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Monday, March 24, 2014

Mary Queen Of Scots - The Darkest Revolution

This is the last post on the general theme of 'The Dark Side'. Maybe it's better not to dwell unnecessarily in this zone. Mankind is riddled with acts of infamy, heinous crimes and sometimes just plain idiocy gone wrong. However, if any one 'Year of Revolution' in any one life, encapsulates the 'fall from grace at our own hands' (ie. shoot ourselves in the foot), then this prize belongs to the generally unpopular Mary Queen Of Scots. She managed to alienate everyone and destroy herself in the process. All this at the ripe old age of 24. Indeed an article by BBC History says :- "The young Queen with the golden future was just 24, and her life was effectively over."

There is much to tell, but I'll just begin with her ill-fated choice of husband, when she was Queen of Scotland, with ambitions to succeed Elizabeth I and re-instate Catholic rule in England. The choice had been made to marry Henry, Lord Darnley. Like her, he was a great-grandchild of Henry VII with a Scottish father, the Earl of Lennox, and an English mother who was also a leading Catholic. By marrying Darnley, Mary hoped to strengthen the Catholic cause and enhance her claim to the English throne. The only fly in the ointment of this equation was Darnley himself. He spent little time with the Queen and even less on the affairs of state, preferring 'to hunt, hawk, drink and keep low company' (ie. drinking and whoring resulting in picking up syphilis). He also wanted to be recognised as having rights of succession. Over the course of less than a year the Queen fell out of love. But Darnley had done one thing right: Mary was pregnant.

The remaining Protestant lords saw Darnley as the weak link. They told him that Mary's Italian secretary, a former musician named David Rizzio, had too much influence at court. And why? Because he was Mary's lover. The reality was that Rizzio was a small, gay man of unprepossessing looks, definitely not Mary's type. Even more sinister is the fact that Darnley was bi-sexual (he had a 'lady face' as the phrase was used) and had forced himself on Rizzio. None-the-less, the jealous and gullible Darnley believed them, and agreed to take part in Rizzio's murder. Rizzio was stabbed 56 times in front of Mary, who could never forgive her husband this treachery. However, soon after, Darnley switched sides back to his wife, leading Mary to exile the Protestant Lords involved.

We will also look at the second protagonist in her life :- her close confidant and supporter the Earl of Bothwell. He was a tough, handsome border lord, who was five years her senior and a nominal Protestant, because you had to be to get on. However, he had been loyal to the Catholic dowager Queen Mary (widow of James V). They actually first met in the French Court, when Mary was still Queen Consort of France (till she was widowed just before turning 18). Now back to the main story. On 19 June 1566 (when she was aged 23), Mary gave birth to Prince James (later King James VI of Scotland, and I of England). Darnley was now expendable and everyone wanted to see the back of him: Mary hated him, the Protestant lords had been betrayed by him and Bothwell wanted to replace him as king. To further his ends, Bothwell persuaded Mary to bring back Moray and the exiled Protestants.

In November 1566, Bothwell met with nobles from all factions at Craigmillar Castle to discuss the Darnley problem. They came up with two options: divorce or assassination. But when Mary was consulted she ruled out divorce, because it would make her son illegitimate. As for 'other means', she said that she wanted 'nothing against her honour'. The nobles saw this as carte blanche and, having left Mary's room, signed a bond to murder Darnley. I hope you've got all this, it's like summarising slabs of history.

Now we begin the melting pot that is her age 24 'Year of Revolution' (8 Dec. 1566 to 8 Dec. 1567). They planned to kill Darnley by blowing up the house he was staying in. It is highly likely that Mary (who was in close contact with Bothwell) knew the details. On 1 February 1567, she brought Darnley from the safety of Glasgow to the dangers of Edinburgh. He was taken to Kirk o'Field, a house near the city wall, because he was sick (with syphilis) and, Mary said, needed somewhere quiet to convalesce. Mary promised to stay and look after him however on the night of the murder, 9 February, she was at Holyrood attending the wedding masque of a loyal servant. He survived the explosion, but was strangled and stabbed outside and hastily buried in an unmarked grave.

