ChatterLog February 2011

Individuality

Aquarius, the Water Bearer

Greetings everyone and welcome to the February ChatterBulletin! We have moved from Capricorn, our sure-footed and mountain climbing goat, into the sign of Aquarius. From the sign that requires structure, discipline and rules, comes the sign that above everything else needs its freedom, and if necessary, will either break or reinvent the rules, so there!

Aquarius, the Water Bearer, often mistaken for a “Water” sign, is in fact an “Air” sign, and their job is to pour the “Spiritual Waters of Heaven” down upon the Earth. Of all the 12 signs, Aquarius needs their space more than anyone or anything – is that not Air? And as the 3rd of the 3 Air signs in the zodiac, they really, really, really need their space to roam freely, because if you try to cage an Aquarius in, trust me, they will run faster than they can fly! But if you allow your bird sufficient freedom to fly, they will happily return, providing the cage door is always left open. My father was an Aquarius and he certainly exhibited this trait! I have many Aquarians in my life, so I have observed their inherent need for freedom and rule breaking for many years! Even now, my dear friend “Snipper” is lying somewhere on a beach in India, where she has traveled to for years now to escape the miserable English winters and celebrate her birthday– by hook or by crook, she finds a way to make her necessary annual escape to the sunshine happen, and she has set her life up to support her need for freedom – good for her! Happy Birthday to Snipper, Susie, Ros, Gina, Aurora, Margo and to all of my dear freedom-loving Aquarian friends – you know who you are! And a very special shout out for my dear “Auntie” and our late Mum’s sister, Sallie, who turns 80 this month, and to my surrogate Grandma, Gladys, who will be 88!

So our theme for this month is, no, not freedom, but “Individuality” and those who are unique! Aquarius dances to the beat of a different drummer – they are revolutionaries as well as rule-breakers. Along with the Aquarius’ need to socialize with many different groups they are often leaders of some sort, the quintessential “Captain of the Ship” as it were, whose ultimate job is to help mankind evolve in some way. Some familiar Aquarian “leaders” for example are media mogul Oprah Winfrey and basketball legend Michael Jordan. And a few famous (or perhaps) infamous political Aquarians you may recognize are Presidents Boris Yeltsin, Nicolas Sarkozy, Ronald Reagan, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln & Corazon Aquino, along with (get ready) Vice-Presidents Dick Cheney & Dan Quayle, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Florida Governor “Jeb” Bush and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, along with such notables as Hitler’s mistress Eva Braun, suffragist & women’s rights advocate Susan B. Anthony, union-leader James Hoffa and evolutionist Charles Darwin! Gypsy Rose Lee was an Aquarius, and Aquarians are the wandering gypsies of the zodiac, to be sure!

Charles Lindbergh, Aviator 1902 – 1974

You’d think I’d stop there, wouldn’t you? But seriously, the list of extraordinary Aquarians simply goes on and on and on, and for a very good reason. Consider again that Aquarius is an Air sign, so chances are they like to fly, right? Are you ready? Let’s start with aviator Charles Lindbergh, who made the first solo airplane flight across the Atlantic Ocean in his plane “The Spirit of St. Louis” in 1927. And how about Chuck Yeager, the 1st human to fly faster than the speed of sound! A combat pilot in World War II, he was shot down over France in 1943 but managed to escape without being captured. After the war, he was put in charge of pilot training for “experimental” aircraft, and in 1947 became the 1st person the break the sound barrier flying a rocket powered Bell X-1 jet. Reaching a little further up into the sky, next up (literally) we have astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who was the 2nd human (that we know of) to walk on the Moon in July of 1969 (after Neil Armstrong.)

Pretty impressive so far – right? So while we’re on the subject of “intrepid exploration” we also have British explorer of the Antarctic and South Pole, Ernest Shackleton, who is perhaps best remembered for leading his crew to safety after the failed expedition of “The Endurance” in 1916, followed by journalist Henry Morton Stanley, of “Stanley & Livingstone” fame, who was assigned to Africa to find the missing explorer David Livingston. But my favorite and most perfect fit for this bulletin is not only a leader and a hero, but also likes to fly and is an Aquarius – and that is Captain Chelsey B. Sullenberger III – the “The Hero of the Hudson” better known as “Sully” and the former Air Force fighter pilot who safely and successfully landed a US Airways A320 Airbus in the Hudson River on January 15th of 2009. There were amazingly no fatalities, and as a true captain and pilot of his ship, he was the last man to leave. He was my hero already, but when I was writing this article and discovered he was an Aquarius as well, I was thrilled! And, one of our featured photographers this month, Brian Smale, just so happened to send us a brilliant photograph of him, which we are sharing with you here.

