Haiku: ‘Shut’

Businesses shut down

Empty cafes and take outs

Fear and anger full

Copyright Francis Barker 2020

In these time we need all the support we can get.

Brexit Countdown – An Astrological Perspective Part 1

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So finally it appears to be happening, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is due to formally leave the EU at 11pm GMT on Friday January 31 2020.

Of course, there will be an ongoing debate during 2020 as to the nature of the final ‘deal’ between the two powers, whether it is based on the ‘Canada Free Trade Deal’, or even leaving on WTO terms at the end of the year in the event that no agreement has been made.

Nevertheless the UK is leaving, after much stuttering and fall out and two general elections since the referendum vote in June 2016.

But from my own astrological perspective, what does the leaving time and date signify, if anything?

Libra the balance but will we see justice?

I will start with the ascendant, or rising sign of the chart for 11pm, January 31, set for Westminster, the seat of the UK Parliament. We have Libra rising, a very political sign to do with justice, diplomacy and legality. It is no surprise that Libra has more than its fair share of politicians, lawyers and teachers with the Sun and other important significators in that sign.

Libra rising sets the political character of the moment, the scales, justice, a sense of something being ratified legally and that it has not been an easy course to reach this point. There has been, and there will continue to be, much debate.

However, Venus, the ruler of Libra and thereby ruler of the chart, is in Pisces in the 6th house, close to Neptune and in challenging aspect to an inflammatory Mars in Sagittarius.

Whither the Health Service?

In mundane astrology the 6th house is often seen to signify the nation’s health, perhaps the state of the UK’s health service, and we know how contentious the talk has been in regard to this, with claims that any future deal with the USA might see terms which gives Washington access to and power to ‘meddle’ with what many still regard to be one of the best health systems in the world.

Astrologically at any rate, it seems clear that the state of the health service, plus the Police and armed forces and their future role, will be the source of much angst in months and years to come.

Although Venus is said to be well placed in Pisces, the proximity of Neptune and the aggravation from Mars does indicate weakness, perhaps a continuing debate, encouraged and enflamed by the media, about as to whom can have access to free health care once, and if, free movement ends.

Radical Aquarius – radical government?

The Sun, always a prime factor in any chart, is in Aquarius in the 5th house of speculation, sport and leisure, a very positive placement I feel. Like Libra, Aquarius is an air sign, fitting well with the current Prime Minister Johnson’s air dominated chart.

Aquarius is forward looking, fair minded, radical and so we might well see a strong push towards political reformation, something which probably all sides would concede needs to be done. Just how far this might go is anyone’s guess.

There is much talk about reforming the House of Lords, even to the point of questioning its very existence. The state of the union has also been talked about, with Scotland clearly disaffected with being taken out of the EU as part of the UK.

Will Scotland be able to wave ‘tata’?

One wonders whether one of the reforms might be to do with the constitution of the UK and the relationship between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Could we be heading towards a more federal union? Will Scotland be granted ‘special’ status within the UK to placate its push towards independence?

As the 5th house rules speculation and the stock market, or partly so, we could see changes here too, though the continuing health of it would seem to be assured, depending on world economic trends.

Sport and leisure activities are also likely to be strongly emphasised during the next phase.

Within the next few days, Part 2 in this series will continue to investigate this chart and the changing nature and role of the United Kingdom in the coming years.

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2020

If you would like your own astrological report, or one creating for someone else, please contact me on leoftanner@gmail.com

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English Town Centres In Need Of Support

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Town centres and high streets in England have been in decline for some time, yet action by local and central government has been slow, inconsistent and at times non-existent.

Now, at last, it would appear some concerted action is being organised.

What is puzzling is that is has been clear for some time that the odds are stacked against town centres. Three factors should have been recognised and addressed over a decade ago:

  1. The growth of out of town shopping malls has detracted from the town centres.
  2. The internet has discouraged people from visiting shops so often and certain shops have been slow to develop their own websites which could actually boost their trade if applied intelligently.
  3. Business rates are invariably too high.