Virtually everyone was involved in the plot to murder Darnley, but only Bothwell and Mary got the blame. Within days, scurrilous placards appeared in Edinburgh, depicting Mary as a whore and accusing her and Bothwell of the crime. They had been set up by Moray and the Protestant lords. She did not help by showing no grief whatsoever and it was said she played a game of golf the next day (she was credited as the first recognised female golfer).

What happens next is almost surreal. In desperation, Bothwell abducts Mary and takes her captive to Dunbar Castle where, apparently, he raped her before forcing her to agree to marry him. But could she have been complicit in the whole thing? Possibly. Even her defenders find it hard to believe she knew nothing of the plan to abduct her. It was said she suffered a nervous collapse and became suicidal. To make matters worse, she is again pregnant, this time with Bothwell's twins. Bothwell, it should be noted, was already married for just a year at this time. His wife divorced him on 7 May 1567, citing adultery with her servant. Does this begin to play the same tune as the scandalous Burton/Taylor relationship?

On 15 May 1567, Mary and Bothwell were married at Holyrood according to the Protestant rites. Mary was either so desperate - or so madly in love with Bothwell - that she now appeared to give up even her Catholicism for him. This marriage was very unpopular and divided the country. Exactly a month later, the final showdown between Mary and the Protestant lords took place at Carberry Hill near Edinburgh. But no actual fighting took place because Mary's outnumbered troops gradually melted away.

Mary agreed to give herself up on condition that Bothwell was given safe passage into exile. In a final act of defiance they kissed in full view of both sides. Then Bothwell galloped off and spent the next month trying, in vain, to raise more troops but it was to no avail. He was to die in captivity in Denmark and she was never to see him again, just as she was never to see her infant son James again. Two days after Carberry, Mary was imprisoned on the isle of Lochleven, where in the next month she miscarried Bothwell's twins. Her life was indeed now effectively over and she spent, between this time and her execution at 44, in various places of captivity in England, whilst trying to instigate an unsuccessful Catholic uprising.

Just what was Mary's character? Was she the unwitting and tragic figure, who was a pawn in the game of the Scottish Protestant Lords? Was she indeed "raped" and held prisoner by Bothwell? Or was she a complicit figure in her own demise? Was she an outstanding example of "The Darkest Revolution"? Was she in this "up to her elbows"? You know how history gets written don't you? You need to go digging for the truth. Come and join me on this dig.

There is a fascinating report from Times online, about research by a team of gynecologists. They assert :- "Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, was an “adulteress and liar”, who plotted to kill her husband in order to marry her lover. Intriguing new medical analysis claims that Mary, the cousin of Elizabeth I, concocted a story of kidnap and alleged rape to justify her marriage to her third husband – potentially shedding light on a 400-year-old royal murder mystery.

Far from being the saintly and wronged Roman Catholic monarch portrayed in portraits and films, Mary was actually a “moral loose cannon”, whose striking beauty (she was a 6 foot tall, highly-sexed redhead, who was said to be a 'fool for men'), gave Elizabeth other reasons to imprison and execute her, the researchers suggest. Lesley Smith, a medical historian, claims that it would also have been an “astonishing coincidence” if conception occurred at the time of the “rape”, and even then the twins would have been just 12 weeks old and hard to identify upon miscarriage.

Instead, it is more likely that “the widowed Mary had an affair with Bothwell, became pregnant and had used the abduction story as a cover for her condition and justification for marriage,” Ms Smith says. Mary later claimed that her pregnancy began after her marriage but experts now say this is impossible :-
"In a study published today in the Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Healthcare, Lesley Smith, a medical historian, claims that it would have required modern microscopes and knowledge about foetal development to identify that the miscarriage was of twins after the seven weeks of pregnancy that Mary claimed."

