unlike the latter.

There they are, blueberry-laden forests,

rivers where the folk with bare hands catch sturgeon

or the towns in whose soggy phone books

you are starring no longer; farther eastward surge on

brown mountain ranges; wild mares carousing

in tall sedge; the cheekbones get yellower

as they turn numerous. And still farther east, steam

dreadnoughts or cruisers,

and the expanse grows blue like lace underwear.


         So Brodsky rejects Auden's dispiriting obeisance to necessity. Having known prison he is not one to chip away at the possible meanings of freedom, but will keep faith even if narrowed to a twinkling point.

         Auden doesn't think Clio reads his poems, or should, while Urania leans over Brodsky's shoulder as he writes. She pops up often, indirectly in the collection's first poem, May 24, 1980, which is the poet's fortieth birthday -- and two days before Pushkin's birthdate. (Urania implicitly attends all births.) The brotherhood of Brodsky and Pushkin is common critical currency. They are the Castor and Pollux of Russian literature, as the two Geminis, Emerson and Whitman, are of American, and May 24, 1980 is a compendium of Pushkin/Brodsky resemblances, in tone, meter, rhyme scheme and incident. The Dantesque enters as well: "From the height of a glacier I beheld half a world, the earthly / width."

          In Lithuanian Nocturne Brodsky plunges into the most obvious Gemini terrain. In a teleported visitation, with allusion to Girenas and Darius, a legendary pair of doomed Lithuanian airmen, Brodsky address fellow poet his distant friend Thomas Venclova on the subject of their shared literariness: "Our inkpot alliance! It's splurge!/ . .  Our imprints!" Then a full outcry of the Twin's need to pair:

  Thomas, we are alike;

We are, frankly, a double:

. . . We're a mutual threat,

Castor looming through Pollux,

We're a stalemate, no-score,

Draw, . .

Echoes tracing in vain the original cry . . .

In Stanza XV Urania appears in her glory (and to the disadvantage of Clio). Brodsky's thoughts of Venclova, transcending political boundaries, unite in the upper atmosphere with Venclova's thoughts of Brodsky to become 

  A specter . . .

simply note in this faint apparition a kin

or an aspect of air--like these words, with their fear of the morning,         

Scattered thinly at midnight by some slurring voice --

. . . . but in which

ever-naked Urania is to rejoice!

In Stanza XVII, Brodsky addresses Urania  again: "Muse of dots lost in space! Muse of things one makes out / Through a telescope only!") and sings to her  a "little aria," actually four dithyrambic stanzas, on the subject of Air, Breath and Speech, which resounds with the afflatus, pneuma or prana of the element Air at the roots of indo-European astrological imagery.

  In the kingdom of air!

In its equality of

gulps of oxygen to our syllables! . . .

. . . our O's

shape the vault of the palate,

where a star gets its shine from the vat

of the throat! That's how the universe


          Two memorable times in his youth, Brodsky experienced "astronomical illuminations" while gazing at the stars, and he regretted (to an interviewer in 1988) that they had never recurred. In The Fifth Anniversary, a dejection ode, the poet tries to talk himself out of silly beliefs. It opens:

                   A falling star, or worse, a planet (true or bogus)

                  Might thrill your idle eye with its quick hocus-pocus.

                  . . .  there are no enigmas, signs in heavens."

Yet Gemini is compelled optimistically to his Penmanship: "Scratch on, my clawlike pen, my pilgrim staff, my salvage!"

Again, in one of his Christmas poems he is disillusioned with the stars: "well after hours, blinking . . . and a thoughtful gaze can be rested on none of these." 

         Astrology is confrontational in Gorbunov and Gorchakov, Brodsky's important novel-in-verse, a poetic genre which few but Geminis attempt. (I name Pushkin, of course, coupleted Pope ("Why did I write? What sin unknown / Dip't me in ink, my parents or my own?"), Thomas Moore, more recently Vikram Seth, Anne Carson.) The most extended of Brodsky's several conversation poems, it contains the astonishing Canto V of "He said"s (A Song in the Third Person), an x-ray of dialogue. The subject of Canto X is the primacy of language:

                           "And so it's not the sea that surges in-

                           to shore, but words are overlapping words."

