In the most blatant piece of yellow journalism I have witnessed since… well… the last time I read the same newspaper, the Daily Mail has announced that due to what it perceives as a flaw in the new Equal Marriages bill, Pagan Weddings could be legalised in England and Wales. NB: in the mentality of the Daily Mail, this is supposedly a Bad Thing.
At the moment, if you want to have a Pagan wedding in England or Wales, you are obliged to come to an arrangement which is common on the continent of Europe, i.e. have two wedding ceremonies – the first being the kind that you would ideally want as a ceremony, but with a second which consists of a quick ten-minute jobbie down the Registrar’s office on Monday morning to actually make it legal. Now it so happens that Christian churches almost always have their own registrar to attend their marriages which is why a Christian couple only needs the one ceremony. Thus: if a Pagan religion were allowed to have the same arrangement, this would spare Pagan couples the extra expense and bureaucracy as well.
Needless to say, however, the true situation is far more complicated.
The unfortunate fact of the matter is that the amendment to the Equal Marriages bill which is the source of the controversy applies only to Humanists – not to other named groups. The Daily Mail therefore has conveniently pulled some “anonymous government sources” out of its arse to supposedly say that “ridiculous” (sic) sects like pagans and even Jedis could mount a legal challenge to the Act on the basis of some sort of human rights discrimination type bullshit and force the recognition of their own ceremonies as well.
“But what,” I hallucinate that I hear my many millions of pagan (and even Jedi) readers say, “would be wrong with that?”
As far as the Daily Mail is concerned, everything. As far as people whose opinions count, however, there is a more subtle objection. In an ideal world, members of any religion ought not to have to resort to litigation – which may prove costly, time-consuming and stressful – to vindicate their basic rights. Therefore the best solution is not to have to resort to a dodgy legal challenge, but to actually have the right to marriage written in the black and white of the statute.
So come on, Members of Parliament! And Peers as well! The bill is currently before Parliament and you have the power to propose a suitably worded amendment which would allow such groups to conduct proper ceremonies. Search your feelings – you know it to be true.
For an unpublished author or unproduced screenwriter finding a literary agent who will represent your work and take your career to the next level is as critical as the ability to write gripping novels or attention-grabbing screenplays. But finding representation can be a frustrating quest.
Says Diana Rubino, a multi-published author who is currently on her third agent, “I found it as hard to find an agent as it is to find a publisher; you need to query many of them before finding one who's willing to represent you.
You are going to heaven when you die. But not all of you are. In fact, probably only 18% of you to be precise. This may sound rather mean-spirited, but it is at least more generous than the 144,000 predicted by the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
According to a report in The Daily Express, 18% was the number of people who reported having a Near Death Experience after having been resuscitated after cardiac arrest. This is curious because if NDEs were a purely biological phenomenon, surely all the people sampled (i.e. who had been resuscitated after cardiac arrest) would have experienced one?
However, before you all start converting (back) to Christianity, the available data does not necessarily support any particular religion. NDEs have been reported by those of diverse or no faith, including at least one lifelong atheist (who admittedly became religious thereafter). For those that purportedly do not believe in the afterlife, the form of these NDEs nevertheless conform to cultural expectations.
Or so it is alleged. As a metaphysician I wonder if it is not more complex than this. Is it not more likely that in the legendary past, people had experienced NDEs and used these to inform their belief in the after-life? Instead of the latter informing the former?
Earth Day was first instituted in the United States on April 22nd 1970 by Senator Gaylord Nelson, Representative Pete McCloskey, and a number of other concerned individuals including one Julian Koenig, a PR Executive. The idea was that every University and School would set aside one day each year exclusively for teaching its students about the Environment. Since its beginnings 43 years ago Earth Day continues to be marked as an unofficial Environmental awareness day.
Why, though, was it held on April 22nd? According to Wikipedia:
Senator Nelson chose the date in order to maximize participation on college campuses for what he conceived as an “environmental teach-in”. He determined the week of April 19–25 was the best bet as it did not fall during exams or spring breaks. Moreover, it did not conflict with religious holidays such as Easter or Passover, and was late enough in spring to have decent weather. More students were likely to be in class, and there would be less competition with other mid-week events—so he chose Wednesday, April 22.
It also happened to be Mr Koenig’s birthday!
However, when Your Humble Blogmaster first heard about this Earth Day business, I did not have access to the historical detail as related above. What I did see, however, was the influence of forces beyond mortal ken at work. Specifically: April 22nd is when the Sun first enters Taurus – the sign of Fixed Earth. So, either Senator Nelson was secretly into astrology as well, or in fact Earth Day is decreed by the stars!
This article, originally posted in 2012, is being re-posted today in honour of Bicycle Day.