So, Mary made a series of disastrous choices beginning in her fateful, age 24, 'Year of Revolution'. She failed to see the plotting by both the Protestant Lords (who wanted her gone) and her beloved Bothwell (who wanted the crown at all costs). She most probably willingly conspired in this whole ugly mess. Have a good look at the Mary you see in the book cover above. This is not the high starched collar, severe-looking Queen Mary, we are used to. This is the 'real Mary'; wanton, passionate, and underneath it all, quite evil. I think she's a fitting climax for the 'Dark Side' Lesson and series of posts. Remember the upheavals in your life, good and bad, that I have correlated with 'Years of Revolution' have to be dealt with in a dedicated and respectful way. It's your life, try not to stuff it up. Get ready for your next lesson soon, it will be bigger and bolder than any before it. Some very big names will get analysed by the one and only 'Life Cycles'. Till next month :- "may the cycles always bring you good fortune."

Monday, February 24, 2014

Mein Kampf, Mein Umdrehung - Adolph Hitler and 'Life Cycles'

This unusual post title happened because I decided to see what the word 'revolution' looked like in German. Not very poetic, is it? Not 'rivoluzione' (Italian), or 'giro' (Spanish), or even 'revolutie' (Dutch); but in guttaral Germanic it's 'umdrehung'. Why place revolution together with "Mein Kampf", being Hitler's best-selling book, which encapsulates the founding principals of Nazi Germany? The answer is obvious to me :- because Hitler's central, mid-life, age 36 'Year of Revolution' was defined by it.

Adolph Hitler (born April 20th. 1889), became arguably, the most synonymous name with 'The Dark Side' in history. A demagogue, with the power to sway the emotions of ordinary citizens, whilst all the time using this evil influence for his own diabolical ends. He also arose in a time in Germany's post WW1 woes, when he espoused sentiments shared to some degree by a lot of disgruntled people. However, before he was ever the country's Fuhrer and ever a political force, he had to come back from the wilderness of a failed insurrection and a gaol sentence.

Practically no-one had heard of "Mein Kampf" then, even though he had just dictated it in prison and released it as a book. He was banned from speaking in public, he lived a rather idyllic existence in a small village called Berchtesgaden in the German state of Bavaria; he didn't even run the day-to-day activities of the Nazi Party. He, in fact, may have lost control of his party's direction. He was 36. Need I say more? Welcome to the one day in Hitler's life when it was 'all on the line'.

Let's backtrack a little here. Hitler was released from prison Dec. 20, 1924 and agreed to only seek power through democratic means. In March, 1925 he was banned from speaking in public and appointed Gregor Strasser to grow the NSDAP (Nazi Party) in northern Germany. He turned 36 on April 20, 1925 and entered the often, most important 'Year of Revolution', in 'Life Cycles' terms. It was to be not only the year of "Mein Kampf", but also 'Mein Umdrehung'. On July 18, 1925 the first volume of "Mein Kampf" was released and it was, according to a Discovery Channel documentary, :- "a failure selling only 20,000 copies." He then spends his time in the quiet Bavarian village writing the second volume of "Mein Kampf", which deals mainly with the extension of 'lebensraum' (living space) for Germans. This eventually became the philosophical driver for decisions to invade other European countries and directly precipitate WW2.

Meanwhile Gregor Strasser proved to be an energetic and very effective party organiser in northern Germany, acquiring big numbers of new members. He took the word 'Socialist' in the Party's name more seriously and maintained certain ideals, that lent more towards Communist Russia, as the communists had many followers in the north. This he espoused in November, 1925, with a draft program that advocated expropriating princely estates without compensation. He also advocated a party Community, rather than absolute authority coming from the Fuhrer and Munich, which of course, struck directly at Hitler's authority. At a meeting of dissidents at Hanover in Jan. 1926, Gottfried Feder, representing Hitler, strenuously opposed these policies, but the other conferees all voted with Strasser. Not only this, but he talked of setting up a new party newspaper to compete with the one from Bavaria. Feder left fuming and reported back to Hitler.

Now we are poised for the response. Did Hitler want to fracture the Party by renouncing Strasser? If he did, how would Northern delegates react? He didn't have to risk a 'show down'. More prudent advice was to get his way by strategy. After all, calling a large general meeting was a big risk. But Hitler was a great gambler. Just as Julius Caesar was a great gambler and Napoleon was a great gambler. I've written on their gambles elsewhere. It was all to be decided in a meeting in one day :- Sunday, Feb.14th, 1926 at Bamburg.

