Abraham Ortelius (1527–1598) is justifiably famous for having produced the world’s first modern atlas, that is a bound, printed, uniform collection of maps, his Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. Ortelius was a wealthy businessman and paid for the publication of his Theatrum out of his own pocket, but he was not a printer and had to employ […]The man who printed the world of plants — The Renaissance Mathematicus
Copyright Francis 2020
Our beautiful planet earth is all bordered up by us humans! Historically, our ancestors started protecting their cultures and values by living among like-minded people who had the same interests and making borders to have control over who could enter or exit their kingdoms. We made the borders even more complicated as the geographical-related sciences […]Top 25 weirdest borders in the world — Delusional Bubble
Last year archaeologists pinpointed the origin of many of the ancient monument’s massive stones. A new study identifies the source of the rest. A …The origin of the giant sarsen stones at Stonehenge has finally been discovered with the help of a missing piece of the site which was returned after…
It is fairly clear to me that the timing of the opening of the 1851 Great Exhibition in Hyde Park, London, was certainly by design. I contend that this event encapsulated the then zeitgeist, thereby setting in motion a new world at all levels.
We need not be surprised by this. Astrologers had for centuries been consulted as to the most propitious time, astrologically, to begin a new project, a marriage, business, government, reign, or even country.
One of the most well known examples is John Dee’s choice of day and time for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth I of England on January 15 1559. We can speculate as to the wisdom of his choice, although historians have certainly been highly favourable when writing about the so called ‘Virgin Queen’ ever since.
When I found out the the date and timing of the opening of the Great Exhibition, I immediately looked at the chart – and was astounded, though not entirely surprised.
I will begin with the date itself, May 1. May Day has long had traditional pagan associations. In fact it would appear that this date was considered the most important of the year until fairly recent times, so we are told. The festival of Beltane celebrated the turning of spring into summer, usually involving fertility rites, bonfires, even sacrifices.
Then during the 19th century this same date became associated with international workers rights and the advance of international socialism. So at the very least, the choosing of this date is most intriguing. Even Queen Victoria herself made reference to “strengthening the bonds of union among the nations of the earth.” There was an internationalist flavour to this and all world’s fair events like it.
John Bull at his apogee
So let’s get into the meat here. By all accounts the exhibition opened around midday, soon after Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their entourage entered the Crystal Palace. At this juncture the Taurus New Moon was only a few hours old, with both of the major luminaries conjunct the Taurean Midheaven of the chart, the part of the chart signifying goals and ambition.
A new Moon, or the ensuing hours after it, are traditionally thought to be the best time for new beginnings of any kind. In Taurus, anything to do with money or construction will be favoured, as long as it is also well aspected. The Moon is said to be exalted in Taurus, at her most fecund, promising further success.
This is highly symbolic timing for the beginning of this exhibition. It was not only to exhibit to the world the technological, economic and cultural hegemony of Great Britain for the next six months, but was meant to set the course for the remainder of this very ‘British century’, John Bull (Taurus) literally at the apogee, if you will. Taurus loves to establish and have firm footings.
Pax Britannica – Great Britain ruling the waves
Appropriately enough too, royal Leo is on the ascendant loosely conjunct the fixed royal star Regulus. This makes the Sun ruler of the chart, as befits this very royal, if not imperial project. Although Queen Victoria was to lose her consort Prince Albert in 1861, she went on to become probably Britain’s most famous monarch – and Empress of India.
Interestingly, there is also a Venus Mars conjunction in Aries in the 9th house of philosophy, enterprise and long distance travel. The thrust of Mars is given a certain belligerence in his own sign, plus carte blanche to take it to the furthest corners of the earth.
The presence of Venus here adds a kind of benevolence too, maybe even the idea of Pax Britannica, the British Empire on which the sun never set. Great Britain ruling the waves (and pretty much everything else) indeed, as she proceeded to do for the next seventy five years.