Until the government seriously addresses all these issues, English town centres will continue to experience a slow decline and eventual death.

copyright Francis Barker 2019

2020 Vision: A Landmark Year? Astrology Musings

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Photo by Pixabay, http://www.pexels.com

In the extraordinary and at times unbelievable worldwide political climate, astrologically symbolised by the up and coming conjunction of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn in mid January 2020, we have got used to expecting the unexpected.

Saturn and Capricorn stand for the existing political structures. Pluto, by its very nature, is said to be transformative, at best a difficult though necessary cleansing, at worst a drastic enforcer of change which threatens to bring down, or rip up virtually everything – root and branch.

Intriguingly, this conjunction falls close to the Moon’s south node, which has strong karmic associations. What might this mean?

A pivotal year – a time to nurture more

Well, the south node represents where we have come from as a civilisation; being in Capricorn, it shows our satiated materialism, almost to the exclusion of anything else. Pluto involved here shows that we must change, transform, ‘drain the swamp’.

In karmic terms, we must begin to look towards the north node in Cancer, to begin to redress this imbalance.

Cancer stands for nurturing, our family, our origins: in other words, I believe it is telling us to go one step back to allow us to go two forward. We need to understand where we have come from and what we once had, which is now in danger of being lost forever. This period, around the beginning of 2020, may well be the ‘dark night of the soul’ time, in which many of us realise we must change – events may force us into doing so throughout the year.

Dangerous soup

Add to this ‘dangerous soup’ the on going transit of Uranus (sudden change/innovation) in Taurus (finance), another earth sign, and the political and economic instability for the next few years seems assured.

The next few years are very likely to see many serious ups and downs in financial markets, which might well bring ‘innovations’, such as digital or cryptocurrencies, more quickly into the mainstream. Whether such changes actually bring good and long lasting benefits to humanity, however, is debatable.

A spring of conflict?

2020 also sees Jupiter in Capricorn for most of the year and will be joined by Mars in the spring for a few weeks, the latter period quite possibly being the most volatile, politically, economically, even militarily, of all.

However, by the end of the year, most particularly around the exact ‘grand conjunction’, which occurs every 20 years, between Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius on December 21, we might, just might, begin to see a light at the end of the long tunnel.

Apart from one instance in 1980/81, when this conjunction occurred in Libra, this marks the beginning of a century long stay in air signs for the first time in hundreds of years, since the end of the Middle Ages in fact. What does this mean?

A new age dawning?

For most of the last hundred years or more, the grand conjunction has occurred in earth signs, symbolically encapsulating our materialistic culture, where we have seen huge advances in material science, but not an accompanying positive philosophy to go with it, to make meaning of it. The inception of this ‘new age’ of air, beginning at the end of 2020, might well mean the end of this materialistic age and the final ushering in of a more ‘spiritual’ era.

However, Pluto remains in Capricorn until 2024 before finally entering Aquarius. In 2026 Uranus moves into Gemini and Neptune moves into Aries. In other words, by around the mid 2020s, a far more positive vibe begins to resonate in the world. Perhaps, in some real sense, if the so-called Age of Aquarius has a true beginning at all, then it might just be around 2025/6.

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019

If you would like your own personal astrology report, or would like one for a family member or friend, please contact me at leoftanner@gmail.com

 

Britain’s New Prime Minister! – a more positive vibe? Astrology Musings

 

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While Britain was baking in the searing heat of the afternoon of July 24, Boris Johnson met the Queen in the relative cool of Buckingham Palace to officially become the new Prime Minister.

Within a few short hours, the old Cabinet was gone, and a new team stuffed full of Brexiteers was assembled. But already many are asking if these drastic changes will make any difference at all to the outcome of Brexit and the course of the country in general.

I thought I would take look at the chart for the exact time the Prime Minister met with the Queen, when he officially took over that office of the realm.

Positive dynamism

Well, my first impressions are that this is indeed a more positive chart. Using the ‘whole signs’ house system, the ruler of the chart, Mars, is in Leo in the 10th house along with the Sun. This is a sure sign of positive, dynamic leadership.

Indeed, the 10th house, in mundane terms, is about governing; so this Mars will add great energy, drive, dynamism and determination to the government’s purpose.

A growing economy

Mars is also in good aspect to a retrograde Jupiter in Sagittarius in the 2nd house, perhaps hinting of some good fortune along the way, especially in financial terms, so we might see some interesting trade deals in the offing, too.

