Saint of the Day – 19 January – Saint Wulfstan (c 1008–1095) Bishop of Worcester from 1062 to 1095, Monk, Prior, a man of extreme holiness and penitence who was admired by all, he was a he was a man of iron will, immense charm and unworldly humility and piety. and suffered no luxury, preferring […]Saint of the Day – 19 January – Saint Wulfstan (c 1008–1095) — AnaStpaul
You have to give this band a LOT of credit for sticking to their guns. No – they never became a “trendy” band, but just for that reason alone you need to check them out! There are some good stuff among their huge musical output. Read on! Hawkwind – music more important than money By […]ARTICLE ABOUT Hawkwind FROM New Musical Express, January 16, 1971 — My Things – Music history for those who are able to read.
A review of the 1969 hit-and-miss Pink Floyd album Ummagumma.Pink Floyd – Ummagumma (1969) — The Ultimate Music Library
Jack1956, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons Jack O’ Legs In the folklore of Hertfordshire, England, Jack O’ Legs was a giant and legendary outlaw who helped the poor people of his locality. He was a good archer and used a huge bow to match his size. He was said to live in a […]Hertfordshire Folklore: Jack O’ Legs — Under the influence!
This song, written by guitarist and vocalist Justin Hayward, is from the Moody Blues’ Seventh Sojourn album, released in 1972.
To my mind, this is one of the most beautifully written and produced songs that I know — and so underrated.
What is more, its message is very poignant for our times, a time of change, where new horizons are literally opening up for us, so we can leave all our present nightmares behind. Godspeed to us all.
Copyright Francis 2020
On this day, November 22, 1913 English composer, conductor, and pianist. Edward Benjamin Britten was born He was a central figure of 20th-century British music, with a range of works including opera, other vocal music, orchestral and chamber pieces. His best-known works include the opera Peter Grimes (1945), the War Requiem (1962) and the orchestral […]Edward Benjamin Britten [1913-1976] — Marina Kanavaki
Today is publication day for the slightly revised paperback edition of Edmund: In Search of England’s Lost King, my book about St Edmund of East Anglia and the hunt for his mortal remains published by Bloomsbury. The book has been updated to reflect the most recent developments, including the removal of the tennis courts behind […]Edmund: In Search of England’s Lost King out in paperback — Francis Young
*Today is Saint Edmund’s Day. King Edmund of East Anglia was murdered by the Vikings, to become England’s first Patron Saint.
A review of the best album by Progressive Rock group Deep Purple – Machine Head.Deep Purple – Machine Head (1972) — The Ultimate Music Library
*Remastered version here.
Nothing except the curry is as British as the panto. I’ve made that claim about a lot of things, and it’s true of every last one of them. And I didn’t even make up the comparison, so lots of people have made the claim about lots of things. Nothing is as unoriginal as comparing an […]Oh, no you won’t: A quick history of the British panto — Notes from the U.K.
*Reblogged by Francis Barker 2020 — Creator: blogger, writer, poet, artist, astrologer
After the mysterious William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens is probably ranked second in the all time greats of English writers — though to compare them is difficult as they lived more than two centuries apart and wrote in differing genres.
Neither is it possible to do a credible analysis of the Bard’s birth chart as we don’t know when exactly he was born, whereas we do know when Master Charles Dickens arrived in this troubled world.
It must have been pretty cold that late winter evening in 1812, in the famous port of Portsmouth on the south coast of England. At the time, the mutable earth sign of Virgo was rising on the eastern horizon. I think this pretty much correlates with a known part of the great Victorian writer’s character.
Virgo is always seen as analytical and critical, fussy and fastidious, with the keenest eye for detail and thereby a quick learner. The rising sign gives a good idea as to our approach to life, not necessarily revealing our inner nature.
As the young Charles grew up, this grasp of minutiae was serve him especially well, though this same quality might have led him along many different routes, not necessarily along a literary one. Virgo’s approach could be said to be scientific, though Charles basically lacked a full formal education of the time, for which we perhaps ought to be grateful; had he received one, he might well have chosen a different path and we might never have heard of him.
A Tale of Two Writers
Intriguingly, this may be one of two factors which the young Charles shared with Shakespeare of Stratford Upon Avon, who also appears to have not finished his own formal education. We do know that Dickens worked for a time in a law office in London, which some suspect the young Bard also did back in his day, when he too arrived in London during his so-called ‘missing years’. Dickens was a keen theatre goer too and may have grasped ideas of characterisation from that colourful arena. Virgo is a very keen observer indeed.
