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Brief Relief 10/01/2013

Posted by zoidion in Hellenistic, Weather.
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Twin Cities ephemera: It hasn’t been such a bad winter at all, so far. Actually, it’s been rather dull, weather-wise, for the past month. A couple of light, fluffy snowfalls came down last week, and this week, clear skies and a slight thaw have been most welcome. The dry spell has sent a lot of folks to the car washes to rinse off the season’s first coating of salt. But the techno-weather folks say we’re due for a classic January slap in the face—i.e., plummeting temperatures and nasty wind chills—over the next couple of days. Dang.

Re: the back yard, I’ve been in contact with an arborist about taking down a fairly large silver maple tree that someone allowed to grow up right next to the utility pole that’s close to the alley and along the line between my place and the neighbor’s to the south. In addition to threatening the utilities, it casts too much shade into the area that wants to be garden, now that the elm tree is gone (as of last April). When the sun is near its highest arc, May to July, it’s not so much of a problem, but the rest of the growing season, it’s a significant impact.

To cart or not to cart, that is the question: whether or not to cart away all those slender branches as well as the foot-thick trunk. I don’t think so. That tree grew up right here, using rain that fell here and nutrients in the soil here, with solar radiation that landed here. It seems right and proper to bury it here.

Last fall, I reported on my project of digging trenches along two sides of where the elm tree was, and burying sections of a large birch limb, leaves and kitchen scraps. That was fun, as well as heavy labor. I’m thinking of doing something on a bigger scale, using the silver maple wood. (I got inspired from happening upon this web page on hugelkultur.) And silver maples can be used as coppice trees.

Last weekend, I made a point to get to the Weisman Art Museum on the last day of the large exhibit of large-size photos by South African Guy Tillim. I hadn’t heard of him before, probably because I let my longtime interest in photography languish over the past five years or so. Anyway, I’d read that this particular exhibit was of places in post-colonial Africa. It was well worth the little bit of trouble to get there. (Once again, though, looking at the strange metallic skin of the Frank Gehry-designed building, I wondered how it will look—and function—in another ten or twenty years. The normal wear and tear of time will likely do a nasty job on it in an era of declining access to exotic materials in unusual shapes, in a very problematic financial climate.)

Speaking of things that weather the tests of time, the monthly meeting of the traditional astrology study group was rewarding, as usual. This time, we investigated the technique known as distributions, or “directing through the bounds.” And it was most helpful to have Benjamin Dykes’ deep scholarship present, in person.

“Bounds” are the five unequal divisions—Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn as their “lords”—of each sign, and we each practiced with our own charts, directing the Ascendant to identify current and other periods of interest and particular significance. I found it quite intriguing to note that my natal Ascendant is in a bound of Venus, and that while my directed Ascendant is currently in a Mars bound, the “partner” planet—the one most recently aspected by the directed Ascendant—is Venus; since Venus has been partner (since late 2005, until 2022), one of my regular activities has been learning standard and personal favorite tunes on the fiddle, as well as going to and participating in music festivals. (This is using the Egyptian table of bounds.) This has been an entirely new kind and level of musical activity for me, and has served to claim an important part of my life that was spoiled by bad influences in my youth.

The moderation of our rather average winter temperature pattern is reflected in Venus’ shift, on the 8th, from Sagittarius to Capricorn, thereby crossing the position of the Sun in the current season’s temperature chart. Sagittarius is a generally warm sign in weather work—it is a fire sign—while Capricorn is a cold earth sign, so the gently warming character of Venus has slight effect. Accordingly, on the 7th, the temperature crept above the freezing mark, to 34 degrees, for the first time since December 16. The techno-weather folks call for highs around 40 degrees for the 10th and 11th. (The weird January of 2012 gave nine days above 40.)

We may also get some freezing rain here in the Cities, with possibly substantial snow a couple hundred miles to our northwest. Which would agree with one of the indications in the moisture chart that remains operative until the New Moon on the afternoon of the 11th. Sagittarius on the lower meridian of the current moisture chart, with Venus twelve degrees away but toward the western side of the chart, agrees with the computer models for warmth and moisture.

4QJan2013

Occasional abrupt changes toward colder conditions can be expected when Uranus is near the lower meridian of the temperature chart—twenty degrees away in this case. In addition, the Venus-into-Capricorn chart (the outer ring below) indicates a cold change coming: Moon conjunct the position of Mercury in the season chart.

CaprIng2012_VenCap

But timing to the day of such a change appears elusive. True, the cold snap appears set to coincide with the New Moon in cold Capricorn, however lunations are not reliable indicators of major temperature shifts. At least, that’s what one of the books says. (“The changing phases of the Moon do not, as commonly supposed, change the character of the weather.” – George J. McCormack)

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