                           "And words are sort of holy relics." "Yes."

The two protagonists are political prisoners in a mental ward. Gorchakov is Brodsky, an intellectual, Gorbunov, his antithetical self, a peasant. Gorbunov consults the stars, Gorchakov mocks them. Gorbunov describes himself in astrological terms, then asks

                                             "And you, What is

                           your sign?" "Well, I belong to Gemini.

                           Born under Gemini, in May."  "I guess

                           that makes you warm."  "I guess." . . .

  Our normally garrulous and provocative Gorchakov is suddenly laconic, unresponsive. His contempt for astrology is belied by his all-too obvious Geminian qualities. He knows Gemini fits him to a T, a final blow, it  stops his words. Gorbunov argues with Uranian metaphor (she always represented with a compass):


                           forgetting that, although the radius

                           is scorned in life, the compass will endure

                           forever, Gorchakov."

          The usual allowances for problems of translation aside, Brodsky still makes good points, often with fabulous, if slightly accented language.  Nothing perishes faster in translation than the sheen of an intricate rhyme scheme, except perhaps delicate conversational gradations of Slavic irony and mood. The notorious "untranslatability" of Brodsky (echoing that of Pushkin) is a fitting part of his Geminian literariness, and added to his labors and his substance as a personage.  He was not only his own translator, but editor and collaborator with a stable of colleagues. Brodsky is a hero of border-crossing, so charmingly grateful for the freedom offered by the West that we English reader generously excuse the inevitable awkwardness. We lean forward to understand -- what communicator could ask for more? 

                           "Indeed, a star that climbs above the field

                           seeks out a brighter interlocutor."

To unite the beginning and the end of this essay, and justify my eccentric practices, I submit quotes from Brodsky and Emerson:

"The surest defense against evil is extreme individualism, originality of thinking, whimsicality, even — if you will — eccentricity."   JB

"I would write on the lintels of the doorpost, Whim. I hope it is somewhat better than whim at last, but we cannot spend the day in explanation."  RWE

Addendum: Other poets born under Gemini: Thomas Moore, Mark van Doren, Harry Crosby, Josephine Miles, Gwendolyn Brooks, Nikki Giovanni, John Yau, Lucie Brock-Broido, Paul Muldoon, David Lehman, Anne Carson


                                                               --- Mark Shulgasser


















LEE HOIBY 1926 - 2011


 New York Times obituary   


"Where the Music Comes From" words & music by LH

"Evening"  from 'Evening without Angels' by Wallace Stevens

"Jabberwocky" by Lewis Carroll











Aquarian poet Elizabeth Bishop

            Born on February 8, 1911, a hundred years ago last week, Elizabeth Bishop wrote about her sudden, sickening childhood identifications with the sky-permeating female scream, and the dizzying awareness of her unavoidable fate: being human, "one of them," accompanied by "the sensation of falling off / the round, turning world / into cold, blue-black space." Of this never forgotten inward trauma, her cosmic fall into identity and time, she solemnly notes the date in these lines from her poem "In the Waiting Room":  "I said to myself: three days / and you'll be seven years old. . . ./ And it was still the fifth of February, 1918."             

          The poet's first conscious creative act, then, was to establish the birthdate as synecdoche of origin, identity and fate. This fetishistic attitude toward the birthdate is in a sense universal and unavoidable, and a source of both the attraction and the antipathy to astrology.

          Thirty years later Bishop commemorated her orphan's birthday with a stoical dejection ode, pivoting hopefully only on the very last word.