Revolution meets irresistible force
However, this chart works on many layers, some of them quite deep. Around six weeks earlier in late March 1851, Uranus and the then undiscovered Pluto made the last contact of their recent coming together in Aries, a sign which is also strongly associated with England and Great Britain.
For example, the Christmas Day chart of 1066 set for the coronation of William I of England, has Aries on the ascendant. Many astrologers believe this chart still has much resonance today, and the Venus Mars conjunction in Aries in the Exhibition chart also links up with the 1066 chart’s action oriented Aries ascendant.
Now Uranus and Pluto meet up around every 172 years, so this represents a highly significant time astrologically. On the face of it, no one knew about the existence of Pluto at the time. Both Uranus and Pluto are still close together in the 1851 exhibition chart, straddling the Aries Taurus boundary. What is more, around the same time Saturn passed over both of these outer planets in late Aries and early Taurus.
With this I believe we get into some pretty deep territory. Since the discovery of Uranus in 1781, this planet became associated with sudden change and upheaval. Hence the revolution in France and the so-called Industrial Revolution, for example. It is as if an awareness of or need for change had suddenly entered our collective consciousness – the notion of ‘progress’, technologically and culturally.
Superconscious, transpersonal – or magical power?
However, if we think of this new discovery as a higher octave, or rather a superconscious (transpersonal) aspect of communicative Mercury, we might also get a better understanding of principles like insight, breakthrough and invention.
Maybe we have here the ability to draw on transpersonal energies – Uranus representing the initial breakthrough beyond the limiting boundary of Saturn, even if Ouranos, the old sky god which the new planet was named after, is in fact, ironically, the father of Saturn in myth.
Perhaps the discovery, or even rediscovery of Uranus, is symbolic of the return of the magical power of the older gods.
If we consider the then undiscovered Pluto to be transpersonal power, as opposed to the personal expression of energy as seen in Mars, and all the potential danger that represents, then I think we get some idea as to the real significance of this new cycle which took place in Taurus in 1850 and into 1851.
It is almost like the magician Uranus utilising the deep power of Pluto for future use without mankind being aware of such subterranean force. Saturn passing over both just afterwards is acting like a coalescing agent of this transformative energy in the material world, a changing of the guard and setting the scene for decades ahead.
Every conjunction of Uranus and Pluto marks the beginning of a new cycle which appears to manifest in our world as a force for social and cultural change, but especially since 1851. The energies of transpersonal change and power come together as an almost irresistible force. People will argue as to the benevolence, or otherwise, of this energy.
It would appear the power of this conjunction was being felt at least a year or so beforehand too. Look at the revolutions of 1848, for example, the biggest uprisings Europe as a whole had ever known, at least according to the known history. And even though little political change actually transpired as a result, the cultural significance in the long run was indeed manifest.
Setting the seal and precedent
We can therefore see that the Great Exhibition of 1851 did indeed set the symbolic seal of the times, showcased in the almost unbelievably magnificent Crystal Palace. The exhibition closed in October 1851. Then, remarkably, the great cast iron and glass edifice was transferred to another site in London. It seems little was beyond these Victorian engineers.
So ultimately, I believe the chart set for the inauguration of this important event is indeed highly symbolic. The next six months encapsulated Britain’s inheritance from the old world, yet more importantly, presaged her empire’s predominance in the world and the true beginning of ‘globalism’.
The beginning of globalism
Significantly, in the same year of 1851, we also see the establishment of the prime meridian of Greenwich, making London the de facto capital of the world.
It was around this same juncture too that one of the most important French literary figures, Victor Hugo, made a prophetic speech in regard to the idea of a united Europe. Even though such a ‘dream’ has never quite come to fruition, we can perhaps see the germ of this idea developing around this time, those first steps toward a global world.
The superpower which was Great Britain at the time was only nominally patriotic, in my opinion. Yes, Britons at the time could be proud of their empire, yet the real reach and purpose of this manifestation was to create a global world where the nation state, ultimately, would become redundant. The pros and cons of this movement are debatable.
