Astrology Musings: The ‘Divine’, Extraordinary Sarah Bernhardt

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It would seem famous French stage actress Sarah Bernhardt had little going for her when she was born. Her mother, a courtesan, wasn’t married and it’s said she never knew the identity of her father; Sarah was educated in a convent, where she learned the etiquette which would equip her for life.

She was clearly determined to become an actress – and how. Despite being small and skinny, she more than made up for her obvious disadvantages through sheer will power and ambition.

With Cancer rising her ruling ‘planet’ is the Moon, which is involved in the most important feature of the chart.

She has the Moon exactly conjunct Uranus in Aries in the 10th house of career, exactly opposite Mars. Here symbolised is her emotionally intense, dramatic, fiery, at times explosive nature, plus her sheer determination to succeed, whatever the odds – an implacable ambition, plus a great deal of outspokenness, I should imagine.

Saturn, the planet of patience and work, is well aspected to this configuration, hinting that the vast amount of energy from the opposition was offset into painstaking hard work.

Another interesting feature is her Venus conjunct Chiron in Virgo in the 3rd house of the mind, education and communication. This to me indicates her early life in particular, the strict convent schooling which would have been both difficult and character defining.

Venus can stand for femininity and in Virgo it is very particular, functional, precise. Chiron’s presence here shows how difficult this training was for her, but also reveals her life as an example to others, to make the best of a difficult start to life.

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019

Source: Astro-Databank

*Contact me at leoftanner@gmail.com if you would like a personal astrology report.

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Captain Matthew Flinders to return home to Lincolnshire

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Captain Matthew Flinders (1774 – 1814), the English navigator and cartographer who successfully circumnavigated Australia, is to be reburied in his home village of Donington, Lincolnshire. He is also credited with the naming of Australia, or Terra Australis, changing it from New Holland.

Ever since his remains were discovered in Euston in London recently, during excavations in a burial ground for the HS2 project, there has been speculation about where his final resting place would be.

Although a Lincolnshire man, it’s probably true that Flinders is even more famous on the other side of the world in Australia, where many places bear his name. Adelaide for example, capital of South Australia, even has a university named after him.

Bearing this in mind, it is perhaps no surprise that there has been much debate about where he should be reburied. However, probably the most logical resolution, and one certainly supported by his descendants and the Donington community, was to allow his remains to be interred in his home church of Saint Mary and the Holy Rood, the final resting place of other members of his family.

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A recent picture from a flower festival inside Saint Mary and the Holy Rood church in Donington, Lincolnshire.

copyright Francis Barker 2019

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7581935/Captain-Matthew-Flinders-remains-reburied-home-village-HS2-dig.html

Astrology Musings: The brilliant Jean Cocteau

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The remarkable, unconventional, eclectic, multi-faceted brilliance of French artist, writer, designer and producer Jean Cocteau, ought to be shown in his birth chart.

For me the most remarkable feature is his Sun, Chiron (the ‘Wounded Healer’) and the Moon’s north node very close together in Cancer in the 3rd house, with Mars nearby too.

Although this feature would have been common to individuals born around this day, it seems to be particularly personalised in Cocteau’s case by the Moon’s rulership of the 3rd house and the 5th house Moon being in good aspect to the chart ruler Venus conjunct the ascending degree in Taurus. Complicated but remarkable – I will try to explain.

A wounded self esteem

Chiron so close to the Sun in Cancer in the 3rd house indicates that his own self esteem suffered greatly early on in his life. His father (Sun) committed suicide when he was 9 and Jean was to travel about (3rd house) Europe with his mother (Cancer). Though difficult, he was clearly to learn and grow from this.

The strong 3rd house is all about communication, travel, mainly shorter distances. During WW1 he was an ambulance driver, also very 3rd house.

The north node’s inclusion in all of this hints of karmic influences playing a role too; he was meant to immerse himself in the milieu of communication, whether by everyday short distance travel, or writing, rather than through his more natural propensity for longer distance travel and philosophy, as shown by the south node in 9th house.

Saturn in the 4th house also shows difficulties, restrictions in the family, at home and harsh lessons to learn.

Practical and artistic

Taurus rising with Venus close to the ascending degree underlines the artistic practicality required to produces results from the 3rd house communicative potential; Cocteau was a brilliant stage and screen designer as well as artist and writer.

This position for Venus also indicates an attractive individual. However, Neptune is also quite close to Venus and whilst this would have introduced inspiration and a certain alluring changeable quality, which he was noted for, it’s also interesting to note that he did become addicted to opium. A prominent Neptune, although inspiring, can often also show a strong potential for drug taking and addiction – need to escape.

Another indication of constant change is his Mercury in Gemini in the 2nd house in challenging aspect to his Virgo Moon in the 5th house. Here we see a constant readjustment and probably a strong fastidious tendency in practical and creative areas.

His 4th house Saturn, ruler of 10th house of career, in good aspect to the 6th house Uranus, reveals the hard work and unconventional approach he had.

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019

source: Astro-Databank

*Contact me on leoftanner@gmail.com if you would like a personalised astrology report.

 

Astrology Musings: the Creativity of Victor Hugo

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Writer, poet, dramatist, novelist, essayist, painter, architect, critic… his creations include ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’, and the novel ‘Les Miserable’. Few creative geniuses of the 19th century – or at any time – were as eclectic as Victor Hugo.

So what made him tick, astrologically speaking?

I have homed in most particularly to his 5th/11th house axis: love, luck, life (creativity) versus hopes, dreams and wishes – if you will. These themes were to dominate his creative life and his political interests.