          Some readers take Bishop’s prized, meticulous objectivity for the obverse of confessionalism, a betraying concealment of the authorial self in shambles. Her fingerprints: geographical dislocation, abrupt changes of scale and perspective, eccentrically perched vision and spiraling irony, any-and-all adduced to an adrift identity.

          I did a quick search for qualifiers to the term "Self" in some recent books about Elizabeth Bishop, and came across "dismantled,"  "disunified,"  "shipwrecked,"  "fluid and unfixed,"  "unstable,"  "only arbitrarily bounded,"  "denied,"  "questioned,"  "lost,"  "obfuscated," "decentered,"  "abnegated," and  "fractured".

           The poet's famous attentive objectivity originates in self-effacement. The motives for effacement are well-known: female, homosexual, alcoholic, chronically ill, the American gothic childhood. Fortunately, directly opposite confident, sun-ruled Leo, Aquarius deplores egotism. Not so much a self as a constellation of problems, Bishop dedicated herself at whatever cost to a true poet's life of "no regular hours, so many temptations," reading, writing (mostly letters), affections, drinking, and travel.

          Bishop's cold-blooded menagerie, her semi-alive lichen and moss, her wraith-like atmospherics, measure alienation from a solid core of solar identity. With Aquarian Hugo Hofmannsthal she would agree "We are no more than dove-cotes." Her multi-hued mineral grains, the iridescences, her attention to every color playing no favorites, and the triple rainbow epiphany which is central to her reputation, are shining peripheries of hope, the refraction of unendurable singularity.

                   *                 *                 *

        Aquarius, centrifugal of the autocratic heart, circulates democratically, directs the oxygenation of the blood, and identifies with all aspects of the atmospheric cycle  Thus Bishop's asthma , which chronically threatened her life, but stimulated her highest identification. Her work is crafted in a death struggle and is as necessary as cortisone. She breathes easiest when uncrowded before the detailed panorama. Continents, rivers, waterfalls, harbors, mists, moonlight, cities are seen from the slopes.

--- Mark Shulgasser, The Blue Zenith


From Best American Poetry blog.

See Astrological Profiles there for my pieces on Sagittarian and Capricorn poets as well.


Goodbye Sagittarius

Isn’t it time that, loving, we freed ourselves from the beloved, and trembling, endured as the arrow endures the bow, so as to be, in its flight, something more than itself?  For staying is nowhere.  Rainer Maria Rilke, b. Dec 4, 1875

Serbian performance artist Marina Abramovic and her partner Ulay were both born on November 30, three years apart. This coincidence played an acknowledged role in their collaborations. The audio in the performance piece “Rest-Energy” is their amplified heart-beat and respiration. Reminds me of a poem by Sagittarius James Tate, “A Sunday Drive”:

“What am I supposed to do?” I said. “I think you’d

have to put an arrow through me,” she replied.

“I don’t have an arrow,” I said, “and besides I

could never do that. I love you!” "I think the

flying disease is for life,” she said, gliding

over me. Then she was gone in a blur of light.


More on Sagittarian poet James Tate here.



Aquarians question Identity

Broken Obelisk, Barnett Newman (Jan 29, 1912)
de nobis ipsis silemus
(Of ourselves we are silent.) Francis Bacon 22 Jan 1561

"Subjective, objective -- what's the difference? William Burroughs February 5, 1914

“WHAT AM I? NOTHING.” Lord Byron 22 January 1788

"Who in the world am I?" asked Alice. "Ah! That's the great Puzzle."
Lewis Carroll 27 January 1832

Thus the famous theory of the *I* is essentially without a scientific object, since it is destined to represent a purely fictitious state.

Individualism is the disease of the Western World. Auguste Comte 19 January 1798

Behold a universe so immense that I am lost in it. I no longer know where I am. I am just nothing at all. Bernard de Fontenelle 11 February 1657

None of us possesses his own self: it is wafted at us from without, escapes us for long periods and returns to us in a breath. We are no more than dove-cotes. And self indeed! The word is very little more than a metaphor. 

