The counterculture astrology of Gavin Arthur

SAN FRANCISCO – Few people have heard of Gavin Arthur (1901–1972). Yet, he played a central role in modern astrology, the counterculture, and radical gay spirituality. He cast the horoscope that determined the date for the Human Be-In of 1967. An early advocate for gay liberation, Arthur was part of a chain linking Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassidy, Edward Carpenter, and Walt Whitman. His grandfather was Chester A. Arthur, President of the US (1881-1885).

Mercury Retrograde visits Thanksgiving Dinner

Every time the planet Mercury appears to move in reverse or becomes what is known as retrograde (It really doesn’t move backward, it just looks like it does.), the internet and social media see a flurry of articles and memes proclaiming the dire pitfalls. The reality is that this astrological “weather” is not much different than navigating every day weather occurrences. If meteorologists tell us it is going to rain, we remember to grab an umbrella and maybe wear rain boots that day. If snow is forecast, we prepare accordingly—ice melt, shovels, purchasing the ubiquitous bread and milk. Those who pay attention to what is going on astrologically, and many Pagans do since moon cycles and other astrological influences play a role in their religious or magical practices.

Review: Shakespeare’s hidden astrology revealed

TWH — “Lord, what fools these mortals be!” the mischievous sprite Puck says to Oberon the faerie king in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Shakespeare was no fool when it came to incorporating the magical and astrological worldviews of his time into his immortal works. That’s the premise of the fascinating, exhaustive (but not exhausting) book Shakespeare and the Stars: the Hidden Astrological Keys to Understanding the World’s Greatest Playwright (Ibis Press, 547 p.) by professional astrologer and English literature teacher Priscilla Costello. Costello weaves not just astrology but extensively-researched aspects of the Elizabethan worldview, Renaissance magic, ancient history, mythology, modern psychology, and more into her examination of Shakespeare’s works. While she discusses the bard’s plays as a whole, Costello delves deep into six specific works, including three of his most “magical” plays: The Tempest (with its story of the exiled nobleman Prospero, who takes up the magical arts and frees the air spirit Ariel), Macbeth (with its “double, double, toil and trouble” witches who prophesy Macbeth’s doom), and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (with its tale of a love quadrangle fostered by a quarrel between Oberon and his faerie queen Titania, and heightened by the errant spell-casting antics of Puck).