Poem: ‘Picture’

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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

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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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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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.

Keck, Cow Parsley, Anthriscus sylvestris

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Where I grew up, which was once part of the Danelaw,  we called it ‘keck’, a common name for cow parsley; some call it wild chervil, or even Queen Anne’s Lace. Well, it sounds like an ancient Norse word, but it could equally be good old Old English. Either way, it is characteristic of this time of year, as spring turns into summer.

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words and pictures ©copyright rp 2016