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Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Desmond Tutu!

First, I think I had better say that Bernard Eccles was fabulous at the Lodge on Monday Night. He demonstrated how midpoints are often activated in charts when major events take place. Transits and progressions alone are often not specific enough to explain what is going on. As an example, Bernard used Edward VIII and George IV's chart on the evening of the abdication to explain the power of the outer planet midpoints. Ebertin's COSI can then be used to delineate their meaning.

In other news, I got to meet Desmond Tutu at Canterbury Cathedral! I was there with my school for a celebration service. All the teachers had to wear robes from the university where we last received our degrees--the pupils were knocked out, lol! My last degree was the MA in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology from Bath Spa University. Ha!! So here's me, an astrologer, shaking hands with Desmond Tutu, who had given the sermon:

Without a doubt, this had to be the best handshake I've ever had! Desmond (yeah, we're on a first name basis with each other) gave a beautiful sermon. Besides being a wonderful storyteller, he was incredibly warm and funny. He recounted a story about a small boy who was watching balloons floating in the sky. The balloons were all colours: green, blue, red, purple, yellow. The boy watched them and wondered at their colours, thinking the colours were what was making the balloons defy gravity and float high and higher. Desmond said: "The boy soon realised it wasn't the colours that was making them float, it was what was inside of them."

It was a beautiful day and I'll never forget Desmond Tutu's warmth, optimism and humour. Thank you for the wonderful blessing.

In honour of Desmond Tutu, I will refrain from my usual debauched humour and just say that it was an honour to be in the presence of such human beauty, dignity and integrity.

Thank you Desmond for all your hard work and dedication to make the world a better place! I've never been so inspired!

(Alex Trenoweth with Desmond Tutu)

Monday, 17 November 2008

Another Weekend, Another Conference

"It's Saturday, I must have to be somewhere!" was my first thought of the weekend. Never mind that I spend my entire week teaching and my evenings writing (50,000 words since September--get that, Campion?). If it's a weekend, there's gotta be a seminar or a conference. So I went to the Warburg institute--okay, make that I tried to find the Warberg Insititute. I have the very embarrassing problem of getting bloody lost every time I go someplace new. Anyway, just as I was about to give up, I ran smack into Geoffrey Cornelius who kindly guided me to where I was supposed to go. And was I ever glad I didn't miss it. Not only was it a day of fabulous lectures, not only did I get to have lunch with the gorgeous Kim Farnell, the divine Garry Phillipson and the sublime Allie Bird, I had a profound insight. And here it is: what a bunch of lucky people we astrologers are. While everyone else is watching football or playing in the park or going to the cinema or hanging out in the pub, here we are learning from each other. I was fascinated when our American guests were frantically scribbling references that we lucky British astrologers had known about for years. We are sooooo lucky to have local astrology groups and enough journals and conferences to keep ourselves busy every weekend for the rest of our lives. I almost feel sorry for anyone who is not only a non-astrologer but also for those astrologers who don't live in Britain.
For example, I sat right behind Rob Hand. Smile Rob, I said and he obliged (by the way Rob was one of my FAS tutors for the Mundane section of the diploma). Of getting his PhD in his 60s, Rob said: "Now I got to live long enough to justify it!" Classic! Personally, I've always thought that Rob looks like Burl Ives or Santa Clause.


Next I witnessed Nick Campion and Rob having "a moment" as I made my way out the door. I couldn't quite ear wig enough to hear everything but they looked like they're up to something!


To celebrate being lucky, here's a little counterbalance, a Saturn in the 9th house joke: A man had a hobby of hitting lawyers with his car every time one happened to cross his path. The man sees a priest hitchhiking on the side of the road, so he picks him up and says: "Where to father?"
The priest replies, "The church, of course." On the way, the man sees a lawyer and swerves to hit him, he then remembers he has a priest in the car and tries to miss the lawyer but he still hears a thud.
The man says to the priest: "I'm sorry Father, I honestly tried to miss that lawyer."
The priest says "It's ok, I got him with the door."

Friday, 14 November 2008

Just wind me up. . .

At the Sophia Centre graduation seminar, I met the delightful Crystal Addy. I didn't realise she was John Addy's grand-daughter until I met up with her again at the AA conference. Anyway, here we are, one our way home from the conference.
I reckon being around such inherited brilliance had an effect on me as I'm now doing some astrological work for my school, which, as the school has a Christian ethos, is a rather interesting experience (I'm analysing the birth charts of pupils who are in danger of permanent exclusion to see if there is anything that can be done to help them). It's not that the powers-that-be don't believe or aren't interested in what I have to say, it's more like they're worried about what The-Powers-That-Be at the Head Office are going to say. So here's an edited version of my response:
"I'm glad you've asked about Christianity and astrology. Let’s start by exploring who the Wise Men were and just why Jesus Christ was born at the Winter Solstice and resurrected at the Spring Equinox. We’ll explore how Jesus healed the sick, talked to the dead (and even raised them), spoke to spirits, cast out demons and used magic rituals in his “miracles.” Next we’ll look at how and why a priest named Lucifer was immortalised by St Jerome. Perhaps we could have a discursive argument about the differences between fact and fiction and the relative merits of realising the Bible was not written by God with a big silver pen. We won’t speculate on how much Pagan art was defaced with Christian symbols or how many innocent people were burned at the stake by Christians (or continue to be persecuted). We’ll move smartly onto Thomas Aquinas and how he quite ingeniously merged Aristotlianism with astronomy/astrology and Christianity. Then we’ll take a detour through to Cosimo deMedici’s prodigy Ficino and his translations of Platonic texts which helped bring about a renewed interest in astrology and magic and therefore, the Renaissance. We’ll let ourselves embark on a tangent and study Pico’s famous attack on astrology and expound on how he may have been stitched up by a mad priest called Savaronola. Backtracking slightly, we’ll investigate the works of Paracelsus, Albertus Magnus and Cornelius Agrippa whose works were based on astrology and formed the basis of modern medicine. Let us mention Shakespeare and his thoughts on astrology as evidenced by his work. If someone would still like to say that what happens "up there" doesn’t affect us "down here," then I’d be happy to do a demonstration on how the tides and seasons work, and if that isn't enough, take you somewhere where we can wonder at the perfection of a lunar or, for that matter, a solar eclipse. If anyone wants to say that not everyone fits into the twelve neat categories found in newspapers then I’d be happy to agree with them and point out I have never and will never do a star sign column because I believe that that is the equivalent of a priest selling fake holy water. You want to make fun of what I believe? That smacks of bigotry—which has its basis in pure ignorance. I can put forward a very convincing argument that astrology is actually a religion and to ridicule me or my work is not only bigoted but amounts to nothing short of religious persecution."
Phew. . .I had to be fanned. And no one argued with me, hehe, but I'm ready if they want to!
Make a joke out of that? I hear you ask. Here's a Venus in Virgo, trine Moon in Taurus trine Sun in Capricorn (get it?) joke:
You know what would have happened if it had been three wise WOMEN instead of men, don’t you? They would have asked for directions, arrived on time, helped deliver the baby, cleaned the stable, made a casserole, and brought disposable diapers as gifts!

