Haiku: History or His Story

woman holding blue shakspere book over face

Photo by JJ Jordan on Pexels.com

Sometimes we see it,
history in the making.
Did you look – closely?

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019

*If you would like a personal astrology report, please contact me at: leoftanner@gmail.com for further details.

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The Irby Tomb, Whaplode St. Mary’s Church, Lincolnshire

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The Irby Tomb – one of the most impressive features of this south Lincolnshire church at Whaplode, Lincolnshire, England.

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019

Astrology Musings: The Virgin Queen?

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By Formerly attributed to William Scrots – wartburg.edu, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=686176

The reign of Elizabeth I is, I suspect, as much about propaganda as it is truth.

After all, the time of her coronation was decided upon by none other than Dr John Dee, magus, diviner, astrologer, the inventor of what came to be known as the British Secret Service. He was also the instigator of the notion of ‘The British Empire’. More of that in another piece.

But what of ‘The Virgin Queen’s’ nativity, her birth chart. Being a royal princess, her birth time was duly noted, even though Henry VIII was reputedly less than happy that Queen Anne Boleyn had dared to give birth to a daughter.

Fecundity and Popularity

Quite fittingly, the Virgin Queen, as she became known later, was indeed born under the sign of Virgo, the Virgin. It was right up high in the ninth house, so she was always likely, thanks to her birth, to be well known abroad (ninth house foreign affairs), often notoriously amongst her enemies.

The Moon in Taurus in the fourth house, close to the nadir of the chart, also comes into play here, I feel. Taurus is fertile and the Moon is well placed here. Is this the origin of the myth of her fecundity? I think it certainly stands for her popularity with her own people.

Queen of Heaven

She was also portrayed as Astraea, queen of the heavens from ancient pagan myth – not Christian at all, but this was very much in vogue at the time with the likes of John Dee and other Renaissance men plucking the strings, through their magical science and the giants of creative literature, such as Marlowe and Shakespeare.

Her ascendant is Capricorn, and therefore her ruling planet is Saturn, the great taskmaster. Capricorn rising brings responsibility, often hardship, privation, a willingness to see things through for some greater prize; in this case, we are told, it was England itself, its preservation from outside rule.

An Unhappy Place

Saturn in Cancer in the seventh house reveals the equally serious and responsible attitude she had in her dealings, diplomatically, but also in her relationships. Saturn in Cancer is in its ‘detriment’, its not a happy place.

It symbolises a potential lack of family, caring, loving, nurturing – but it also creates a dogged hardness of spirit, purely through harsh experience, a resigned sense of making do emotionally.

Here we see also the coldness that was dealt her when she was a princess. Her mother was executed when she was little more than a toddler. She was imprisoned and came pretty close to being executed herself, it would seem, during the reign of her half sister, Mary.

So in many ways it’s surprising she ever made it to the throne.

Intelligent

It transpires too that Elizabeth was one of the most intelligent rulers England has ever had. She could debate with the best of men, speak and write several languages fluently.

For this we should look at Mercury and Venus high up in Libra in the tenth house of career. Mercury is trine Mars in Gemini and this creates a ready wit, mental versatility, a charming, diplomatic manner and intellectual potential, all of which could be put to good use in her reign, as it was. She was the epitome of pragmatism, which became her method of survival in a man’s world.

And in Love with Love

Venus in Libra is all about love, diplomacy and indecision. She was in love with love, if you like, and so high up in the chart, there was also a danger that it might get out to the public. At times the love and diplomacy melded into one, sometimes in the most bizarre ways. In the end she could not decide.

Nevertheless, the harsh screening of that Capricorn ascendant, Saturn in Cancer in the seventh house too, would always manage, somehow, to keep some kind of reign on her romantic flirtations and dalliances. In her heart, we are told, she devoted herself to her people and to England: that’s Venus in Libra.

And Saturn in the seventh house could mean of course, a lacking in the marriage, or even the denial of it.

 

*If you would like a personal astrology report, please contact me at: leoftanner@gmail.com for details.

 

Christopher Marlowe, died this day, 1593

The man who many see as the forerunner to playwright William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, died on this day (May 30) 1593, in Deptford, London.

Marlowe was born in Canterbury, Kent, England, sometime in mid to late February 1564. There is an extant record showing that he was baptised on February 26 of that year.

In those days babies were usually christened quite quickly because of high mortality rates among infants. Therefore Marlowe was probably born just two to three days before this date.

Low Born

Although born to a cobbler, it would seem that young Christopher was quite a precocious child. He went to The King’s School in Canterbury.

It’s worth remembering that then, as still now, Canterbury is the seat of England’s premier archbishop, a very important place.

Later, though perhaps at a relatively late juncture in his early life, he went to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge on a Parker scholarship.

Absences

In 1584 he got his BA degree and an MA in 1587, although the university was reluctant to award him the latter because of certain, irregular, though quite lengthy absences from the college.

Suffice it to say, that much has been written and speculated about these absences, as well as what he purportedly believed. Some say he was an atheist, despite spending years studying divinity.

Meteoric Career

Nevertheless, Marlowe went on to a meteoric literary career as a poet and playwright. He is often credited with inventing blank verse, poetry which doesn’t rhyme but written usually in iambic pentameter.

His play ‘Tamburlaine the Great’, was a huge success in London in 1587, so much so that he wrote a second part to it the following year.