The next meeting of Uranus and Pluto was in the mid 1960s. By then the idea of Pluto’s transformative power had entered our mainstream consciousness, having been discovered in 1930. This foreshadowed the next stage of social and cultural change – but that’s another article.
Copyright Francis Barker 2020
Part of our trip around Northern Ireland’s gorgeous County Antrim coast involved a stop at the world famous Giant’s Causeway.
I have to say that it was indeed everything I was expecting, from the cool, wet weather to the very touristy atmosphere.
That said, the place is simply stunning. Nothing can prepare you for walking over those truncated basalt columns, watching your step, while eyeing in disbelief that such a place actually exists, spreading out ahead of you towards the sea.
Made a World Heritage Site in 1986, the Giant’s Causeway lies right at the northern end of Northern Ireland.
The official story is that it’s between 50 and 60 million years old. In a nutshell, it’s the result of strong volcanic activity causing lava flows which formed a plateau, cooling relatively quickly, resulting in the distinctive hexagonal columns.
A similar process or effect occurs when mud dries in extreme heat, though you don’t get the height of the columns of course.
So much for the ‘official’ story. Any self respecting local here would tell you that’s all hogwash.
A Battle of Giants
What really happened, perhaps not that many generations ago, is that Finn MacCool, an Irish giant, was confronted by a Scottish giant challenger, called Benandonner. Finn, who couldn’t wait to tackle this upstart, built the causeway to get across the North Channel to Scotland.
There are basically two versions of the story. In one, Finn beats Benandonner conclusively. In the other Finn runs away from Benandonner after realising that he’s even bigger than himself.
So, using some feminine guile, Finn’s wife, called Oonagh, makes out her husband to be a baby, even going to the extent of placing him in a cradle.
Benandonner is fooled by this, thinking that if the baby is this big, then how big is the father? In shock, Benandonner trudges back across the causeway, taking it down on the way so Finn cannot follow him.
Science versus ‘Myth’
Strangely enough, in the corresponding part of Scotland around Fingal’s Cave on the isle of Staffa, there are some very similar columns of basalt.
Now, the scientific community would have us believe that this is merely part of the same lava flow from many millions of years ago. Of course it is.
But I know which explanation I prefer.
copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019
Recently we spent a few days in Northern Ireland.
We were based in Belfast, an up and coming city with a proud industrial heritage, particularly in ship building. It was here, of course, where the legendary ocean liner, The Titanic was built.
In more recent times, though, Belfast has been blighted by what was called ‘The Troubles’. Thankfully, those days are long gone but the scars remain. I won’t talk about those times right now.
No, I want to talk about the County Antrim coast road, which takes you around the northern tip of the island of Ireland.
I have scarcely seen such beauty, anywhere; the fantastic vistas out to sea, atmospheric views across to Scotland and the Mull of Kintyre; the wonderful, secluded, almost deserted beaches.
And then of course sensational spots like the Giants Causeway.
In fact, words almost fail, except to say that property sales particulars were consulted. Simply wonderful.
There will be more pictures to follow in future pieces on the fabulous little corner of the world.
copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019
In astrology Mercury is associated with the signs Gemini, Virgo and the corresponding third and sixth houses of a chart.
Mercury, closely following the sun at all times, is said to represent the mind, how we think, communicate, our nervous system, their strengths and weaknesses depending its conditioning.
Take Luke (not his real name which is protected), a former teacher who’d taken early retirement a while ago. He came to me wanting to know why he’d become so restless and nervous. He explained that he’d always been a bit restless, but especially of late. He knew his birth time to within about five minutes, so I calculated his birth chart.
Immediately, one of the ‘reasons’ he described himself as restless leapt out at me from the computer screen. His Mercury was closely conjunct a Capricorn ascendant, trine Mars in Taurus, sextile Jupiter in Scorpio. There were no so-called difficult or hard aspects, no squares or oppositions to Mercury. He seemed curious as to why my eyebrows were raised. At the time he came to see me, transiting Pluto had been lurking with intent around his native Mercury for a few months.