Compulsively creative

Here we have the Sun, Pluto and Venus in a loose conjunction in Pisces in the 5th, opposed by Saturn in Virgo. Mercury is also in Pisces in the 5th house in aspect to the expansive Sagittarius Moon and inspirational Neptune.

The 5th house is largely to do with creativity, the children of the mind as well as the body. Pisces is hugely imaginative, sensitive, intensified by Pluto and beautified by Venus in the sign of its greatest flowering – its exaltation. He had a compulsive need to create, an energy which also extended into his emotional life.

Add that inspiring Neptune in his first house in good aspect to communicative Mercury in the 5th house, and we can see just why Hugo was so creatively multi-faceted; he seemed to be able to draw on a vast well of inspiration from all the ages as well as his own.

Social justice ‘warrior’

However, as I said earlier, the triple conjunction of Sun, Pluto and Venus is opposed by a very strict, disciplined Saturn in Virgo in the 11th house of societal issues, and is in a loose conjunction with Jupiter in the last degree of Leo.

This great conjunction occurs every 20 years and is often tied to the ‘birth and death of kings’. It certainly relates to political cycles and, so tensely personalised in his birth chart, is an indication that he was always in tune with, or perhaps we should say troubled by, the great political issues of the day, which indeed he was.

His Saturn is also ruler of his 3rd and 4th houses of communication and home and family. So this may also relate to the fact that his parents never seemed to get on, a lingering dichotomy in his life which must have had deep psychological effects.

Controversial yet popular

All this, plus his ruling planet Mars in ‘off beat’ Aquarius in good aspect to revolutionary Uranus in Libra, may also be indicative of the themes he used in many of his writings; he was an outspoken and harsh critic of the political and social injustices during his life and was not afraid to court with controversy. He went into exile in Belgium and then the Channel Islands in the 1850s.

Despite such controversy, he was a hugely popular writer amongst the people, even in his own lifetime and there was a massive outpouring of grief when he died in 1885.

copyright Francis Barker 2019

source: Astro-Databank

*Contact me at leoftanner@gmail.com if you would a personal astrological report.

Haiku: Lives on Mars

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If we go to Mars
we’ll take our poison with us
Hail the god of war

copyright Francis Barker 2019

Astrology Musings: Helmut Ruhemann, definitive art restorer

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Saint Luke Drawing the Virgin By Rogier van der Weyden – a prime example of the restorative work of Helmut Ruhemann.

Helmut Ruhemann was one of the best and best known art conservators and restorers of the early to mid 20th century, who exuded a highly exacting and painstaking attitude towards his profession.

He kept full documentation of his work, as well as photographic records which continue to highlight the methods underlying art conservation to this day.

It is perhaps not surprising to find Helmut was a sun Taurean, but he was also born at the exact time of the New Moon (his chart ruler) with Mercury in close attendance in his 11th house. Here we have the epitome of patience and endurance, but also an appreciation of art as Taurus is ruled by Venus.

His Venus (Sun ruler) is actually in impatient, fiery Aries in the 10th house of career, in good aspect to Mars in Gemini.

An ardent love of art brought down to earth

This would have given him that initial, strong, ardent love and appreciation of art, the need to communicate and disseminate his knowledge of it, and also seek to make this his career (10th house and Mars house ruler).

However, the strong Taurean elements would have grounded this energy in totally practical ways, and this earthy activity being in the 11th house, means that he invariably sought share this with others in the same field as himself, as a way to make a body of knowledge within his profession.

I think we can also see here his willingness to use modern means, x rays for instance, in the process of restoration but only as a way to give a truer, more conservative result, totally in keeping with the original creation where elements like brushstrokes were left unaffected.

One of his most famous restorations is that of early Netherlandish painter Rogier van der Weyden’s Saint Luke Drawing the Virgin, a task which totally suited his exacting approach.

Nervous energy and home/career challenges

His Mars is at the apex of a fairly tight T-square involving an angular Jupiter Saturn opposition in mutable signs and houses. There is a lot of nervous energy here.

Jupiter is conjunct the MC here too, and whilst this may be an indication of career success, it clearly was no easy ride to the top, this energy being harnessed and funnelled down to quite precise, deliberate artistic channels.

The fact that he decided to leave his homeland of Germany in 1933 was probably all bound up with this, that natal Saturn exactly conjunct his IC (home, family, origin) maybe always left him feeling a sense of overriding duty, even privation at home (wherever that might be), especially so with Jupiter opposing, offering wider opportunities in the outside world, which he eventually found in Great Britain.

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019

source: Astro-Databank

***If you would like your own astrology report creating, or one for a loved one or friend, please contact me at leoftanner@gmail.com

England’s Heritage in Photos: Corby Glen Church, Lincolnshire – Medieval Wall Paintings

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Lincolnshire in the east of England has some wonderful, often underrated medieval churches.

One such is in the south west of the county, in the lovely village of Corby Glen. Here on many of the walls of the church you can see paintings and illustrations of religious and spiritual imagery, representing stories from the Bible and the faith and beliefs in general of the later medieval period.

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If you look carefully, you can make out several layers of art, where older ones have been superseded with new work.

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During the Reformation in the 1500s, all of this art was whitewashed over, part of the process of removing all imagery, which also meant stripping out idols and even rood screens which separated the nave from the chancel.

It was only in more recent times that this treasure trove of art was rediscovered through church restoration.

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Today this art represents some of the most important medieval imagery not only in the county of Lincolnshire, but also in the whole of England.

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Devil in the detail.

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Explanation of the imagery inside the church.

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The beautiful setting of the church of Saint John the Evangelist, Corby Glen, Lincolnshire.

copyright words and pictures Francis Barker 2019