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Coronation Street

Last night I went to see Claire Chandler's last presentation as President of the Astrological Lodge of London. Her talk was entitled "Saturn and Uranus: Ripping the Sky". I gotta say, at the start of her talk, we were such a Uranian audience, interrupting her (and me getting quite political at one point--I blame my ancestors!). There was such emotion in the air. But we settled down eventually, becoming far more Saturnine. It was just like we would expect of Uranium (Uranus' metal) calming down to lead (Saturn's metal). Claire ended her talk by showing us the heavy transits she has coming up and well, I think us Uranus/Pluto babies of the mid sixties are in for a rocky road. And so Claire bowed out as president of the Astrological Lodge of London.
Well, the interregnum lasted about half an hour!!

After a tense 20 minutes of whipping through the agenda, we came to the voting. I'm so pleased to announce my buddy Kim Farnell (shown below along with Angela Voss, Chris Brennan and Ben Dykes after the History seminar) is the new president of the Astrological Lodge of London! I'm even happier to say I will be working on the committee with her and will hopefully carry on with all the good work Claire has done these past few years. I shall miss Claire's leadership but so look foward to working with Kim and everyone else on the committee. I'm wishing, as I'm sure everyoneat the Lodge is wishing, Claire a happy and productive "retirement." BTW, I came up with a quote for Uranus opposite Saturn: "I'm all for democracy as long as I'm on the winning side."

Also standing down as Vice (teehee) President was the delectable Andrew Morton. I've known Andrew for quite a few years and he has never failed to bring out the wryness in me (he being the King of Wry). Seriously, I didn't know I had a wry bone in my body. In fact, I'm not aware of too many bones in my body--time to get to the gym! Andrew and I met at an FAS class. If memory serves, it was the consultancy module and we did each other's charts. We have great synastry together and I can't help but feel it's a shame we don't see more of each other (hint hint Andrew). Anyway, Andrew was the first person to re-locate my chart (I was born in the US but now live in London). Relocation gives me Leo rising and shoves Saturn back into the eighth. So I think we can attribute my sophisticated sense of humour to this. I will miss Andrew too but again, I look forward to working closely with Simon Posner, a man of great intellect and humour, as our new Vice President. Besides that, I'm sure I will see lots of both Andrew and Claire.

OK to demonstrate all the goodness of Saturn in the 8th, here's a little Jupiter conjunct Saturn in 8th joke:

Jeff walks into a bar and sees his friend Paul slumped over the bar. He walks over and asks Paul what's wrong. "Well," replies Paul, "You know that beautiful girl at work that I wanted to ask out, but I got an erection every time I saw her?"

"Yes," replies Jeff with a laugh.

"Well," says Paul, straightening up. I finally worked up the courage to ask her out, and she agreed."
"That's great!" says Jeff, "When are you going out?"

"I went to meet her this evening," continues Paul, "but I was worried I'd get an erection again. So I got some duct tape and taped "it" to my leg, so if I did, it wouldn't show".
"Sensible" says Jeff.

"So I get to her door," says Paul, "and I rang her doorbell. She answered it in the sheerest, sexiest, dress you ever saw."
"And what happened then?" asked Jeff.

"I kicked her in the face."

Fits of Hysterics

On November 3, the Lodge welcomed Mike Harding who was speaking on Everyday Madness. But who is that mad looking woman next to him? LOL
It's been an exciting time at the Lodge with elections for president and other changes. In other news, I don't know what's come over me but I've been mega-productive with my writing. In fact, in the space of a few weeks, I've cleared a lot of projects that have been hanging over my head since the summer. So I've been feeling rather pleased with myself. In fact, so pleased I can look back at how I felt before this period of activity with a sense of humour with a special Mars conjunct Saturn in 8th joke:
Two dwarfs go into a bar, where they pick up two prostitutes and take them to their separate hotel rooms. The first dwarf, however, is unable to get an erection. His depression is made worse by the fact that,from the next room, he hears his little friendshouting out cries of:
"Here I come again ...ONE, TWO, THREE...UUH!" all night long.
In the morning, the second dwarf asks the first, "How did it go?"
The first mutters, "It was so embarrassing. I just couldn't get a hard on.
"The second dwarf shook his head. "You think that's embarrassing?I couldn't even get on the f**king bed."