With Virgo rising, its ruler, Mercury, becomes the ruler of the chart. Interestingly, Hermes is placed in the cardinal earth sign of Capricorn in the 5th house. Mercury in Capricorn is practical, realistic, systematic and ambitious.
A Serious Mind — With a ‘Twist’
But this Mercury is also in a positive aspect with Uranus, ‘the magician’ in the 3rd house, also associated with the mind. In other words, his mind was practically inventive — with a twist of genius, one would suspect.
Mercury in Capricorn denotes a mind which must see definite results from the considerable effort put in, mentally. The 5th house is the creative arena, where children of the mind are hewn, served by the brilliance of Uranus from the third house.
Saturn is also in its own sign of Capricorn in the same house. He is powerfully placed here, underlining the seriousness in which he applied himself to his creativity. At times it must have been a joyless experience — but he was determined to succeed.
Here then is part of the root of his ambition as a writer; what he may have lacked in education, he made up with in sheer graft and more than a little invention. His prodigious output is testimony to that, with 15 novels, five novellas, hundreds of short stories and non-fiction articles, as well as countless letters.
But this is only the beginning of the extent of what was a very well developed mind. If Mercury gives an indication of the general everyday quality of mind, then Jupiter reveals the more expansive and aspirational side.
Dickens’ Jupiter is found in the mutable air sign of Gemini, high up in the tenth house of goals and career. Here is great flexibility, plus a curiosity and restlessness, a quality which he could apply to his career as a journalist, writer, as well as a lecturer and performer. There was something of the showman about him.
The 3rd and 9th houses are also indicative of the quality of mind. A Scorpio 3rd house in the whole sign house division method, reveals a mental intensity and investigative quality, bolstered here, as I have already stated, by the presence of the eccentric Uranus.
A Well Developed Mind
What is more, the ruler of Scorpio, Mars, is found in fiery Aries in the 8th house. Here is a person of some energy and verve, even a quick temper, but who applies it in the area of shared security, deeper concerns, such as investigation. Had he pursued his early career as a journalist, he might well have reached great heights there too. But he had his own path to follow.
His 9th house (higher mind again) is Taurus, ruled by Venus, which is found in sensitive and sentimental Pisces in the 7th house, closely conjunct the then undiscovered Pluto. Venus in Pisces has strong feelings, an almost spiritual ability to empathise with others, especially so in the 7th house of relationships. He definitely had the ability to put himself in other people’s shoes.
The Pursuit of Social Justice
Pluto here only deepens this tendency; this may well correlate with his lifelong pursuit of justice for the poor and particularly poor children, whose plight he described so movingly in many of works. To say this man had a social conscience would be an understatement.
Equally, we also know that Dickens’ was a very fine mimic, able to take on the persona of others that he came across; this also correlates with his Venus/Pluto conjunction in Pisces in the 7th house. There is little wonder that when it came to portraying characters in print, he was able to make them seem so realistic, his Virgo ascendant giving him the ability to fine tune those intrinsic qualities of character.
I have said a lot already, but not yet mentioned the Sun or Moon, two of the key factors in a birth chart. His sun in Aquarius in the 6th house describes his basic inner nature. Here is a man, who despite his deeply felt compassion for others, could also detach himself if so wished and thereby do greater good. He identifies with work and service to others in this regard, too.
Aquarius is said to be unusual, but I think this has only grown over the past two centuries after an increasing number of astrologers have made Uranus the prime ruler of this sign. I think this is an error.
Emotionally Expressive and Sentimental
Aquarius is ruled by Saturn, but the side of Saturn which plans for the longer future, at a time of late winter in the north of the world when general preparations are made for the onset of spring. Aquarius is a carer too, but not in the same way as the deeply personal uniting principle of Venus in sensitive Pisces.
His Moon is in Sagittarius, very close to Neptune in the 4th house. So here is yet another facet of this multi-dimensional character. He can be emotionally expressive, sometimes overly so and gushing. He is also deeply sensitive and sentimental about issues regarding home, family, women and the past.
A Host of Characters
Here may lie another facet of his ability to write so convincingly about the lives of people in the mid 19th century, aided by several other sensitive areas of his chart I have alluded to above. He writes so well because he feels so strongly. Yet none of this may have been possible if he hadn’t got the ability to compartmentalise, using his considerable intellectual gifts to formally present us with those wonderful creations in print.
Charles Dickens, like all of us, was several characters rolled into one. But his particular chemistry was one which gave sublime literary expression to the troubles and the characters of his time — and for that we must all be eternally grateful.
Copyright Francis Barker 2020