 Hugo von Hofmannsthal February 1, 1874

 The first-person singular is my favorite figure of speech.

Charles Lamb   February 10, 1775

"I" is the true shibboleth of humanity. Stendhal January 23, 1783

Is me her was you dreamed before?
Was then she him you us since knew?
Am all them and same now we?

Whence it is a sloperish matter, given the wet and low visibility (since in this scherzerade of one's thousand one nightinesses the sword of certainty which would indentifide the body never falls) to indentifine the individuone.                           James Joyce 2 February 1882

Ego! It is the great word of the twentieth century. . . Everything we
have done in this century, from monumental feats to nightmare of human
destruction, has been a function of that extraordinary state of the
psyche which gives us authority to declare we are sure of ourselves when
we are not. Norman Mailer January 31, 1923

It was when I read the first of the books I found in my house that I saw
the word "I." And when I understood this word, the book fell from my
hands, and I wept, I who had never known tears. I wept in deliverance
and in pity for all mankind. Ayn Rand February 2 1905 from her novel Anthem, which portrays a dystopian future where the first person singular has been abolished)

WE, a 1924 novel by the soviet writer Evgeny Zamyatin February 20, 1884, about a dystopian future where the first person singular has been abolished)

WE, the autobiography of Charles Lindbergh February 4, 1902

I, etcetera. a book of short stories by Susan Sontag January 29, 1933

And identity is funny being yourself is funny as you are never yourself to yourself except as you remember yourself and then of course you do not believe yourself. The minute you or anyone else knows what you are you are not it. You are what you or anybody else knows that you are and as everything in living is made up of finding out what you are it is extraordinarily difficult really not to know what you are and yet to be that thing.

I am me because my little dog knows me. Gertrude Stein February 3, 1874

She would make him stand with her in front of the looking glass and ask him why he barked and trembled. Was not the little brown dog opposite himself? But what is “oneself”? Is it the thing people see? Or is it the thing one is? So Flush pondered that question, too . . . Virginia Woolf (25 January 1882): Flush, a Dog

Before her death Virginia Woolf planned a next novel to be called

"In revising his youthful poems, Georg Trakl (3 February 1887) substitutes everywhere for the
lyrical and personal "I" metaphoric disguises such as "the stranger," "a thing putrified," "a dead thing," "the murderer." .. . . the poet has abstracted everything unesssential, including the personal pronoun "I"
from his existence . ."

The self is only the shadow which sin and error cast by stopping the light of God—and I take this shadow for a being. Simone Weil 3 February 1909



Lady Gaga Red Aries #32

Aries Lady Gaga looks great in red.  Wearing blood, for instance, is one of her fashion statements, and she has just associated herself with a headphone-accessory named (Red). The most interesting thing about her chart is the action of transformative Pluto as the cutting, or high focus, planet of her bowl configuration,conjunct the Moon in Scorpio, bolstered by a strong trine to Jupiter in Pisces (exalted).  Mars is in 0 Capricorn (also exalted).   She's an extreme Plutonian, obsessively personating chthonic goddess figures, flagrantly displaying the exalted menses of a hellish dominatrix, with a beat and a sense of humor -- her rapid success marks something, it's hard to tell what -- related perhaps to the Large Hadron Collider's start-up.










