Astrology is an ancient and intriguing discipline. I take it very seriously. One can learn about oneself, the cycles of one’s life, current events, history, cosmology, relationships. We can get all worked up over eclipses, transits and things that go bump in the night.
As an astrologer–it is my job to empower you as you explore possibilities, what to do at certain times or how to look forward and make responsible plans or look back at your life and make meaning out of the past. I think it is the astrologer’s job to offer assistance as you wander through life’s peaks and valleys. It is also my job (as I see it) to do my homework, work with integrity, study my craft, all the while weaving together the disciplines and research that allow us to experience aliveness, empowerment and an understanding of what it means to be human.
So–this week (upon returning from NORWAC–the Northwest Astrology Conference held in Seattle every year)—I am charged with the rather daunting task of sharing the wisdom I gained while studying my craft –
Question: What is the proper way to begin a conference and serious course of study?
Answer: by laughing your head off…
On Friday, Rick Tarnas conducted a seminar titled—The Comic Genius: An Archetypal Perspective
Tarnas on numbers of occasions joins John Cleese for what must be wonderful ways to spend a life! Tarnas and Cleese at California Institute of Integral Studies
We spent the day watching various clips from Cleese’s Monty Python series and other comedians and entertainers. We looked at their charts–and frankly in this day and age of rather serious events and transits that indicate a momentous time in our history—-laughing and remembering the healing power of laughter was a gift from the Celestial Comedy Gods.
Tarnas pointed out Mercury and Mars contacts in Cleese’s chart speaking to the notion that the mind takes in information (I’m not quoting him exactly – just from my memory and notes) and then one must defend the ideas. Cleese thrives on the thrust and counter thrust—Tarnas noted that he generally begins his pieces with an argument—a contest.
Cleese also has a T-Square to Uranus and Tarnas points out that “best humorists—have a high Uranian component”—the trickster (Mercury ) saying that which is taboo (Uranus). Think about some of your Aquarian friends—they are often the ones who at some point in the meeting–point at the elephant in the room with an innocent expression—stopping us in our tracks, so to speak. Tricksters indeed.
And talk about talking about that which is taboo!
John Cleese delivered a memorable memorial speech for Graham Chapman at a memorial service held two months later in the Great Hall at St Bartholomew’s Hospital. Cleese delivered a humorous eulogy for his friend Chapman and took advantage of “this glorious opportunity to shock you all on his behalf,” which he then went on to do.
Part of the speech is included below:
Graham Chapman, co-author of the ‘Parrot Sketch,’ is no more.
He has ceased to be, bereft of life, he rests in peace, he has kicked the bucket, hopped the twig, bit the dust, snuffed it, breathed his last, and gone to meet the Great Head of Light Entertainment in the sky.
And I guess that we’re all thinking how sad it is that a man of such talent, of such capability for kindness, for such unusual intelligence, a man who could overcome his alcoholism with such truly admirable single-mindedness, should now so suddenly be spirited away at the age of only forty-eight before he’d achieved many of the things in which he was capable, and before he’d had enough fun.
Well, I feel that I should say, ‘Nonsense! Good riddance to him, the freeloading bastard. I hope he fries.’ And the reason I feel I should say this is he would never forgive me if I didn’t. If I threw away this glorious opportunity to shock you all on his behalf. It’s not a funeral, I grant you, but a memorial service is still pretty good.
It is magnificent, isn’t it? You see, the thing about shock . . . is not that it upsets some people, I think; I think that it gives others a momentary joy of liberation, as we realized in that instant that the social rules that constrict our lives so terribly are not actually very important.
Well, Gray can’t do that for us anymore. He’s gone. He is an ex-Chapman. All we have of him now is our memories. But it will be some time before they fade.
Cheer up—you know what they say:
Tarnas pointed out that great comics have strong Sun / Saturn components in their charts. That is to say that the Sun and Saturn are in some aspect to each other or prominent by house or sign—they are, if you will, in ‘conversation’ and depending on the nature of the relationship it becomes apparent how the comedic archetype takes hold in their manner of delivery.
One example a classic Sun/Saturn comedian is Woody Allen who also has Jupiter in the mix such that even the expanding universe is cause for worry.
He said among many things: I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying.
Steven Colbert was born with the Saturn opposing Pluto conjoining Uranus era in 1964. This funny progressive liberal (Uranus) is a trickster cloaked as a conservative Fox News Commentator. He pretends to be the opposite of what he really thinks and says of himself. It is the only way he can stay sane—to laugh. He says if he didn’t – he’d cry. Did you see him at the Correspondent’s Dinner in 2006? Actually the clip watching Bush’s face is equally as interesting as the court jester speaks and shocks and gets away with it as only the court jester can do. (you can click on the chart for an enlarged image)
Only the best comics (Court Jesters) can pull it off. Tarnas played the clip of Colbert interviewing the head of Ploughshares (an anti-nuclear organization) — the interview itself is a poignant example of the current Saturn–Uranus-Pluto catastrophe. Colbert begins the interview and with a serious face asks if the head of Ploughshares will “at least admit that a nuclear explosion is awesome”
And I cannot forget my favorite Ernestine aka Lily Tomlin. Able to transform into character after character—the characters are real and have a structured presence as well as that Uranian shock effect. Tomlin was born under the 1939 Saturn Pluto square, has Mercury squaring Uranus and her Virgo Sun opposing Saturn. She can make us laugh at ourselves as she becomes aspects that we often want to hide, but never fail to recognize.
Here she is as Tommy Velour w/ Michael Jackson & Elizabeth Taylor 2009
And on the Johnny Carson show–she talks about all her characters–Johnny Carson was my dad’s favorite comic. I’ll bet my dad has some similar planets in his chart–he was one funny guy. (gotta go look)
Spent time today going off on my own for a while, looking at charts of people/friends I think are funny. I am seeing how Mercury and Uranus and Saturnine flavors are present in their charts. I see how those archetypes come alive when laughter just erupts around the dinner table.
Just think about when you are watching Jon Stewart (I don’t have his chart) or laughing with your friends as you or one of them says something that just has you almost on the floor. It is generally unexpected, taking you over and — then it begins to take hold and even if you wanted it to end…you just can’t stop——Laughing.
Laughter loosens up the body, the heart and the mind and I’ll bet we can find all kinds of medical reasons for it being a healthy thing to do – and do a lot. One of the people I laugh with on a regular basis is my sister, Peggy. We just think about each other and the jokes start coming. Sister jokes. My favorite kind! Best friend uncontrollable laughter often accompanied with trips down memory lane (Saturn) when something erupted and took over and we had to pull over to the side of the road if driving. Those times make life worth living, the comedic archetype and the astrological signatures worth looking at. A hell of a homework assignment for this student!
In honor of my Gemini sister and Gemini friends with whom I have shared a world of laughter here is a clip from Victor Borge. He was our grandmother Peggy’s favorite comedian—and since my funny sis, Peggy, has a birthday this month, I chose Borge to honor her and our Nanny Peggy. Borge was a Capricorn, a classical musician with his Sun conjoining Uranus, Mercury opposing Neptune.
Borge famously said: “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people”.
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