Why Bamburg? Well it was close to the Northern districts, while still being in Bavaria, and a Sunday was picked, because it would be easier for Northerners to travel. He wanted a full house. Local Nazis turned out to demonstrate in favour of Hitler, which would have impressed the northern visitors. There was no debate. He harangued the crowd on suggested links with the Communists ("it would be the 'bolshevization of Germany' and 'national suicide'"). Germany's salvation would come with 'lebensraum' to be achieved, as it was in the middle ages, ie. by the sword. He stated without equivocation that the uncompensated expropriation of the princes was contrary to the party's aims.

But his main thrust was simple, the Party should be run not on a program, but on the principle of the leader. The party leadership therefore had a sraightforward choice: either accept or reject him as the unquestioned leader. Toland astutely places Hitler's ultimatum in Messianic terms: "National Socialism was a religion and Hitler was its Christ. Crucified at the Feldherrnhalle (ie. the so-called 'Beer Hall Putsch' attempted coup) and risen after Landsberg (the prison where he spent nine months), he had returned to lead the movement and the nation to salvation."

The dissent evaporated after this. Strasser made a short statement in which he accepted the F├╝hrer's leadership and Hitler put his arm around Strasser in a show of comradeship. Hitler became the leader on an unquestioned basis on that day. It would later be enshrined in the Party's manifesto, but it all happened squarely on Feb. 14th, 1926 at Bamburg and right in the middle of Hitler's career-defining, age 36 'Year of Revolution'. At 36, Mein Kampf was launched on the world and Hitler became, in his mind and that of the Nazi Party, his country's absolute saviour.

'Life Cycles' in a different way entirely, is becoming more and more difficult to simply dismiss, as a curiosity or a quaint occurrence. I still stand here waiting for contradiction of my evidence, or blanket dismissal of the whole notion. If there is any aspect of any post that is incorrect, (particularly this one), please let me know. Now, this is not religion and I'm not a saviour, but just because I'm not mainstream, doesn't mean I'm wrong. I do have an overall message by the way, but I'm revealing it slowly, so keep reading. Till next month :- "may the cycles always bring you good fortune".

Saturday, January 25, 2014

If Only.... James Holmes and 'The Dark Side'

Mental illness and high-powered weapons (or weapons generally) are a lethal combination. Because in the US there is a wide availability of such weapons, it has resulted in a steady stream of horrific mass killings, particularly over the last couple of years. If you search "recent mass killings/mental illness" you will see a study finding 79% of recent mass shootings (2011-2013) are attributable to a history of mental illness. I'm not about to enter the debate concerning better screening procedures for those who buy weapons, or the advisability of being able to so easily obtain these weapons. I've written on this subject elsewhere and talked of the stats from my country, Australia, after the banning of high-performance weapons, following our worst-ever mass shooting back in 1996. Since that time there have been NO other mass shootings recorded.

No, I'm going to focus on the perpetrator of one high-profile case; the appalling mass shooting in the Aurora Movie Complex in 2012 by James Holmes. The Holmes' case is particularly controversial, because of his recent contact with at least three mental health professionals from the student mental health service, just prior to the commission of the crime. I also believe, that any other behavioral or personal issues put forward as part of his defence of insanity; should not mitigate the full force of the law being applied. Twelve innocent lives were lost and 58 others were injured, in what was (until Lanza's shooting), the worst-ever such case. In addition I need to make it clear, that a 'Life Cycles' forensic examination of Holmes is not to suggest that other perpetrators can be easily compared, or that they committed their crimes in their 'Life Cycles' 'significant years'. No, it's the transition from the outwardly-seeming, successful PhD neuroscience student, to the 'The Joker' look-alike, diabolical mastermind of this horrific crime, in the first six months of Holmes' age 24 "Year Of Revolution", that I'll be looking at.

James Egan Homles was born Dec. 13th, 1987 and so turned 24 in Dec. 2011. Richie Duong, who had known Holmes for over a decade, told the Los Angeles Times, that they had shared a dinner and a movie together in Dec. 2011 and that "everything seemed fine." So, Holmes looked like the left-side photo. From this, you could never have said he was a potential mass murderer, whether or not everything was fine on the inside with him. However, that can be the way it is with mental illness, before the onset of symptoms. Makes the task of trying to keep mentally deranged people away from weapons that much harder.

