Rock Review: Yes, ‘Close to the Edge’ – Close to being perfect.

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The Classic 1972 Progressive Rock Album.

Probably my favourite all time prog rock album, ‘Close to the Edge’ (Elektra/Rhino CD) by Yes.

I was quite young when this came out in 1972 and didn’t actually hear it until later in the following year, when my elder brother brought it home. I think I had heard ‘Fragile’ by then too, the band’s 1971 release, which kicked off with ‘Roundabout’, one of Yes’ more ‘accessible’ numbers for a young boy. Nevertheless, I remember being pretty impressed by the whole album.

Spiritual sound

However, when my brother put ‘Close to the Edge’ on our family hi-fi, at first I wasn’t sure what to make of it. The slow start of planetary, naturalistic sound, the incredible weaving together of all the different movements of side one, took some time for me to appreciate, but now it’s like one epic poem, a vast spiritual movement of sound that is hard to describe, in words. It just has to be experienced, let it take you somewhere.

I still particularly like the ‘I Get Up I Get Down’ section, so beautiful, bringing together all the singing talents of the band, not just Jon Anderson, but also Steve Howe and Chris Squire.

Five virtuosos

Which leads me to a major point. Has there ever been a better example of five incredible talents working together, at the top of their game, producing such a masterpiece? I would doubt it.

Jon Anderson’s unique voice and inspirational lyricism; Bill Bruford’s peerless percussion; Steve Howe’s sheer virtuosity on six and twelve strings; Chris Squire’s uniquely lyrical bass and underrated singing; Rick Wakeman’s pure genius and dexterous flair.

It would prove to be a small window, sadly. Very soon, Bill Bruford would be on his way, followed soon after by Rick Wakeman. But what a beautiful, ornately made window it was. It was of its time.

Woven together

Side Two for me is equally impressive. I can still quite easily listen to ‘And You And I’ on repeat. I love the start, with Steve Howe hitting the harmonics on his twelve string, the way Rick’s synth plays over the top is so joyful, full of life. And like all Yes tracks, it’s difficult to envisage how they all put this together, so differing are the elements, but they come to together beautifully, woven by lyrics which are both hard to fathom, yet totally fitting – a Yes trademark.

And the final track, ‘Siberian Khatru’. Heaven knows what it’s about but if I had just one track to take to my desert island, I think it would be this.

Atmospheric

Great, catchy guitar riffs to start off and great rock playing by the whole band, but soon the wonderful group singing harmonies come in to play, adding a great atmospheric and naturalistic feel.

Then all the virtuosity of the band kicks in – indescribable. Especially, towards the end when they sing pairs of mysterious words with lots of reverb, which may, or may not, be related… but it works, it means something, though I don’t know what it is. And did I mention Steve Howe’s jazzy guitar on the outro?

Just how it should be, long reign the mystery.

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019

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A most important link to my ‘partner in crime’: here Milly Reynolds and here Milly’s Website who produces crime fiction and other genres.

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Personal Astrology Report – An Example Chart

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Example of birth chart drawing, individually created.

Here is an example of one of my Personal Astrology Reports.

*Note: In a ‘live’ instance, this report will be sent out to the client in the form of a PDF via email.

The name and birth data of ‘Ellen’ are protected.

Above is the birth chart drawing, based on older styles from the medieval and Renaissance periods. I do not include the ‘outer planets’, not because I think they are unimportant, but in the interests of simplicity. If the ‘outer planets’ are prominent by position or aspect, then they are included in the analysis:

‘Ellen’

Personal Astrological Analysis

At the time you were born the

Rising sign or ascendant was in Gemini
Sun was in Virgo
Moon was in Libra
Mercury was in Virgo
Venus was in Libra
Mars was in Virgo
Jupiter was in Scorpio
Saturn was in Taurus
Uranus was in Libra
Neptune was in Scorpio
Pluto was in Virgo

Introduction

Astrology is based on the idea of what is seen above in the sky is reflected in our world below: as above, so below.
In astrology, the path of the Sun, called the ecliptic, is divided into twelve zones of 30 degrees, called signs. Twelve is a natural division.

The Signs – what are they?

