Monday, 16 May 2011

Caput Algol: DUCK!

The fixed star Algol has fascinated me for years. I even named one of my cats Perseus. And so with the Sun approaching conjunction of the fearsome Gorgon's head during the full moon, I thought we could reflect (as opposed to look directly at) this fixed star.
More Algol here.
Firstly, there's been some pretty gruesome news in Tenerife with the beheading of an innocent grandmother. I don't know the woman's birth details so I can't comment on whether or not she has personal contacts to Algol but it seems very "coincidental" that the news of her beheading emerged on the very same day as Nick Berg's beheading a few years ago--on the day when the Sun was approaching Algol.
Anne Boleyn (5 May 1507) and was executed by beheading and had Mercury conjunct Algol (Algol was at 19 Taurus in 1507). Saddam Hussein (28 April 1937) also had Mercury conjunct Algol and was executed by hanging.
I also think it's pretty interesting that Princess Diana had Venus on Algol. She wasn't beheaded but her lover, Dodi Alfayed, died of head injuries in their fatal car crash. I found it a little alarming that Prince William, who also has Venus on Algol, would give his mother's ring to Kate. I'm not predicting head injuries, I'm just saying the symbolism of Algol may be a little hard to shake: personal planets conjunct Algol are said to make pretty intense personalities. Prince William is certainly affected by the Al-ghoulesque themes.
But headlessness isn't necessarily the compulsary manifestation of Algol. Here's a few others:
Julie Gregory, author of "Sickened" the story of a child whose mother had Munchausen by proxy, has a birthday today. She wasn't beheaded but she is the victim of some very strange parenting from someone who seems to be quite sick in the head.

Debra Winger, Sun on Algol, is known for her intense, don't-mess-with-me gaze as well as her unusual voice (Taurus rules the throat).
Leo Buscaglia, "Dr Love" had Venus conjunct Algol. Although he was renowned for his courses entitled "Love 1A," the queues of people who wanted to hug him following his lectures and his bestselling book "Love," he never married.
Tough guy James Caan had his descendant and Mars on Algol. He was married four times producing children with each union.
The plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, Ritchie Valens and the pilot of the plane they were flying in also had Mars conjunct Algol. The all died of massive traumas to the brain. Additionally, the pilot had Mars opposite Algol and Valens had Uranus conjunct Algol (just like John Lennon and Bob Dylan).
There's tons of stuff on the web about Algol but here's a few things to bear in mind:
1) Algol doesn't always mean headlessness but often there are elements of the myth associated in the person's life: jealousy, being "head strong," and intensity.
2) Algol is currently at 26 degrees Taurus but owing to precession, moves one degree every 72 years.
3) Here's a few sites of interest for Algol lovers everywhere
The late, great Diana Rosenberg wrote the ultimate Algol article.
4) A lot of people who have Algol contacts haven't lost their heads
5) A lot of people who don't have Algol contacts have lost their heads
6) A lot of astrologers treat Algol with a pinch of salt.

Make a joke out of Algol I hear you ask?
Okee dokee. . .
What can you never give the headless horseman?
A headache!
And of course, there's always a fine line of you so ugly jokes to choose from. . .
1.You're so ugly, when you walk into the bank they turn off the cameras.
2.If ugliness were bricks, you would be the Great Wall Of China.
3.You're so ugly, you went to a haunted house and came out with an application.
4.If ugliness was a crime, you'd get the electric chair.
5.You were so ugly at birth, your parents named you Shit Happens.
6.You're so ugly, your mate won't have to worry about birth control... your face will do just fine.
7.You're so ugly, you could model for death threats.
8.You're so ugly, when you were born they put tinted windows on your incubator.
9.You're so ugly, you have to sneak up on your mirror.
10.You're so ugly, when you look in the mirror your reflection turns to stone.
11.You're so ugly, when you sit in the sand the cats try to bury you

Friday, 6 May 2011

Flat Earth

A couple of years ago, I met the lovely Christine Garwood, author of “Flat Earth: the History of an Infamous Idea”. She was presenting her findings about the very interesting Flat Earth Society at a Lodge History seminar. The Flat Earth Society asks some very interesting questions about some things we take for granted.

One of the most difficult things for me to do when I first started studying astronomy several (a-hem) years ago was to get the images in my head to move in a 3-D circular motion. For example, on paper, the phases of the moon look like this:

But in reality, it looks nothing like this as we experience it on earth and it was difficult to train my brain to get the earth and moon to move in rotation and revolution. It was a similar problem with understanding retrograde motion:

But I do understand (I think) anyway why the earth must be a sphere and not a flattened disk: because Aristotle said so!

OK, maybe it’s more to do with the fact that these days I am much more adept at getting the imaginary earth in my head to rotate and revolve around an imaginary sun. All the same, it’s not such a bad idea to try to see something from another person’s point of view every now and again. Even if you do think they’re wrong.

To celebrate getting it wrong. . .here’s a little Mars opposite Uranus joke just for you:

Tony was 6 years old and was staying with his grandmother for a few days.

He'd been playing outside with the other kids, when he came into the house and asked her, 'Grandma, what's that called when two people sleep in the same bedroom and one is on top of the other?' She was a little taken aback, but she decided to tell him the truth. 'Well, dear, it's called sexual intercourse. Oh, Little Tony said, 'OK,' and went back outside to play with the other kids.

A few minutes later he came back in and said angrily, 'Grandma, it isn't called sexual intercourse. It's called Bunk Beds. And Jimmy's mom wants to talk to you.'