Over the years I’ve found it remarkable (a lot of the time) how people ‘speak’ their charts. In Luke’s case Mercury here was doing all the talking!
Mercury in Capricorn represents a practical mind, that likes to spend its time productively; teaching would be one good outlet. Close to the ascending degree and energised by Mars and Jupiter, one might expect the native to be a little fidgety – he was, constantly scratching his head, re-arranging his seating position. He just had to be doing something!
So with all that positive energy from Mars in Taurus, which only increases the pressure to ‘do something’ practical like making money, and from Jupiter in Scorpio, encouraging him to go deep, plumb the depths of knowledge, it’s probably not surprising that Luke was a bundle of unresolved, nervous energy which now ceased to have a proper outlet or channel.
“Can you write?” I asked, rather glibly, picking at Mercury’s communicative qualities.
He nodded. “Yeah, I do it all the time.”
He shook his head and laughed. “Just jot things down and scribble, you know.”
But I could see something opening in his eyes, some kind of realisation.
“Don’t get me wrong,” I said, tentatively, “I can’t advise you to do anything but what might help is to find a project, a writing project, to really get your teeth into, to fill the gap that teaching filled. Something like that.”
He seemed interested, but with all that earthy mental energy, I figured that creative writing might not be the best outlet for him. “Serious themes, perhaps,” I continued, “history, religion, psychology, geography…”
“Ha!” he exclaimed, “I taught geography for thirty five years!”
“OK, apart from teaching it, have you written about it, expressed our own ideas, opinions? Have you done research, for instance?”
“Not since university.”
It was around six months later when I met up with him again by chance, not in my house, but in the high street outside a butcher’s shop of all places.
“You were right about the writing, by the way?” he said, smiling nonchalantly.
“I’m a regular contributor to a science magazine now… and I’ve started giving talks on geography and geology for adult education locally. In fact, I’ve been invited up to Sheffield next week to give a talk.”
I tried to disguise my own smirk. It would seem that his native Mercury, which may have given him the impetus to become a teacher in the first place, had now inspired a second career in his retirement, as a writer and speaker. Pluto’s close proximity to his native Mercury at the time, may just have done a little prodding from behind the scenes.
Ultimately, I think this example also shows a need to look for the obvious, stand out features of a birth chart first. “Keep it simple, boy!”
A statue celebrating the history of hiring fairs has recently been erected in the Lincolnshire agricultural town of Spalding.
Also called statue, or mop fairs, they were first introduced by King Edward the Third of England after the Black Death as a means of regulating labour due to the extreme shortage in the workforce.
They soon became widespread all over Great Britain and Ireland, the practice continuing up until the Second World War.
Spalding, centre of the south eastern riding of Lincolnshire called Holland, was, and still is, the hub of a rich and diverse agricultural community.
We owe Italy quite a lot really, don’t we?
Pizza, pasta, risotto, fine wine, passion, flair, fashion style, not to mention the Romans (and yes, what did they ever do for us?) to name but a few. These are things our lives would be far less rich without.
Well, some say it was around this day in history, May 10 or 11, when someone else Italian set sail on a voyage to what we now term ‘the New World’, namely Amerigo Vespucci.
Born in Florence in 1454, Vespucci is famous for debunking Columbus’ notion that the West Indies and Brazil were in fact the other side of the world, actually the easternmost parts of Asia.
In other words, he envisioned the new discoveries as a completely new, separate landmass from Asia. Originally termed the New World, what the new continent lacked was a proper name. Step up Amerigo Vespucci once again, whose latinised Christian name reads as ‘Americus’.
It was only a small step from there to someone suggesting that this huge piece of earth should be called after him, but with a feminine ending – America – and why not? Are we still grateful to him and Italy?
PS. Of course, we know now that the Vikings founded what they termed ‘Vinland’ in what is now the north eastern seaboard of North America centuries before Columbus, but that’s another story…