The signs of the zodiac and their qualities in order are:

Aries, the Ram. Cardinal Fire. Ruler Mars
Taurus, the Bull. Fixed Earth. Ruler Venus
Gemini, the Twins. Mutable Air. Ruler Mercury
Cancer, the Crab. Cardinal Water. Ruler the Moon
Leo, the Lion. Fixed Fire. Ruler the Sun
Virgo, the Virgin. Mutable Earth. Ruler Mercury
Libra, the Balance. Cardinal Air. Ruler Venus
Scorpio, the Scorpion. Fixed Water. Ruler Mars
Sagittarius, the Archer. Mutable Fire. Ruler Jupiter
Capricorn, the Goat. Cardinal Earth. Ruler Saturn
Aquarius, the Water Bearer. Fixed Air. Ruler Saturn
Pisces, the Fishes. Mutable Water. Ruler Jupiter

What are the Houses for?

In astrology there are also the houses. These are based on the signs, the same qualities projected out into the environment of the individual.
For instance, Aries, the first sign is fiery, enterprising. The corresponding house is the first house, which reveals how the individual projects him or herself out into the world, depending on the sign and planets (if any) contained in it.

First house: Appearance, personality
Second house: Finance, security
Third house: Communication, neighbours, siblings
Fourth house: Home, family
Fifth house: Creativity, children
Sixth house: Work, efficiency, health
Seventh house: Relationships
Eight house: Partner’s finance, inheritance
Ninth house: Long distance communication, philosophy
Tenth house: Career, status
Eleventh house: Friendship, association, groups
Twelfth house: Inner life, psychology

According to the data given me, the mutable air sign of Gemini was rising on the eastern horizon when you were born.
The ascendant marks the beginning of the houses, the everyday equivalents of the zodiacal signs.
The ascendant or rising sign is a pointer to our approach to life, what we project more obviously in to the world. It may have something to do with our physical appearance too. We must always bear in mind, however, the positions of the Sun and Moon as well. It is this blend of Sun, Moon, Ascendant, plus any other strong features in the chart which will represent your character.

Versatile

Ellen, when you were born the mutable air sign of Gemini was rising, your ascendant.
This indicates that you have a versatile, sociable, communicative approach to life. You probably like to keep busy, to have a variety of tasks to perform, as well as plenty of places and people to visit and chat with in and around your community.
Your ruling planet is Mercury, ruler of Gemini. When you were born it was found in Virgo, strongly in connection to (conjunct) Pluto in your fourth house of home and family matters.

Efficiency

I think this augments your Geminian character somewhat, giving you a greater need for efficiency and practicality, essentially bringing down to earth your innate need to do things. You like to busy in functional ways.
You probably don’t like to waste time, not only fill your day with activity, but you like to apportion your time to get the most out of it. You might make lots of lists, or be an avid collector of certain items, like stamps, for instance.

Grasp of Detail

You are likely to have a very good grasp of detail, too, perhaps especially relating to home or family concerns. You should also have very good concentration, taking away any tendency for you to dissipate your energy.
If you were to partake in any activity, like research, for instance, you would be able to give it 100%. You are, despite outward appearances perhaps, a very concentrated person mentally, able to break down ideas and things into their minutest parts and put them back together. And you are likely to insist on a very tidy, well organised home to match the qualities of your mind.

Efficient, Practical

If we now move to your sun sign, Virgo, this of course is the one factor you are already aware of. The combination of your Gemini ascendant and Sun in Virgo (both ruled by Mercury) only increases your potential for communication at practical levels.
You probably have a strong interest in being efficient and so therefore health is absolutely key for you. You probably watch your diet closely and have a fitness regime you stick to. Work too is paramount to your well being – you appear to have a strong need to be busy.

Nervous Energy

Your Mars is also in Virgo and this will only increase the energy you put into practical detail, perhaps most particularly in the home.
However, just bear in mind that you do need to rest periodically. Your nerves, perhaps more than most people’s, could have a tendency to get fraught because of the demands you may put on yourself. It might be tendency of yours at times to feel overwhelmed with the amount of work and tasks you set out to do.

Pleasantness

We now come to the Moon, the third most important factor in your make up.
Your Moon was in Libra when you were born, in the 5th house of creativity and children.
I think this will blend very well with above mentioned factors of your chart. Moon in Libra will add an instinctive charm to your personality, some very personable qualities. You should be quite pleasant to meet, because you like balance emotionally and in the home.
In other words, despite your busy, efficient, work oriented character, you will nevertheless be pleasant to meet socially, in creative activities and with your children.

Beautiful Pursuits

Venus in Libra also in your fifth house further indicates your love of creative pursuits and possessions, such as art, clothes, music, just beautiful things, which you probably love to share with others and your children.
So when it comes to your career, we have to bear in mind all the above said potential. We spoke your liking to communicate, both mentally and physically, to be busy, versatile, practical, to have variety in your life and work but not waste your time doing it.

