David vs. David, Part II

Remember earlier this year how David Cook and David Archuleta were vying to be the next American Idol?

I wasn’t as lucky in calling that contest as I was in picking the Philadelphia Phillies over the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series. I thought Archuleta would win by a hair. But my friend and commenter Chris got it right by looking at the asteroid Juno.

Now, the two Davids are duking it out on the airwaves with their rival debut albums, according to the New York Post.

Back on May 16, when I wrote about the two singers, they both had their progressed Suns close to 24 degrees of Capricorn, even though Cook is a Sagittarius and Archuleta is a Capricorn and they were born eight years apart.

Of course, a few months later their Suns are still moving in synch. Here’s Archuleta’s chart, courtesy of Astrodienst, with transits and progressions as of Nov. 2. And here’s Cook’s horoscope, with the same parameters.

As transiting Jupiter closes in on their respective progressed Suns, both Davids should be topping the charts through the end of the year. One might say their continued “rivalry” will help them both.

Saturn in Virgo: Handmade Nation

Folks, something really big is happening out there. As usual, I’m late to the party and I’m going to wax nostalgic about my Army brat childhood somewhere in this post.

First, kudos to Gastriques, my faithful tipster, who sent me a link a few weeks ago about Etsy, a eBay for handmade crafts. Duly noted, but not yet a trend in my mind. Then, last Thursday, while I was reading The New York Times (which used to benefit from the insight of Gastriques), I noticed an article in the Home section about the modern-day mother of Handmade Nation: a crafty chick called Faythe Levine.

So far, so good. Then I noticed that Jim Kunstler, my guru on the post-oil future, has written a book called World Made by Hand, a novel about an apocalyptic future where we’re not knitting sweaters for fun or to express our creativity. Handmade Nation, World Made by Hand: I sense a trend here.

Today, I stopped on Main Street in Beacon, N.Y., to participate in our “Second Saturday,” where there are always lots of gallery openings and other interesting happenings (as they used to say on Mod Squad. I stopped by Paper Presence to admire the window full of origami cranes, a continuation of the dream of Hiroshima victim Sadako Sasaki, and then stepped into a garage-cum-workshop with saws, hammers, and other tools artistically displayed on the wall.

This was the venue of the Handmade Calvacade of Etsy vendors that rolled into Beacon. The vendors were mostly hipsters from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, who had to restrain themselves from rolling their eyes when I asked: “What’s Etsy?” Of course, I knew, but the journalist in me had to play dumb to get information. I bought a couple of really cool tote bags made from embossed Indian burlap sacks and decorated with ribbon and beads.

The Handmade Calvacade seems to be a younger, groovier version of the craft bazaar that is well-known to church ladies and militry wives. I remember in the early Seventies when my Mom complained that the general’s wife at Fort Riley, Kans. was snubbing her because she didn’t knit enough hats for the Officers Wives Club’s Christmas bazaar. Yes, crafty folks can get catty and petty.

What’s driving all this hipster interest in making things by hand? It’s definitely Saturn in Virgo, which is fueling an appreciation for craftsmanship. But I believe this trend is being electrified by the opposition with Uranus in Pisces. By buying something handmade at Etsy, I’m declaring to the world that I’ve rejected the crap at the mall in favor of unique things made by hand, and I’m on the cutting edge.

The handmade movement seems a little more gritty and low-budget than the upscale arts and crafts exhibition held in places like Lincoln Center and Grand Central Terminal in New York. It also seems more political than artsy-fartsy.

Making things by hand can indeed be revolutionary. Think of Gandhi with his spinning wheel, exhorting Indians to reject the textiles made in British mills.

Who is the loser in the handmade movement? Wal-Mart, with all its cheesy Chinese goods. Who is the winner? Wal-Mart, the only store in my neighborhood where you can still buy fabric by the yard, an embroidery hoop, thread, and other tools of the crafty trades.

Let me leave you with my reminiscence of the coolest mall I ever visited. It was in Japan, where peak shopping experiences abound. The mall that blew my mind was near Mount Aso, Japan’s largest active volcano. This was a place where you could drop in unannounced and learn how to make handmade paper, arrange flowers, or do calligraphy. Yes, I was a consumer. I was spending money. But after two or so hours, I left with something I had made by hand.

What did the adults do with the kids? Well, this crafts center mall had day care, a working farm, and a petting zoo!

I’ve got to study Japan’s chart, but I think this nation epitomizes the yen (pun intended!) to make something by hand. I also think the Land of the Rising Sun has a great appreciation for nature and generally knows how to live in a civilized fashion, though I can do without the special slippers for the loo.

I’ve written previously about the Japanese version of Ikea, a store called Muji, which I think epitomizes Saturn in Virgo.