Some time last year I suggested that if a psychedelic substance is alleged to have a medicinal or therapeutic use, we should be studying it scientifically, not prosecuting people who import it (see the post: Free Peter Aziz!). Now it appears that a load of scientists at Harvard Medical School have heeded my words and done just that! Either that or they have succeeded in convincing their University to pay for them to get off their faces for the weekend.Apparently a “new” study in the Journal of Pharmacology suggests that LSD can be used to treat alcoholism – because the effect of going on a trip can cause the acid-head to re-evaluate his addiction from a Higher perspective. I say “new” but this is the Daily Telegraph we’re talking about, and given their reputation for up to the minute scientific reportage it was probably published back in the sixties. Apparently, though, it was quite a party because they had 536 volunteers.
Note: the basic principle – that a psychedelic agent can enable one to take control of an illness, by allowing one to view it from a state of expanded consciousness – is pretty much identical with the rationale behind Ayahuasca use. However, the difference would be that with one you would be sorting out your problems whilst listening to Jimi Hendrix and early Pink Floyd; with the other you would be doing so whilst chundering mightily.At some point, however, all these scientists are going to get a clue that it isn’t necessarily the drug but the psychedelic state that causes the beneficial effects: hence they should be working to induce the state without artificial means.
Margaret Thatcher (1925 – 2013), if the news is to be believed, must surely be the most controversial politician since Adolf Hitler. However, I am not going to use this blog post to any way hint that the similiarities are more than superficial. Oh no! Instead I am going to offer my comments on the news that her funeral is taking place on Wednesday 17th April 2013 at St Paul’s Cathedral.
The gist of my advice as an astrologer is as follows:
Avoid being in the City of London that day, as there is going to be a massive riot.
“Oh but Alex,” I hallucinate that I hear millions of you say. “Tell us something we don’t already know!” The fact is that the stars are actually confirming what most people are suspecting.
Here is a chart drawn up for the proposed time, date & place of the funeral.
Now in Mundane astrology, the Moon represents the general populace, whilst Uranus is the planet of revolutionary change, rule-breaking, etc. Uranus is square to the Moon on the day of the funeral. Or in other words, Uranus the planet of widespread public disorder is agitating the Moon, the planet of the people to take to the streets.
Meanwhile, Pluto, the planet of secret conspiracies and explosive transformation, forms a T i.e. square to Uranus and opposite the Moon. So don’t be surprised if some terrorists are going to try and stir things up as well.
So, unless you are actually a rioter yourself, I would suggest staying out of the capital that day. Also, one should expect sporadic outbreaks of unrest for approximately two to three days thereafter.
News today that Nazi propaganda rag the Daily Mail continues its unhealthy fascination with pagans by running a piece on them that stoops to its usual levels of journalistic credibility. To wit: amongst the Metropolitan Police Force there are apparently four spiritualists, “a pagan and a DRUID” (sic) who are serving officers.
Yeah I know, technically they could have said “four spiritualists and two pagans,” and the article does correct itself later on. Still, what’s a little yellow-journalism when trying to concoct a good headline? Nevertheless: just in case there are Daily Mail readers coming to my blog to receive enlightenment to the true state of affairs, and more importantly for the comedy value to the rest of my millions of readers, I will continue.
This all comes about after someone made a Freedom of Information request to the Met in relation to non-mainstream religions. In relation to the one officer who is a druid, the Mail helpfully explains
According to the Romans, Druids practised human sacrifice 2,000 years ago, but modern day druidism – called neo-Druidism – focuses on the worship of nature, especially trees.
Pagans are described as people
… which worship a string of gods and festivals according to archaic religions which pre-date Christianity.
Spiritualists are described thus:
Spiritualists and mediums believe that there is life after death and that by holding seances, the dead can talk to the living, either through direct communication or the Ouija board.
I’m not actually sure that this is the case! If the marketing for Ouija boards is anything to go by, most of those who use them are silly people with no occult training who are out to scare themselves for kicks. Becoming a proper medium, on the other hand, involves several years training within a development circle, so that one learns not only to contact the departed but also to do so in a safe, respectful, and appropriate manner – and not to freak out when doing so. Nevertheless: I’m surprised they don’t employ more mediums – after all they could come in immensely useful in solving homicide cases!
Mercifully, the Daily Mail goes on to reassure us that:
The list found that no officers were Devil worshippers – also known as Occultists …
Cheers, Daily Mail, for lumping all occultists as Devil worshippers! Nevertheless, though, the good news is that police officers are perfectly entitled, legally speaking, to hold beliefs such as paganism and druidism due to freedom of religion being enshrined in UK Human rights law. However, perhaps the most blatant display of editorial bias on the Daily Mail’s part is that in relation to advice from the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the paper says:
Druids, vegans and green activists should be given special treatment at work, according to ‘lunatic’ advice from the equalities watchdog.
Inevitably the last word is given to a rent-a-quote Tory MP, Dominic Raab, who says
This is a recipe for every crank and crazy to take their boss for a ride. The EHRC has become an expensive taxpayer-funded laughing stock.
So next time you are in London for a drunken night-out in Leicester Square – or celebrating the death of Britain’s greatest Prime Minister – or both – spare a thought that there is a one in 15,500 chance that the officer arresting you is in fact a Pagan, and consequently liable to be labelled by the Mail as a lunatic.