Let's skip now till June, 2012 and by this time he had just failed a key oral exam and dropped out of his course. He was starting to appear like the right-side photo. Such a dramatic change even had some conspiracy theorists believing they are two different people. (It should be noted, that though I have read widely on the conspiracy literature of this case, regarding an accomplice/s, it currently remains as supposition.) Holmes had previously referred himself to the student mental health service a while back and was currently seeing Dr. Lynne Fenton, who headed up the unit. His medical records show his name was brought to the attention of the university's Behavior Evaluation and Threat Assessment team, or BETA for short. University of Colorado campus police were contacted for a background check, but what happened next is not clear.

Dr. Richard Martinez, a director of forensic psychiatry with Denver Health Medical Center, said:- "At the moment you determine that there is a credible threat here, a credible possibility, the duty to warn is triggered if you will." What was going on behind the closed door of Holmes' off-campus apartment also did not become clear until it was too late. His cache of weaponry and booby-trapping of the whole place. Dr. Lynne Fenton is subpoenaed to appear in court and at issue is a package mailed by Holmes to her and recovered in the campus mail room three days after the shootings. It depicts stick-figure drawings of a shooting. We are left with the inescapable feeling in this whole sorry mess of :- "If only...."

Now there is no question, that Holmes became mentally deranged during the very period, that 'Life Cycles' would say is a life-changing year in so many of the cases studied. Of course, the evidence is that things are usually overwhelmingly positive and that any setbacks and controversies are short-lived. With appropriate action this may have become a case of a threat averted and a very dark-side example of a bizarre, but otherwise limited, controversy, ie. if police were properly informed of the imminent danger he posed. In this case the legal "duty of care" will be a telling and intricate matter at all levels. Right from the psychiatrist's actions, to the mental health service (who dropped Holmes as a patient because he was no longer a student), to the Campus Police, and thence to the University itself and ultimately to the management of the Aurora Cinema complex, for not ensuring patrons' safety. No, this is an almighty mess, that is bound to tie up the courts for years to come.

Also, it should be noted that the legal definition of insanity is different from the medical definition and relies on independent expert reports and testimony of Holmes' mental state, immediately before and during the commission of the crime. It has been reported, for instance, that he had scoped out the theatre in a calculated and cold-blooded way, just days beforehand. But, leaving this aside, nothing will ameliorate the loss suffered by the families and friends of the victims. My sympathies in this case are wholeheartedly with them and I hope they get to see justice done. Till next month :- "may the cycles always bring you good fortune."

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Why Some Cycle Theories Make No Sense

Before I start a post with a controversial title such as this, I want to define exactly which 'cycle theories' I'm talking about. I'm confining myself to my direct competitors, who deal with cycles within an individual human life. So, physical/biological/mechanical/economic cycle theories are excluded, as are those to do with societal and historical cycles, such as the excellent work done by my friend David Katzmire. No, in terms of cycles said to impact on individual lives, we are left with the two most common occult theories ie. astrology and numerology.

Try a test for me. Google search <12 year cycles of life> and see what you get. You get Jupiter, Jupiter and more Jupiter, and to my pleasant surprise you get a couple of entries for 'Life Cycles'. Now astrology interprets the planet Jupiter, which orbits the Sun every 11.8618 years (which they would say is close enough); to be one of many influences on your life and your personality. You know, they have this funny phrase :- "being ruled by this, that or the other astronomical body", like it's a real demonstrable scientific fact. Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system, a gas giant that is 1/1,000th the size of the Sun. This is interpreted to mean Jupiter is to do with largeness per se, like expansive/extravagant behavior and for some mythical reason luck as well. It's straight out projection of course, and we'll examine their 'so-called' supporting evidence in a minute.