Or it could also mean that a so-called ‘no deal’ will not be anywhere as problematic as was once thought – good fortune through the back door, so to speak, as perhaps befits a retrograde Jupiter, a way of counting our blessings.

Either way, this Mars Jupiter link bodes well for the government in general and for the economy.

Difficult decisions

However, the Mercury (retrograde) Venus conjunction in Cancer in the 9th house, although might tend to favour reasonable negotiating possibilities in foreign policy, particularly with Brussels and the EU, is also challenged by an Aries’ Moon in the 6th house.

The retrograde Mercury fixed in this chart is a problem, rendering it difficult to make concrete decisions. Mercury turns direct again on August 2, so this should help, so long as the Johnson premiership continues full steam ahead.

It’s also especially worth remembering that Mercury also rules the midheaven sign of Virgo and the 11th house in this chart, so its being retrograde and in square aspect to the Moon will also bring difficulty to the government’s stance, particularly in regard to legislation and the nature of the House of Commons.

Expect the unexpected

There is also the presence of Uranus in Taurus in the 7th house of diplomacy. All these factors to me suggest, not surprisingly, that the roller coaster ride of Brexit will continue, with delaying tactics, more sudden twists and unexpected turns (Uranus), particularly in relation to the EU’s negotiating stance in regards to financial settlements (Taurus), again making it quite difficult for the government to keep the public on board.

It might be that any compromise deal that is hatched to prevent a no deal, for example, will simply not be enough for most of those who simply want out of the EU. For me this is symbolised by the fiery, impatient Moon in Aries in the 6th house square to the Mercury Venus conjunction.

Brexit before October 31?

The new PM has said that the UK will be leaving on October 31 2019. Can he deliver? Well, he has made a very decisive start, but I think he should remember, as any PM should, to expect the unexpected, as Uranus’ position shows.

It might be that one of the unexpected happenings is beneficial, creating a window of opportunity to leave earlier than expected. The Mars trine Jupiter aspect hints at a luck factor in the government’s favour. Jupiter itself turns direct again on August 11, joining Mercury going forward.

Very interestingly, Mercury turns retrograde again on October 31, so I think the government’s best chance of success is to deliver Brexit before that date, somewhere between August 11 and October 31, possibly around the September new moon on the 28th.

Drastic political changes

If the UK does not leave by October 31, it’s difficult to see when it actually will. The forthcoming Saturn Pluto conjunction in Capricorn early next year is already casting its long term effect on all existing political structures. Capricorn is very important to the UK, as seen 1066 chart for England, for instance, which resonates to this day.

The clear out of the old and the beginning of a new political era could make Brexit seem quite irrelevant going into next year. And as some believe, Pluto could be seen as the co-ruler of this chart, making the next few months and years even more significant.

So, bearing all this in mind, I think the best chance of Brexit ‘success’ has to be carried forward by the positive, dynamic leadership revealed in this chart and to deliver it sooner rather than later.

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019

Astrology Musings – Brexit, 1066 and Hostile Takeover

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Unless you are a mole (no offence, moles), or have somehow managed to insulate yourself from the news over the last three years or so, you must have heard of Brexit – even in the USA.

Well, astrological charts can be cast for nations as well as people. It’s called Mundane Astrology and has a long history. Can it reveal anything?

Well, one method of prognostication is to cast a ‘birth’ chart for a nation (or can be an event) at an important juncture, such as the Norman Conquest of 1066, in England’s case. This, arguably, was the last time England was conquered by military force, so one would think it has to be very significant astrologically speaking, a time when the country was reborn, for good for ill, with a hostile takeover.

Coronation of the Conqueror

To do this, normally the date and time of William the First’s coronation on Christmas Day 1066 at 12 Noon, is taken, bearing in mind that the old Julian calendar was in operation at that time. Adjustments must be made.

Over many years it’s often been said that this chart still ‘resonates’, still represents the character of the nation even and its sensitivity to the movements of the planets today, their positions, including the three ‘outer planets’. These are called transits.

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In this chart the sun is in Capricorn and Aries is rising, two signs which represent the tradition, business and enterprising, often belligerent and warlike nature of England over the past 950 years.

