Haiku: De Nada

silhouette of person holding glass mason jar

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I come from nothing
a huge spontaneous bang
It’s nothing – really

copyright Francis Barker 2019

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Haiku: Spell

mountains and clouds outside of an airplane window

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Who’s under a spell?
Passengers can never lead
Drive reality

copyright Francis Barker 2019

Haiku: Circles

round analog clock

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Circles of the sun
are divided into twelve
A natural law

copyright Francis Barker 2019

Haiku: Patterns

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Trace around the sky
Heaven is a clock with soul
It does not compel

copyright Francis Barker 2019

Arthur Storer – First known American astronomer, ‘discoverer’ of what became known as Halley’s Comet

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Photo by Francis Barker

We recently visited the small market town of Grantham in Lincolnshire in the east of England and found out something new and interesting.

Among the notable people associated with Grantham are Sir Isaac Newton, who was born nearby and former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, who was raised in the town in her father’s shop.

Astronomer and Mathematician

Walking through the town and by the wonderful church, we came across the old school building, upon which is a notice, bearing the name of Arthur Storer, identifying him as an astronomer and mathematician. I have to confess, up to that point, I had never heard of him.

It turns out that he knew Isaac Newton and probably had a fight with him when they were boys. However, the two later became friends and scientific associates, Newton recognising Storer’s contribution in his most famous work Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica. 

Fine Reputation

What I did not know was that Storer effectively became the first known astronomer in America and he developed a reputation for accuracy which outlived him.

Storer seems to have initially trained to be an apothecary, the profession of his step father, William Clarke of Grantham. However, it would appear that his real interests lay in the science of astronomy.

Journeys to Maryland

He would later travel to Maryland in North America, to observe all astronomical phenomena there. Later he would make a second trip to Maryland to do more astronomical work, sending his calculations to Isaac Newton.

A consequence of this work was that one comet he observed, in 1682, would later turn out to be Halley’s Comet, named after Edmund Halley who became the first to forecast its next appearance.

Sadly, Storer did not live to be an old man, dying in early 1687. He is buried in Maryland.

copyright Francis Barker 2019

Haiku: Asteroid

planet earth

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It’s silly season
An asteroid is coming
but where would it land?

copyright Francis Barker 2019

Time and Transformation, ‘Draining the Swamp’: Saturn and Pluto Musings

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Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Saturn and Pluto probably have the darkest associations in astrology.

In mythology Saturn or Chronos (Ancient Greek), devoured his own children for his own protection. Yet it didn’t help him in the end.

Saturn was, until the discovery of Uranus in 1781, the outermost known planet. He sat on the limit, marking time, he was perhaps the ‘lord of karma’, taking nearly 30 years to return to the same part of our birth charts. This is the Saturn return, probably a testing time, but also one of re-evaluation, growing up, taking stock – and looking forward too.

Underworld

Pluto or Hades, has obvious associations with the underworld of myth, leading astrologers to signify such words as ‘deep working’. Further analysis has led many to associate Pluto with Scorpio, the 8th house, though there is still much debate.

In recent years Pluto has been demoted astronomically to minor planet status, along with his twirling sibling, Charon. Yet, despite this there does not seem to be any lessening in the interest and conjecture on Pluto’s astrological significance.

Generational

Like a growing number, I stick to Mars being the ruler of Scorpio. I think the outer planets, so called, are significant but not as fundamental as the Sun to Saturn. They are generational influences.

Yet if Uranus, Neptune or Pluto are prominent by aspect or placement, then these apparently deeper influences come in to play and can be hard to understand and difficult to come to terms with.

Unsettling

Take Pluto’s present transition through Capricorn. At the very least, Pluto’s ‘influence’ can be unsettling, wherever he is found. And right now Saturn is in Capricorn too, approaching conjunction in January 2020.

In mundane astrology, as Capricorn is all about culmination, the establishment, politics, so we perhaps should not be surprised with the political chaos we witness all over the world at the moment. Established parties and political structures do seem to be under threat. In the final analysis, they either change – or die.

Pluto may also be asking us fundamental questions about what politics is for. Who does it serve? Isn’t it all just a charade, a game? If so, get rid of it.

The up and coming conjunction next year might well signify that most of the political crises will reach their apogee early next year, though it will all take years to fully work out, like it has taken years to get to this particular point.

Revolutionary Times?

It is interesting to note that the last time Pluto was in Capricorn was in the lead up to the American Revolution.

But what about Pluto in personal birth charts?

I know someone who was born when Saturn and Pluto were exactly trine, that is, in a harmonious 120 degree aspect. Saturn happens to be her ruling planet too and is angular, strongly placed.

Transformation

We could say that she was born with the potential to harness practically Pluto’s deeply ‘transformative’ influence in her life. Pluto is in her 9th house, so there is a deep interest in different cultures, philosophical matters, like religion and spirituality, a yearning for the quest, so to speak.

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Photo by Kat Jayne from Pexels

Nevertheless, right now, both Pluto and Saturn are transiting together in Capricorn, in her first house. I have explained to her about the forthcoming conjunction next year. Here we see symbolised the coming together of the stock taking nature of Saturn and the deep seated need for change, as represented by Pluto.

This has not been easy for her. Some astrologers use words like ‘elimination’ for Pluto; politicians may use phrases like ‘draining the swamp’. But who is to judge?

Existential Need

Yet, I have talked to her about this ‘existential need’ (as she describes it) for readjustment in her life. Saturn is cautious, especially in Capricorn, the sign it rules; Pluto, it would seem, insists on change. So what gives?

Is Pluto really about necessary change? This person is uncomfortable, every avenue that seems open to her appears daunting. So if we do ‘drain the swamp’ in our lives, it is likely to be most uncomfortable. Even bad things, like bad habits, can give us comfort. Routines are Saturnian. The tried and tested.

Have you noticed how quickly time goes with a routine? When you go on holiday for a few days, somewhere different, where you’re doing different things, notice how slow the time appears to go those first few days.

Pluto won’t leave Capricorn until around the middle of the next decade. Our world will be quite different by then. And so will the world of the person I’ve mentioned here. But it will probably be a better world for her and all of us.

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019