OK, the big question is :- "can Jupiter, or any other astronomical body, influence our lives in different ways?" For the answer to this I went to Rational Wiki. It was said up front :- "Astrology is a mass cultural delusion...". The only meaningful physical influence is gravity and :- "it is practically impossible for planets to influence actions on earth". They go into a lot of scientific detail in explanation, but the bottom line is 'can't work, won't work.' So, even though I have stated many times, I have no idea what is behind the 12 year correlations with significant life events that I study; I can categorically say that it is not some mysterious connection to the planet Jupiter.

Now a quick read through of your typical astro-Jupiter article will talk about the influence of Jupiter's return as if it was a 'hard fact' and needed no case-history support. On page one of Google entries, there is an astrologer by the name of Beverlee, who was the only one who attempted to illustrate with real-world behavior. So, here we go. She said that Jupiter "rules" a number of things including spiritual matters and that she remembered from her Sunday School class, the minister said :- "many girls around the age of 12 go through a phase of wanting to become nuns." Case closed wouldn't you say? I mean how loose a statement can you possibly get!

Let's proceed to 24 now. "I have Jupiter in my '5th house of children'. When I was 24 I became pregnant. Talk about expansion!" You've got to be joking surely? This is post-hoc rationalization at it's worst. I've read and agree with most of the sceptics objections. That's why I am so careful in my research and evidence. But not for Beverlee. 'Make up any old thing and whack it in', seems to be good enough for her. It gets worse. At 36, she talks about the deaths of Marilyn Monroe and Princess Diana, as being due to their 'expansion' ie. they over-reached themselves with either studio bosses or the Royal family. She then qualified this by saying that 'planetary energies' (you know, the ones that don't exist!) didn't cause their untimely deaths (got to be a bit careful), but rather "offered them opportunities for growth" and the rest was up to them. Hmmmm... This summary may sound a bit cruel, but the truth hurts sometimes.

OK, now to the equally suspect 'Laws of Numerology'. Numbers are an artificial human construct and conclusions drawn from our base ten system do not work for other systems (eg. like the binary computer code of 1 or 0). Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy neatly summed this up by saying the ultimate answer to everything was 42 and the question was 'what is 6x9?' In base 13 you see, 6x9 does in fact equal 42! The most common application of numerology to life cycles is the well-known 7 year cycles (ie. the ages of 7,14,21,35 etc.) The Bible mentions the number 7 a lot, adding due gravitas to the process.

Seven is said to be the 'perfect number' and according to St. Augustine must have been divine in origin. Then there are the pseudoscientific claims said to 'prove it'. Every cell in your body is replaced every seven years. This assertion is quite false and I'd be happy to show you the detailed proof, as it is a bit beyond the scope of this article. Equally we are told the seven-day week is 'natural', as well as divine, in origin and the only such construct that properly works. This is also not true according to comparative anthropology studies.

But what about the application to life cycles? Well the most famous theoretician here is the Austrian philosopher Rudolph Steiner, who embraced the esoteric. His strongest evidence is that at the age of 7 there are physical changes, like you get your adult teeth, and at 14 you become sexually mature and that these really signify, that important spiritual changes are occurring. OK, it has a certain surface plausibility to some, but what about when we study the facts? I am told that the process of acquiring our permanent adult teeth usually begins at 6 with the appearance of the first tooth and will continue up to the age of 13, when 28 of our 32 adult teeth will appear. I am also told that girls begin puberty on average at 10-11 years and boys at 11-12 and the whole process typically lasts until 17 years of age. Let's face it these correlations of Steiner's are artificial and the whole thing is part of a long process. So we're just left with 'unprovable assertions' again.

Now for the kicker, let's have a look at their so-called case history evidence. Basically there isn't any, but a while back I did see one article, which mentioned a numerology correlation between 5 disparate individuals and the onset of a new 7 year cycle at age 35, meant to signify imagination and creativity. These 5 people included a little-known 15th century Dutch philosopher, who suffered from schizophrenia and Jesus Christ, who according to biblical accounts, left this life at 33! Now this article has mysteriously disappeared from Google, thus eliminating it from view. Mind you I'd do the same, if that was the best I could muster. The rest of their articles are generalisations that are not in agreement.