Career Flexibility

The emphasis on communication could have led you in to many types of career.
You might have good linguistic skills too; maybe you can speak one or more foreign languages well – you seem to have the potential for that. This would obviously have opened the door to several careers, from teaching, local government, to diplomatic arenas.
Then there’s the everyday variety and flexibility of something like being a shopkeeper, to delivering goods (where every day will be different), and to being a journalist, out and about covering a wide variety of local, perhaps national stories.
As you have a grasp of detail, plus good concentration, research and investigative work might be particularly suitable for you. This brings to mind investigative journalism and police or legal work.

Behind the Scenes

To add to this, you may also prefer to work busily behind the scenes, in a practical role, that might in some senses resemble a home.
This brings to mind larger institutions, where you will have scope for practical, detailed, concentrative work, which you would excel at – hospitals, or charities for instance. Your pleasant manner of response (Moon in Libra) will help you in these areas too.
The latter is important for you, I think. You may realise you need to develop a career to take you ‘out of yourself’ so to speak, even if it is largely behind the scenes work, away from too much involvement in home and family life, where it is so ‘natural’ for you to function.
In many ways the latter would tend to bring together all the different strands of your character, potentially leading the way to greater self fulfilment.

This brings to an end the general analysis of your birth chart. If you would like more details, or perhaps an in depth discussion about your chart, please don’t hesitate contact me.

Many thanks and kind regards

Leofwine Tanner 2017

Email: leoftanner@gmail.com

 

Poem: ‘Picture’

E

There’s a picture
it’s been hanging on my wall
You know it tells a story
the truth of it all

Now it’s time to tell you
with the sun streaming in
After all the silent years
I should begin

For love is like the summer time
in the northern lands
This cold barren soil
through my hands:

And we shall never pass this way

So how long did she stand? I don’t know.
Waiting – those poor women –
for a tall mast to show

Yes, he was a treasure
fresh flowers in the jar
Cap in hand, feet ten and two
like an evening star

Most nights she takes the air
down by the sea
Out there she can feel him
where the ocean sets her free

For love is a precious time
a sacred space
Give into the water
and its healing grace

And we shall always have this day

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019

Leo’s Book Review: ‘From the Holy Mountain’

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‘A Journey in the Shadow of Byzantium’. By William Dalrymple.

I can’t tell how inspirational I found this book when I first read it.

At the time, around 1997, I was virtually reading nothing new beyond a few books on astrology or Buddhism, two subjects I was heavily into at the time.

Then one chance visit to a bookshop and this title seemed to shout out from the shelves, saying ‘Read Me!’ The cover and illustrations are simply stunning, produced by Dalrymple’s wife, Olivia Fraser. They fit hand in glove with the content in a way which leads you in with all the colourful and sensual allure of a Bazaar… but that would perhaps be an ironic observation, in that this book is a travelogue revealing the long slow demise of Orthodox Christianity in the Middle East.

Essentially the book is based on the journey of a Byzantine monk and historian, John Moschos, in 578 AD along the Silk Route which the author retraces, only to find that much of that culturally rich and colourful Christian soaked world has now gone and in further more rapid decline.

Humour and Grief

There are strong elements of humour, similar to Dalrymple’s earlier work ‘In Xandadu’ (which still leaves me in stitches when I re-read it), but ‘Holy Mountain’ is a much more serious, haunting book, leaving you practically grieving for the lost world of Byzantium, the continuation of the Roman Empire in the East.

From the first sentence, where the author describes in plain yet evocative prose the cell in which he is staying at the start of his journey from Mount Athos in Greece, you are led into another world, not only the rather fraught one of today within the author’s mind, but also this lost, remoter world, which somehow seems much more wholesome and meaningful than our own despite all the technology which allows me to write this.

Similarly his all-round historical knowledge of Byzantine and Islamic culture, plus his understanding of architectural detail are stunning, yet written succinctly in such a way as to not put you off with complication. It is a great gift.

Vestiges

In places he finds these vestiges of Orthodox Christianity, monasteries and churches barely holding on, plus apocalyptically minded priests, and his description of the characters he meets fills you with both hope and resignation too, a feeling that his generation might be the last to witness such places and people.

By the end, the author seems like a forlorn character, reminding me of Paul Morel in DH Lawrence’s ‘Sons and Lovers’, as he walks away after his mother had died. The sense of loss and hopelessness are overbearing at times.

In doing this review I have realised I must re-read this wonderful book once again. It was first published in the mid 1990s; I wonder how much of the world he describes is still there 22 years on?

So I can’t recommend this book enough, it brought back my love of reading.

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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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.