What I find most interesting however, is at the present time we have Uranus and Pluto in the earth signs of Taurus and Capricorn. Saturn is also in Capricorn, which it rules. So, with almost equal measure, you could say that the forces for change vie with the power of the establishment. Who will win?

Force for Change

Looking beyond England for a minute, even for the world as a whole the presence of these two forces for change, Uranus and Pluto, in two earth signs, represents political and financial intrigue, change and chaos, most particularly since Uranus’ entry into Taurus last year. Saturn in Capricorn, however, represents authority, the need to keep things established the way they are.

And right now transiting Pluto is in square (difficult, challenging) aspect from the 10th house to the Ascending (and thereby descending also) degree of the 1066 chart.

Intransigence

I think this represents the fundamental intransigence of the political situation right now. Pluto is stirring up the mud, perhaps slowly ‘draining the swamp’ in the political situation in England, bringing existential questions to the fore about the nation itself, about what it is, where it is going, how it relates to the world. Saturn in Capricorn however wants to resist any such change.

The intransigence is of course between the forces of those who wish to implement the referendum result right now, and those who do not, or if at all, symbolised by Saturn in Capricorn. It is not as straightforward as saying this is radicalism versus conservatism.

Either way, however, drastic, lasting political change is definite, I think. We may see a glimpse of what is to come today, Thursday May 23, when the EU (including the UK) votes in the new European elections.

Mars the driving force?

Pluto has been in Capricorn for some time but Uranus has been turning things over a bit in Aries (England’s rising sign), passing over England’s 1066 ascendant, and now in early Taurus, both sensitive areas of the 1066 chart.

Uranus moving into Taurus hints of sudden financial changes, which might well be to do with whatever deal the UK finally gets, if any.

What is more, when I cast the chart for the moment the polls open at 7 am on May 23 (set for Westminster, London, UK), astonishingly I found Mars closely conjunct a Cancer ascendant, exactly sextile Uranus. I also found the waning Moon just passing the Saturn Pluto conjunction in Capricorn.

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Pluto – now not even considered a true planet, might still have a strong generational effect.

What does this mean? One interpretation is that the forceful, emotionally patriotic stance of the people, who wish to embrace positive change (Mars conjunct Cancer ascendant in good aspect to Uranus) will be very evident in the character of the poll, its driving force if you will.

Fallout

The Moon conjunct Saturn Pluto in Capricorn in the 7th or 8th house (depending on which house system you use) in the electional chart, might indicate the triggering of the fundamental political change, the beginning of manifest constitutional change which will alter forever England’s and the United Kingdom’s stance in the world and how it relates to it.

These are musings only, but I shall be very interested to see what picture begins to emerge with the counting on Friday.

And we may not see the full fallout, that is, what kind of country England finally emerges as, until Pluto leaves Capricorn in 2023 and Uranus leaves Taurus in 2025.

Keeping My Faith

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My Faith Mercury – in all its parlour beauty. Note the lovely rosewood binding.

I’ve had my Faith Mercury parlour guitar for nearly four years now. I remember that it wasn’t a very easy purchase.

So OK, let me explain. I love electric guitars too; I’d had my American Stratocaster for number of years but it simply wasn’t getting played. It wasn’t that I didn’t like it, far from it. I don’t gig so it’s far easier sitting around with an acoustic. I just wanted something smaller, lighter, easier in my lap – a ‘sofa guitar’ you might say.

Look, I’d got other acoustics (I’ll come back to them another time) but not a genuine 12 fret join-at-the-neck acoustic. They are usually called parlour guitars due to the fact that they were originally made in more genteel times for ladies to strum in their parlours. How quaint, I thought. I’ve seen plenty of women who can handle much bigger guitars than this, but again that’s another story.

You actually traded in the Strat?

So, once I’d come to terms with the knowledge that parlour guitars weren’t necessarily the exclusive property of women, I had to make a decision. Yes, I was going to trade in the Strat! What? It was hard to let it go: Heck, even the smell of it was great.

Yet, when I first took hold of that light Faith Mercury parlour it was the perfect fit for noodling, fingerstyle playing which is basically where I’m at these days. You might call it the quintessential songwriters’ guitar and I’ve been known to write a few.