Frankenstein @ Scorpio Sagittarius Cusp

Boris Karloff: wouldn’t we like him to be a Scorpio? Actually he barely escaped it, born at 10:30 am (see his chart at astrotheme), when the Sun, whose disc takes a whole day to pass from one degree to the next, was about 80% over the cusp into degree zero of Sagittarius. But Sag is open and good-humored, not at all gothic, intense, secretive, moody, the typical Halloween Scorpio cliche, so what gives? . . . . . Looking at Karloff’s chart , we see nothing else in Sag to reinforce that almost home-free-all Sun, but a vivid close conjunction of Jupiter/Mercury in Scorpio, as if harpooning the escapee back onto the horror ship; and another close conjunction nearby: Venus with electrical Uranus, the formative Frankenstein zap. It’s as if the lonely, uncompleted, botched Sagittarian self, a tall, loping athlete, staggers out of the other side of death, enlivened by a jolt of eelish Scorpio bio-electricity. The life-creating intimacy of Scorpio sex is madly perverted into an abortive reverse electrocution, harnessing the atomic power of the cusp, a gap in the solar plasma. Appreciate the mad cosmic grandeur of Dr. Frankenstein's experiment; in Karloff's chart he had the perfect subject. Unfortunately he didn't employ an astrologer to calculate the correct moment. . . . . . The gentle monster’s pathos derives from the fact that the mistimed Scorpio/Uranus life-shock infused the benign personal energies of Mercury, Venus and Jupiter. The five planets clustered around Karloff’s astronomical zenith are a little rebus of the Frankenstein monster character. A botched resurrection, he rejects Scorpionic blood, fangs and decay, he seeks Sag freedom and life. As a real person Karloff (actually William Henry Pratt)  projected his sunsign Sag, not Scorpio; he had a “well-known aversion to the word horror” which he associated with the repulsive. His personal self-awareness had nothing to do with the psychological miasms of the horror movie genre. Rather than horror he preferred the word terror which he thought of as a pleasurable thrill, “good clean fun", practical joking. . . . (I wish critics of astrology could advance from Scorpionic suspicion to Sagittarian adventurousness and see astrological coincidences as fun and thrills, rather than deception and evil.)  The split between Scorpio and Sag in Karloff’s identity is echoed in the common misapplication of Dr. Frankenstein’s name to the nameless monster. Off the set he was a typically Sagittarian sportsman (passionate about cricket, soccer and rugby) and animal lover (he bred Bedlington terriers and Scotties, kept a menagerie of farm animals) and he loved entertaining children.


Aries Botero, Valentino and Red

Fernando Botero, (b. April 19, 1932): Femme habillee par Valentino. Aries painter Botero is not afeard of red, for sure, tho I wouldn't say it plays a special role in his work. But he was attracted by fashion designer Valentino's great romance with the color. Valentino is a Taurus, but the Sun is his sole Taurus planet, while his chart's outstanding element is a powerful triple conjunction in Aries of Mars, Mercury and Uranus (all trine Jupiter), which he shares with Botero, who was born only three weeks before him.

see more Aries in Red here.


Aquarius and the Rainbow

Stellar spectra

Color associations to the signs and  planets are not rigidly assigned, and are based on subjective psychological affinities. Some are no-brainers, like red being associated with the planet Mars and the sign Aries (which is “ruled” by Mars)  -- the war god evokes blood, anger (seeing red), the red planet, even the iron (oxide) of weaponry, which is also the source of blood’s color. Then the Moon and its associated sign, Cancer the Crab, suggests silver or white, also the moonlike pearl and nacre, esthetic essence of the crustacean.

Some signs have less definite color associations, but sun-ruled Leo, the Lion, one of the 3 PRISM I, Gerhard Richterfiresigns, is obviously related to gold, yellow, orange, and  to sunlight itself, if that can be called a color. Aquarius is the sign directly opposite Leo in the zodiac and the two signs are poles of a larger  system. Hence, as Leo is sunlight, Aquarius is the spectrum of frequencies of which sunlight is composed, i. e. the rainbow. As Leo speaks of the Sun complacently imagining itselfPIXEL, Gerhard Richter, b. Feb. 9, 1932 the center of its universe, Aquarius reminds that each of the infinite stars is itself a sun. (And each star has its unique spectral analysis, or rainbow variant.)