Obviously, the crafts revival has been percolating for quite while in the U.S. It never went out of fashion if you were a member of 4-H and working on a quilt for the county fair. But the handmade movement seems ready to go mainstream in a big way.

What are you making by hand? It’s not too early to start making your holiday gifts because I’m predicting this will be a Handmade Christmas, Yuletide, Saturnalia, Hannukah, and Kwanzaa.

Timothy Leary with a Twist

Back in the Sixties, Timothy Leary encouraged his followers to “Turn on, tune in, drop out.” That was when Saturn in Pisces opposed Uranus in Virgo, which was also moving to a conjunction with revolutionary Pluto.

This time around, Saturn is in Virgo and opposing Uranus in Pisces. I say we’ve got to “Turn off (the computer, the TV, the iPod, the BlackBerry), tune out (the noise and hype), drop in (to our true selves).”

I don’t want to stop blogging, but I know that I can’t be online 24/7. It’s not good to be cut off from nature in this way. You can’t smell the roses if you’re constantly checking your BlackBerry.

I took a road trip with my niece and nephew this summer. As we drove across country, my nephew was constantly instant-messaging his friends on his Sidekick, while my niece was listening to music on her iPod. In the morning, the first thing they would do was turn on the Disney Channel. Of course, they both have Neptune/Uranus in Capricorn opposing my Sun so they were bound to bring an electrical charge into my orbit.

The only time I saw them “unplugged” was in the swimming pool or at the dinner table.

I think that when Neptune moves into Pisces, we’re going to have a backlash against technology. Maybe everyone will escape by going fishing (Pisces).

Those Hovering Helicopter Parents

Evidently, generational astrology is in the air. Just a few days before I wrote a post on “Pluto in Virgo for President,” Beth Turnage at Astrology Explored wrote a fascinating article looking at the astrological explanation for “helicopter parents.”

There was nothing wrong with Baby Boomers arranging play dates for their Gen Y toddlers; it gets a little weird when they tag along on their kids’ job interviews. Beth explains why Pluto in Leo parents have a hard time letting go here.

The Gloucester High Pregnancy Pact and the Summer Solstice Chart

I didn’t post on the 2008 Summer Solstice chart, but I did make some comments over at Jude’s Threshold (see my blogroll) about the chart, which has Mars in Leo in the eighth house of sexuality opposing North Node conjunct Neptune in Aquarius (collective illusions or disease).

Here’s a link to Jude’s marked-up chart, which is a work of art. (Jude’s an artist, by the way.): http://judecowell.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/2008-summer-solstice-jan-20.jpg

In my comment of June 10, I speculated this aspect could produce concern about children’s obesity or an outbreak of sexually transmitted disease among teens. What I didn’t foresee was that a group of 17 teenage girls agreeing to get pregnant and raise their children together would create a stir on the national scene.

That was the story coming out of Gloucester (Mass.) High School on June 18, admittedly two days before the Summer Solstice. But it picked up momentum over the weekend as the facts of the story have been questioned by other media outlets as various local officials denied the existence of a formal pact among the young women.

Here’s the original story: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1815845,00.html and a link to a followup piece by Kathleen Kingsbury, the author of the article: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1817272,00.html?xid=rss-topstories

Obviously, this isn’t the only health story about teens that the Summer Solstice chart points to, but it’s interesting nonetheless. I’ve copied my June 10 comment to Jude below, with the relevant section in boldface:

“Jude — I read that Mars in Leo in the eighth house as being children or young people, not necessarily warriors, which I would equate more with Mars in Aries.
With Neptune, North Node, and Chiron opposing the Mars in Leo, I could see a lot of concern about children’s health and getting kids away from video games, the Internet, and TV and outside to play (Mars in Leo).
The concern about children being overweight is already out there, but I could see some kind of replay of the children’s fitness program of the 1960s. Also, there could be issues about vaccines or children who are uninsured. I think that eighth house in a national chart could have to do with insurance.
Mars in Leo in the eighth could also pertain to the sexuality of young people. Maybe some kind of new contagious disease is out there.
I like the Venus/Sun in the seventh house, even with an out-of-sign opposition from Pluto.
Sun/Venus in the seventh — more emphasis on socializing at home with friends, families, and neighbors than traveling. “Come over to my house for a potluck barbecue!” is how I read this. Even though it’s in cost-conscious Capricorn, the Jupiter/Moon conjunction could also be about socializing at home, I think. So cheer up and fire up that barbie! — Monica”

Check out Jude’s full treatment of the Summer Solstice here: http://judecowell.wordpress.com/2008-summer-solstice/

Jude and I aren’t always on the same page politically (she sees more conspiracy in the world than I do), but her sense of humor, thorough research, and artistic endeavors knock me out. As my Aunt Annie used to say, “She’s a hoot and holler!”