So, one article says at 35 (we'll just take this age as representative):- "you are usually handling life monetarily well(a bit awkwardly expressed), have a stable career and settle into a mated relationship...whilst a lot of people split up relationships that were heavily karmic". Talk about hedging your bets! Another says that at 35 :- "I took more time out from the busy world and began to get a feeling of being a soul with a physical body." (sounds interesting if you have the time...). Still another says:- "this is the time of the final battle; Wisdom of Heart vs. Wisdom of Logic" and "It is a freedom factor..a cutting off of other influences" etc. etc. In other words it's vague generalisation piled on vague generalisation, which is both waffly (because you can't measure it) and contradictory (because you can't handle money well/settle down/split up/discover you have a soul/undergo the Final Battle -sounds like Star Wars- and find freedom all at the same time.)

Now the choice between this and 'Life Cycles' is simple and stark. In spite of Jupiter's 12 year cycle and the 7 year interval between the 'Year of Revolution' and the the 'Year of Broken Pathways', there is ABSOLUTELY nothing in common with my evidence-driven approach and their waffle. Either I can find a real quantity of meaningful case histories, showing turning points and challenges at my 'significant years', or there's no theory. I didn't create all this 'out there' material and then try to force-fit it to people's lives like it's a science. By the way, 'Life Cycles' is NOT good enough to be called a science. I know that. What amazes me beyond belief, is that I can continue to find good quality supporting evidence. Some of this evidence is a bit subjective too, and obviously there are many major life events, that are not tied to these years. You see, I'm equally critical of my own approach, but guess what? It's got to be streets ahead of my 'so-called' competitors wouldn't you say?

There is NO other system/theory etc. of life in cycles that is even vaguely like 'Life Cycles' (featuring the ages of 7,12,19,24,31,36 etc. with linked themes and derived 'Life Charts'/'Life Scripts' and 'Confluence' and 'Real-Time' analysis and many more brand new terms and concepts, based on analysis of biographic evidence). No there certainly isn't. So the occult and 'Life Cycles' are mutually exclusive. You can't have both. The final choice is simple :- "either they're right or I am." You be the judge. Go on, do yourself a favour and read more of 'The Truth And The Evidence'. Stop wasting your time with the daily Horrorscopes (sic). Till next month :- "may the cycles always bring you good fortune."

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Starry Night - Vincent Van Gogh And The Dark Side

There are few other, more tragic figures in history, than the artistic genius Vincent Van Gogh. He lived most of his life on the Dark Side, if only in his own mental torture. Like most things about him, there was not even an agreed diagnosis of his disorder/s. Over 150 psychiatrists failed to reach any consensus and there are at least 20 possible illnesses put forward. I am going to add to the copious literature on him, with my unique 'Life Cycles' analysis of his life. I am writing this article as a tribute to Madilyn (aka. Jersey Lil), who has been a great supporter of my work, and I know Vincent is one of her favorites.

I remember quite a few years ago, I was feeling uncharacteristically morose over some matter, (which I now can't recall) and I guess it showed in my body language; as I got dressed after a session in my gym. The club masseuse, an elderly and kindly gent, said to me :- "Don't worry this will pass. Remember it's the crushed grape that yields the best wine." I've never forgotten those words. It was true for me, as I had not even begun my writing or the theory. However, those words came back to me even more strongly, as I looked at Vincent's life. I wasn't really familiar with the art world, but when I studied him it seemed :- "the more Vincent got crushed, the better, more rich and complex, wine he yielded in his art." He was crushed by so many things, but there is a curious pattern of romantic crisis, that develops when we look at his adult 'Life Cycles' 'significant years' (ie. 19/24/31/36). So let's do just this.

Vincent was born March 30th, 1853, so we will be looking at events when he was aged 19 (ie. March 30, 1872 to March,30 1873). During this time Vincent was busily engaged learning the art business, at leading art dealers Goupil and Cie, at The Hague. I was interested to see that the earliest letter exchanged between Vincent and his brother Theo happened in June 1872. They exchanged hundreds of letters over the rest of his life and much of what we know about him comes from them. I have read a number of these. Also there was much joy around Christmas time, because Theo had also secured a position with the firm in Paris. Now the brothers were in lockstep. In January, it was reported that Vincent's father had bought out the requirement for both brothers to do time in the army for National Service and then in March more good news, because Vincent got a promotion to London.