This metaphor generates a whole rainbow of antinomies. Leo is the autocrat, Aquarius the anti-authoritarian rebel, democrat or collectivist; Leo the individual, Aquarius the species; Leo the Self, Aquarius the group; Leo egoistic subjectivity, Aquarius detached, scientific objectivity. Leo is the heart/sun/nucleus, Aquarius the circulatory system/orbiting planets/electronic current. Aquarius is a political sign, the rainbow a joyous symbol of the coalition of minorities, yet Aquarius can also be conservative in characteristic ways,  embracing a libertarianism in revolt against an oppressive consensus. Norman Rockwell, 2/3/94; Jackson Pollock, 1/28/12 
Altho an air sign, Aquarius, in ruling circulation, is associated with rivers and streams (whence the flowing symbol of the waterbearer), and more abstractly, with the cycle of ocean, vapors, winds, clouds, rain, river, ocean.  The rainbow (an unpredictable, uncanny event in that cycle) is associated with promise and hope, and Aquarius is associated with futurity: the first 10 signs cover the known past and present, Aquarius, the 11th, the airy, insubstantial future, or a cyclical (rather than linear) concept of time, an Eternal Now, the epiphanic Instant, the electrical zap, the accident, the gratuitous, the lightning strike, the thunderclap. With respect to the future, both utopia (for instance the neotribalism of “Age of Aquarius” hippiedom) and super-rational distopia are offered. Aquarius is thus particularly associated with both the threat and promise of ever-increasing scientific objectivity, the very concept a transcendent abstraction called Knowledge, Truth or Mind.


          " . . . R is Rubretta and A is Arancia, Y is for Yilla and N for greeneriN. B is Boyblue with odalisque O while W waters the fleurettes of novembrance. . . . Winnie, Olive and Beatrice, Nelly and Ida, Amy and Rue. Here they come, all the gay pack . . ."                    The 7 Rainbow Girls, a cavorting daisy-chain of colored                                                           scarves and flowers, in Finnegans Wake (Ch. 9)                                                                     by James Joyce (b. 2 Feb. 1882)


Conglomeration of Gemini nonsense. (11)

Something a little silly perhaps, arbitrary and unchronological, entirely consequent on the vagaries of TurnerClassicMovies programming. This goes back to Gemini, the Hands, and the Taurus cusp. Remember wonderful Robert Montgomery? Born exactly on the cusp of Taurus and Gemini (Sun was at 29d30’ Taurus at noon on his time-unknown birthday), this is arguably his best film. On the poster his dense, puzzled face contemplates his murderous digits, detached, vaguely disturbed,  with a glimmer of dawning understanding and horror. What a perfect summary of the relationship of safe, premental Taurean fixity  to the adjacent restlessness and dangerous manipulations of Gemini. As Montgomery’s Mars is conjunct the Sun at 2 Gemini, the fingers particularly  signify violence, rather than, say, intelligence, or creativity. Interestingly, co-star Rosalind Russell is also a Gemini, and her hand is also expressively emphasized in the poster art. Russell ends the film with a line that is bizarre, but aptly Geminian: “You not only saved my life, you saved my reason!”

The great, and now rather unfashionable, novelist Thomas Mann, an exemplary Gemini, noted in his diary on April 14, 1937: ". . . Night Must Fall, an excellent film with Robert Montgomery, who represents a good psychological type and has distinctly Joseph-like moments. Quite interested." Since Joseph was Mann's deeply felt alter-ego, with whom he shared his own horoscopic placements in his massive novel, Joseph and His Brothers, this response to Montgomery's character, a silver-tongued, criminal charmer, is clearly a bit of astrological self-recognition.Thomas Mann and friends

Incidentally, the third co-star of this film, Dame May Whitty, was also a Gemini, and what a Geminian name. While I'm drivelling on, to make another mad point, the late great Beatrice Lillie (aka Lady Peel) was a Gemini (and in talking of Gemini, do enjoy finding double letters in the name) and the Gemini poet Theodore Roethke (b. May 25, 1908) was once compelled to pen these immortal lines:

Bees and lilies there were,

Bees and lilies there were, 

Either to other,--

Which would you rather?

Bees and lilies were there.



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."