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Nice touch.

The Faith Mercury is a perfect wee beastie: The simple Faith logo on the headstock, solid woods all round with a spruce top, trembesi back and sides and some beautiful rosewood binding to boot, which I really love. Mine has the glossy top, with matt finish back and sides. The solid trembesi, I am told, sits tonally somewhere between rosewood and mahogany. Sounds great.

Not boxy out of the box

However, perhaps the most surprising thing, considering it’s a parlour guitar, is that it’s not that boxy sounding; in fact there’s a fair amount of bass and thus a fuller, richer sound than I was expecting. It was in tune ‘right out of the box’ as the saying goes, and it’s so easy to play, the action just right for me. And by the way, it wasn’t actually a box but rather a very nice case emblazoned with the Faith logo.

My only ‘quibble’ is the fact that it doesn’t smell like a Martin (Martin owners will know what I mean) – but you can’t have everything, I suppose. Faith make some fantastic, great value guitars and I wouldn’t hesitate buying another. The only problem is making a choice. I’ve always fancied another Faith Mercury with the scoop and pick up. Equally I’d like a Venus, but which one?

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The grain of the solid trembesi wood is particularly impressive.

Bog oak – is that a thing?

Then there’s the one made with that ancient bog oak, was it? Actually I think they’ve made several by now. One day I will make my mind up. I just hope I don’t have to trade in another to get one.

But get this. About a month ago my wife said, “can you teach me to play guitar?” After getting up off the floor and saying “yes, of course, Darling,” I wondered which of my several acoustics she would prefer to learn on. Absolute no brainer, the Faith Mercury won hands down. “It’s just the right shape for me,” she said, having struggled just a little with the others. Now she’s already trying to pick out the ‘Game of Thrones’ theme tune and I can’t get a look in!

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Oh, did I say Grovers too?

It looks like parlour guitars are indeed very suitable for women and most especially the Faith Mercury. I’ll just have to remind her that it’s actually my guitar!

Leo Tanner 2019

http://www.faithguitars.com

A Bull Market for Taurus?

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Ironically, Uranus in Taurus could be like ‘a bull in china shop’.

Where will we be by 2026?

It has often mystified me how the second sign of the zodiac, that particular 30 degree division of the ecliptic, got associated with the bull – Latin name Taurus. I’ve read theories but I guess the real truth is lost to time somewhere in ancient Mesopotamia and Greece.

Taurus in pure astrological terms is the fixed earth sign. Earth is pretty fixed as it is but add the ‘fixed’ condition to it as well..? From this it gets its traits of solidity and dependability. OK, a bull is solid – but is it dependable?

Taurus is ruled by Venus, some say the more negative side of the lesser benefic planet. From this Taurus is also associated with beauty, but perhaps a more particularly sensuous, earthy type of good looking things. In the human anatomy the sign is said to rule the neck, that natives may have weak spot in this part of the body, especially if the Sun or planet in the sign is ‘afflicted’ by negative aspects.

The sign is also associated to the second house in birth charts, which is all to do with our personal security and money, basically the Taurean traits applied our personal world. In mundane terms too, Taurus rules money, finance and securities. Aries is said to plough the first furrow, it initiates. Taurus is all about consolidation, big time.

However, last year the ‘outer planet’ Uranus entered Taurus for the first time since the early 1940s, which ended a tenure spanning back to 1934. Naturally, you don’t have to be a brilliant student of history to know what was happening in the world then.

But let’s not be alarmist. What does it all mean? Taurus is money, Uranus breaks up. It could be that by 2026 when this shaker-upper of a ‘planet’ leaves Taurus, our views on money, what it is, how we use it – might be radically different from what they are now. We should also remember that Pluto remains in Capricorn until 2023. Capricorn is the cardinal earth sign and is politics, the establishment, big business. This combination may represent a double whammy for the way things are at present.

My prediction (I know many would say that it’s an easy prediction to make) is that the world of 2019 compared to 2026 will have radically changed. We might see digital currencies running the world by then, which would entail along with it drastic changes in lifestyle.

And there’s no reason why it shouldn’t actually change for the better, for once. That goes for you too, Taurus.