News today that Jim Bowen lookalike and head of the Roman Catholic Church Pope Francis has told a congregation
“In order to solve their problems many people resort to fortune tellers and tarot cards. But only Jesus saves, and we must bear witness to this! He is the only one.”
Now I’m a tarot reader amongst other things, so I could be forgiven for interpreting this as a dig at me! In fact, what I would actually say that if the operative word in this sentence is “saves” then technically the Pope is correct. Tarot cards do not “save” someone, in the sense of salvation of ones immortal soul. One has to look to the theology of ones own religion to determine what is necessary for such salvation.
However the Pope does make a terrible leap from going from “solving problems” to talking about “salvation.” The Tarot does help solve peoples problems – it gives suggestions and makes people think of things that they would not otherwise think about. The Tarot encourages and stimulates an intuitive approach which draws out answers from the praeternatural regions of consciousness. Who would turn down the opportunity of asking a friend for advice by saying: “I’m sorry I cannot listen to your opinion – because only Jesus saves.” ?
Basketball-loving dictator Kim Jong-Un has been in the news this week. I personally think he is getting a bad press. After all, who among us, if they became a despot, would not immediately start by drawing up a list of countries to nuke? He’s only human after all!
Nevertheless, after my spectacular success with the new Pope the other day, I have decided to bring my powers of astrology to bear on the Supreme Leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Kim Jong-Un’s Natal Chart
The first problem one comes up against as an astrologer is that there is very little publicly available information about Kim Jong-Un. For example, Wikipedia says:
North Korean authorities have stated that his birthdate is January 8, 1982, but outside speculation by analysts and observers believe his birthdate to be around 1983 or early 1984.
Helpful, this is not! Nevertheless, I shall humour the North Korean authorities for one moment by assuming that their data is in fact accurate. I shall further make the assumption that KJU was born in the general vicinity of Pyongyang. I have used an approximated birth-time (12 noon local time). The resulting chart would therefore look like this:
NB: Mars and Pluto both square Sun – this man was born with serious chip on his shoulder!
As a Sun Capricorn, Moon Gemini person, other astrologers have speculated that
Your friends are likely to tell you that you could do better, more important work if you tried, and they are probably right. But so long as you are getting some degree of acclaim you are not likely to bother.
You run the risk of getting hypnotized by the sound of your own voice and of conceiving yourself in too heroic proportions: thus you run the risk of pomposity. You don’t like to be laughed at, and while relishing a joke, prefer to have someone else the butt of it.
Kim Jong-Un’s Accession to Power
Kim Jong-Un was proclaimed Supreme Leader on 28 December 2011. A chart drawn up for that event, compared with the (approximated) natal chart above, shows the following:
As you can see, not only did KJU recently have his Saturn-return (which everyone does roundabout that age), but Saturn was transitting Pluto, the planet of Explosive Transformations. A Saturn-Return marks a decisive event in one’s life which is the signal to make the transition from youth to the responsibilities of adulthood. For most people this would be something like settling down, getting a proper job, getting married, start thinking about kids, etc. For Kim Jong Un, it was becoming dictator of a south-east Asian country.
As regards the Saturn-Pluto transit, Cafe Astrology says (inter alia):
Your first reaction to any changes coming into your life is to hold onto those things which once symbolized security for you and which now seem to be under attack.
Try not to react automatically when something you’ve cherished seems to be threatened.
This is a difficult time period when unexpected demands and responsibilities arise. It seems as if every weak link in your life decides to break now! New obligations are likely to arise both in your personal life and your work.
We may thus begin to understand that when Kim Jong-Un did accede to power, it was at a very stressful time in his life for him, so we should not be surprised that he has so far reacted in the way he has.
The Future For North Korea
“But what,” I hallucinate that I hear you ask, “does the future hold for North Korea under Kim Jong-Un’s rule?” An indication of the likely direction of KJU’s time in power can be gained by looking at the chart for his accession – the outer ring of the chart above. The Sun (representing KJU’s regime itself) and Pluto (the planet of things happening away from public sight), would indicate that KJU is more than ever obsessed with the secrecy which has characterised North Korean politics up to now, and probably has no qualms about resorting to torture and other human rights abuses of political opponents. Sun trine Jupiter would suggest that KJU will find it straightforward to establish his own personality cult. Moreover, the Sun/Pluto square to Uranus also suggests that KJU sees it as his especial mission to harass and bully nearby capitalist regimes, i.e. South Korea, and its allies the United States.
But… does KJU actually want to start a war? I would be inclined to speculate no. The planet Mars in this chart does not appear to form an inharmonious or challenging angle with the Sun, which is what I would have expected had KJU was actually looking forward to hostilities. (Contrast this with a chart drawn up for the coming to power of the current UK government, when the Sun, Moon, and Mars formed a nasty T pattern. Within a year, Britain was involved in new hostilities in Libya).
Mars, however, does form a challenging angle with Mercury, suggesting that the current publicity KJU is generating is essentially posturing and rhetoric. More worryingly, though, it may also indicate the violent repression of freedom of the press, communication, and writers in general – so don’t expect any of my books to be available in North Korea any time soon.