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 They are usually called parlour guitars due to the fact that they were originally made in more genteel times for ladies to strum in their parlours.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

Crime Fiction’s Very English Mysteries – What Else?

The Woolly Murders

Imagine a very typical English country scene, a small town, villages, farms, people going about their business quietly, politely.

You may think you’ve heard all this before, but someone I know has been writing kindle crime novels for eight years and has developed a unique, easy writing style that is both comforting… and unsettling.

The main character is DI Mike Malone (not actually his real name because he has a murky past) who is genial, yet tough when he has to be. He is joined by his trusty sidekick Shepherd who leaps about from place to place in his own inimitable way. Then there are the quietly suffering characters you meet all the time…. but enough.

There are around 15 of these easy reading novels (including another detective, Jack Sallt) and all can be found on amazon.com and amazon.co.uk and elsewhere. Search for Milly Reynolds.

Putin as President

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It’s interesting to note that it’s 19 years to the day since Vladimir Putin was first elected to the Russian presidency.

I don’t believe it’s been continuous, I think Medvedev spent four years as President too, but few western politicians have spent so long in high office, or achieved such levels of popularity, which he appears to retain to this day and Russia has certainly been transformed in those years, the Orthodox Church being reinvigorated, for example.

Naturally though, he remains a controversial figure in the West.

The More Things Change

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The moment I saw the new Royal Baby’s birth chart, the first phrase that leapt in to my mind was something like ‘The more things change, the more they stay the same’.

What led me in this direction? It was the basic details of the chart that all those interested in astrology look for. The Sun is in Taurus, close to the Taurus’ ascendant. I felt solidity, physical strength, sensuality, steadfastness, dependability, tradition, and also stubbornness and determination.

However, a further glance showed that the ‘outer planet’ Uranus is in the first house. I use the whole house system and generally treat the so called outer planets like some might treat the fixed stars; if they are strongly placed then they come into play at a more personal level. Well, Uranus, over the the period of time since its discovery in the late 18th century, has come to symbolise sudden change, the breaking down of existing structures, often violently, and the imposition of more radical authority. The baby’s Uranus in the whole house system falls in the first house, in Taurus.

The transition of Uranus (sudden change) through Taurus (structure, finance, banking, security) over the next few years, strongly suggests that we will indeed see many, often drastic changes in the world of money, what we think of it, how we use it etc. With this Royal baby, here we have symbolised an embodiment of the forces which wish to stay exactly as they are, versus the irresistible force for change.

Maybe we can also see here symbolised the controversy of wanting to have a ‘modern’ home birth, which is actually a reversion to the past, versus the existing Royal protocol. And all of this exemplified in the persona of a new arrival in to the world. Either way, Uranus in the first house indicates someone who is very individual, unique, and all of the planets (except Jupiter in its own sign interestingly) on the so called ‘I’ side, or ‘eastern hemisphere’ of the chart emboldens the tendency for the person to strongly believe in himself.

So what else can we see? My head nodded tellingly when I saw Saturn in Capricorn close to the Midheaven (MC). Once again we have here an indicator of earthy solidity, this time revealing itself in the career path of the individual. There will be huge demands of responsibility placed upon him – well, he will be a Royal after all. Classically this is not a ‘good’ position for Saturn and the burden, or the weight of the task of his role, whatever it might be, will be highly demanding.

However, once again, we have an outer planet messing around close to Saturn and the MC, namely Pluto. Now a few years ago poor Pluto was demoted to a ‘minor planet’, something which I understand, but as I said above, I look at the outer planets a bit like fixed stars. Nevertheless, Pluto is still deeply powerful, I believe. He is a bit like Uranus in that he denotes change, but Pluto has come to symbolise deeper transformations and darker forces behind the scenes. So here again we have conservative forces in Saturn/Capricorn, being deeply undermined by transformative Pluto. He will have a highly interesting role in public life.

Next we have the Moon’s north and south nodes coming strongly into play, the south node being conjunct Saturn and the Midheaven. He brings with him an inheritance of deep public responsibility, but the way forward in his life is showing a need to become more involved in family, his roots and also his siblings. This will be a true challenge.

As you can see, the new Royal baby very much personifies the present political situation, not only in the United Kingdom but throughout the world. It will be fascinating to see how this dichotomy within his personality plays out over time.

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Photo by Lucas França on Pexels.com

So on a lighter note, what else can we see? When he was born the Moon had just skipped over into airy and mutable Gemini, showing that he will have a lighter, quick witted and vivacious side to his personality too. In the whole house system, this Moon is in the second house of finance and security and may indicate many changes and fluctuations in this area of life.

What is more, there is an exact opposition between Mars and Jupiter in the 2nd/8th house axis. Gemini and Sagittarius are not stable, and this tug of war between fiery Mars and generous Jupiter in his own sign, could well indicate a tendency for financial affairs to get out of hand, either through circumstances constantly changing. There certainly might be a tendency to be cavalier here, though the caution of Taurus and Capricorn will tend to put the breaks on.

His Mercury in Aries means he will probably be a very vocal personality, with much wit and charm. This tendency will probably be increased by his Venus in Aries in the 12th house, indicating ardent emotions and impatience too, but this may usually be hidden from public gaze.

So, in essence, I think he will be an imposing, unique presence, with the Sun and ascendant in Taurus and Uranus in the first house. This combined with his fiery, versatile side, indicated by the Mars Jupiter opposition, may well make him a very fine sportsman with great strength and skill. He embodies both the deep traditions of Royalty and also the irresistible force for change within it. It will be interesting to see how this plays out not only his own life, but in all of ours too.

 

Why Am I Doing This?

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Having been a ‘qualified’ astrologer for over 25 years, I have never openly advertised as such… until now.

Sure, I have kept my hand in, done numerous charts for friends, family and people at large, sometimes charging, sometimes not. Yet, above all this, I have never thought astrology was working for me. So here, right now, at last I am intending to make it do so.

I have done paid jobs of course, changed jobs several times, worked freelance, tried painting (another hobby) as a sideline, but nothing seemed to satisfy. Maybe it’s the lot of nearly all of us, having to make do with our ‘paye’ jobs without ever feeling satisfied let alone fulfilled. Being an astrologer you might ask, well, ‘couldn’t you tell from your birth chart what you would be best at?’ Well yes I could, I have a prominent, disciplined and vigorous Mercury which allows me to write, to communicate well, so that’s one reason why I’m here. But it also gives me a liking for variety. Also, I do have an artistic and musical side which has found release in painting and playing a musical instrument. But none of this makes a living.

So then comes my second Saturn Return (that gives my age away but that’s another article coming shortly) and that, I believe, is the true catalyst. I need to move on, to start doing the things I really want to do at an age which marks the end of life’s second chapter and, hopefully, a move to better and brighter pastures ahead. If I can help others realise their own potential along the way, then all the better.

So here goes, life’s been a bit rocky of late, rugs have been pulled and doors have slammed shut – but for once I may be heeding the call to a different direction. Wish me luck.