There followed a string of ‘hit’ plays; ‘The Jew of Malta’, ‘Edward the Second’, ‘The Massacre at Paris’ and, probably his most famous play, ‘Doctor Faustus’.

Courted Controversy

The subject matter of his plays was often controversial, as was his apparent second career as a spy, or ‘intelligencer’ for the Elizabethan government. He seems to have been recruited for this whilst still at university.

Such controversy finally caught up with him in May 1593, when, after apparently being arrested on charges of ‘blasphemy’, released on bail, and then spending a whole day in an obscure house or pub with some rather shady ‘friends’ – he ended up being infamously murdered, during an argument about the bill, the ‘reckoning’.

Reputation

The circumstances of this too are endlessly speculated on. Incredibly, the inquest of this murder was discovered as recently as 1925.

Even Shakespeare may allude to this in his play, ‘As You Like It’, where he seems to have known some of the details of Marlowe’s premature death.

So Marlowe’s meteoric rise and fame lasted about six years. After this, his reputation, maybe because of the controversy he courted, fell away dramatically.

Today, however, his reputation is back on the rise. He is seen as the true forerunner to Shakespeare, someone who ‘set the scene’ for The Bard’s longer career.

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019

Soon I intend to do another piece speculating Marlowe’s birthdate and time for my ‘Astrology Musings’ section.

*If you would like a personal astrology report, please contact me on: leoftanner@gmail.com or details.

Book Review: Musings on ‘A Portrait of the Artist As A Young Man’ – James Joyce

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Of course, much has been written about this novel since it was first published in 1916. To call ‘A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man’ (Penguin – this publication) a landmark, would be grossly understating its impact.

So I’m not attempting to go into great depth, all that has already been done. I merely want to convey my own recollections of first reading it, way back in school.

For me, it was this book and D.H. Lawrence’s ‘Sons and Lovers’ that first truly opened my eyes to what we sometimes call serious literature. Both of them are, in their own way, semi-autobiographies and broke the mould of novel writing.

Story Teller

Naturally though, Lawrence and Joyce wrote in very different ways. I think Joyce wrote more intuitively, in a way which conjured up for me a wholly different milieu of imagery. He is a natural narrator, a story teller like many of his countrymen.

For example, when he describes Stephen Dedalus’ childhood, I get drawn into that world through the use of evocative child-like language; I become that child. I can remember endless classroom discussions about this part of the book.

Living Imagery

And the world of Dublin in the late 19th century, was a very different world from that of the industrial Nottingham area, where Lawrence sets his book.

Although Joyce was to reject almost everything about his upbringing, his beliefs, his writing is nevertheless suffused with that imagery, bringing it alive, like new music as some describe.

So what are we to make of the criticism of those who first rejected his manuscript? The book is, when compared to more classic literature, without doubt somewhat formless and unconventional.

Like God

Yet, those of an artistic nature tend to be like this, especially over the last hundred years or so. I think Joyce, whose approach was understood and encouraged by none other than Ezra Pound, was simply bold enough to open up the taps of his creativity. The artist himself almost becomes like God, a creator in his own right, a bit like the Daedalus of legend, who built wings for himself and his son so that they could fly.

Joyce’s upbringing within the strict bounds of Catholicism, his training for the priesthood, was in retrospect the perfect grounding for such free artistry, once it was released from its captivity.

Ironically, Joyce’s world never seems to lose the colour of his Catholic upbringing, even though he ultimately rejected it. With Lawrence, the harsh, English Protestant world, seems altogether more grim, enlightened by the writer’s love of nature.

Native Genius

Joyce’s innate creativity, held back for so long, could only emerge later like a succession of Michelangelo masterpieces, hewn by the craft and intelligence of a native genius.

Unlike his other classics, Finnegan’s Wake and Ulysses, I have successfully completed reading his first great novel.

Even so, one day I intend to finish the former two, although I suspect I will read ‘Portrait’ again before I do that.

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019

Celebration of Lincolnshire Churches 2019 – Bardney, Part 1

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We recently visited the West Lindsey Churches Festival. One of the most interesting was Bardney’s Church of Saint Lawrence.

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The church is impressive with a large nave, indicative of this settlement’s once important though now long dissolved abbey.

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As in all the churches in West Lindsey, there were stalls with items for sale, as well as food and drink.

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copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019

 

The Wild Man of Stainfield? – Fascinating Lincolnshire Churches, Stainfield, Part 3

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A display in the church about the ‘Wild Man of Stainfield’.

The origin of the legend of the Wild Man of Stainfield is unclear. No one seems to know who he was, though some thought he generally went about naked, his body covered in hair.

Even the date of his existence is not certain, though most put it sometime during the 18th and early 19th centuries.

Nevertheless, there does appear to be some clarity regarding his actions. He was a woodlander, who reputedly took cattle and sheep, presumably for food, maybe clothing. Some even think that he killed humans too.

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If the stories are true, how safe would cattle have been during the times of this wild man? Today the nearby cattle don’t appear to be worried.

One story states that it was a descendant of Sir Francis Drake who finally killed the Wild Man of Stainfield. There began the association of the Drake family with the area.

Stories of his demise are disputed too. Another tale describes those who later became known as the ‘Hardy Gang’, who got together to rid the area of this wildling. Some say this is how nearby Hardygang Wood got its name.

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All in all, Stainfield is a fascinating village with a remarkable history – and a legend to boot.

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019