So, no apparent crisis, it was pretty much smooth sailing. Yes, we have to go forward just a few weeks to Vincent's arrival in London in early May. He then proceeded to lay the ground for his first failed romance with the landlady's daughter, Eugenie Loyer. When he finally got up the courage to declare his feelings, she rejected him saying that she was secretly engaged to a former lodger. This was to lead onto a morose period in Van Gogh's young life. He began to turn his back on the art world and was rude to customers at the shop. He grew more fervent about religion and his uncle had him transferred to Paris in the next year, but he was fired soon after. This move to London and failed romance was his first great crisis and he didn't handle it well.

Let's now skip onto when he was aged 24 and in his first adult 'Year of Revolution'(ie. Mar.1877 to Mar.1878). Now Vincent has convinced his minister father that he is serious about a religious vocation and he is sent to his uncle's home to study for his exams. Once again, this leads on to a fateful meeting, this time with his married cousin Kee Vos-Stricker (shown at left with her child). However he failed his exams soon after the end of this year and had to leave. This crisis was to lead ultimately to the emergence of his art, but not for another seven years. He returned to Kee in 1881, when she was recently widowed and proposed marriage, but she refused with the words :- "No, Nay, Never." He perpetuates the theme of failed attempts at marriage, even if not always within a 12 month framework.

Now Vincent has eschewed the middle class lifestyle, left the church in disgust at his uncle's refusal of such a marriage, and instead lived with the poor as they do and took up with an alcoholic prostitute. He was becoming downtrodden as a preferred way of life. He was crushing himself. Here we are now at his age 31 'Year of Broken Pathways' (Mar.1884 to Mar.1885). He has given up his relationship with the prostitute after more family pressure, and through loneliness has gone back to live with his parents. Not exactly ideal, but less ideal circumstances were just around the corner.

He took trips in the countryside for his painting and in the summer of 1884 was often joined by Margot Begemann, a neighbor's daughter and 10 years older. Just as Stricker had been 7 years older. They decided to get married, but it was opposed by both sets of parents. Margot took poison and was saved when Vincent rushed her to hospital. Then in Mar. 1885 his father died and this caused him much grief. Can you see how he was being crushed and crushed, in one way then another. This was about to yield his art. In the same month of March he did sketches for what is considered his first major work :- The Potato Eaters completed in April, 1885.

We are now going to skip ahead to his final age 36, 'Year of Revolution' (Mar.1889 to Mar.1990). There is no question, that in this year he was crushed by his illnesses and his behavior to such an extent, that he yielded some of the greatest art the world has ever seen. This transcendence, in what is often my most notable single year in a person's life, will come to be seen as one of my hallmark examples in the future. Along with Einstein's theory of General Relativity at 36 and Gandhi's first-ever use of satyagraha (non-violent protest, enshrined as the birth of the civil rights movement). It's all in the book. This was the year of Starry Night considered his greatest work. This was the year of The Irises. His greatest art at 36.

In his life however, things went from bad to worse. In March,1889 police closed his house after a petition by townspeople, calling him a red-headed madman. In April (at the start of his age 36 year) he wrote of:- "moods of indescribable anguish." In May, he committed himself to an asylum in Saint Remy and lived among the insane. When he felt well, he painted and this produced his finest work. However, he commented that he did not enjoy the antics of some fellow patients. In Jan. 1890 his work was praised in Paris and he was called "a genius". But just after this he suffered a severe two month relapse, that was to last till just before he left the asylum in May.

I couldn't find any evidence this time of a failed romance, producing a crisis, but I guess the whole episode began with his falling-out with fellow artist Paul Gaugin, and his cutting off his own ear, just prior to 1889. I'm not the first to suggest that his illnesses seem to be exacerbated by his personal crises, but I would be the first to suggest that there is actually a discernible sequence to his behavioral problems and key events, that have happened in his 'Life Cycles' 'significant years' (or can reasonably be traced to follow-on from them). I hope you enjoyed this profile of Vincent and until next month :- "may the cycles always bring you good fortune."