Captain Chelsey B. Sullenberger III © Brian Smale

Continuing on, Aquarius as we have already established, is an Air sign, so automatically we know that these people are very intelligent and many of them become writers, for example: Charles Dickens, Jules Verne, James Joyce, Lewis Carroll, W. Somerset Maugham, Langston Hughes, Norman Mailer, John Grisham, Richard Brautigan, Alice Walker, Virginia Woolf, Gertrude Stein, Edith Wharton and Colette – along with poets Lord Byron and Robert Burns. And then we have some of the many actors and entertainers including Paul Newman, Clark Gable, Humphrey Bogart, Jack Lemmon, James Dean, John Travolta, Joe Pesci, Josh Brolin, Ashton Kutcher, Burt Reynolds, Tom Selleck, Robert Wagner, Alan Alda, Gene Hackman, Jerry Springer, Elijah Wood, Mia Farrow, Farrah Fawcett, Lana Turner, Eva & Zsa Zsa Gabor, Vanessa Redgrave, Jane Seymour, Stockard Channing, Jennifer Anniston and Ellen Degeneres – and musicians/singers Bob Marley, Justin Timberlake, Alice Cooper, Sonny Bono, Yoko Ono, Neil Diamond, Carole King, Sheryl Crow, Eartha Kitt, and oh yes, composers John Williams, Franz Schubert and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart!

People, I am not making this stuff up – there is a reason as to why all of the people I have listed are unique, there is a reason as to why they have chosen to follow a particular path or profession – and they are all Aquarians. So now, we must acknowledge that not only is February “Black History Month” but let’s also consider some of the extraordinary and unique African American Aquarians, starting with inventors such as astronomer Benjamin Banneker who created America’s 1st clock made entirely from wood, and George Crum who invented the potato chip, (two pretty essential items, wouldn’t you say?) And then there’s George Washington Carver, inventor of over 300 peanut products! Thomas Edison, inventor of the light bulb wasn’t black but he was an Aquarius, by the way! Continuing on with groundbreakers, how about Jackie Robinson, the 1st African-American baseball player to play in the major leagues! Moving into the medical field we have Vivien Thomas, the 1st African American without a doctorate degree to perform open-heart surgery on a white patient in the United States, followed by one of the young doctors he subsequently mentored, Dr. Levi Watkins Jr., who became the 1st black Chief Resident in Cardiac Surgery at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, and who also performed the world’s 1st human implantation of the automatic implantable defibrillator. And how about Dr. Philip Emeagwali, a Nigerian-born engineer and computer scientist (who was coincidentally born on exactly the same day and year as me!) the son of a nurse’s aid, but better known now as “The Father of the Internet!” And perhaps the single most important of our African-American Aquarian “heroines” (no, it’s not Oprah!) has to be Civil Rights icon Rosa Parks, a black woman living in a segregated Montgomery, Alabama, who in 1955 refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on the bus. This single and brave action on her part subsequently resulted in a successful boycott that eventually led to desegregation in the south. These incredible people have all created some serious landmarks in our history, but their praises are not sung nearly loudly enough for the amazing accomplishments they have achieved on all of our behalves.

Rosa Parks, Civil Rights Activist 1913 – 2005

In closing, consider this story: My dear friend is black, and he told me the story of when he was in school some years ago now, and the teacher asked the class what they would like to be when they grew up – pretty standard question, right? So my when it came to his turn, my friend proudly responded, “President of the United States” upon which he was told most emphatically by his teacher, “Oh no, the best that you can hope for is a janitor!” This is the reality of what he grew up with, but I am happy to report that he has risen far above the level of a janitor, and is still climbing… Imagine if he had been told something different, instead of being deflated and discouraged because of his color? It all starts with a dream, so consider this, if his path had been different, he could have beaten Barack Obama to it as the 1st Black President of the United States (and if our paths were still meant to cross, I might have been 1st Lady!) So the moral of our story is, – dreams do come true – and be sure to check out our photographers in the ChatterArtists section this month, as we have some great examples of unique individuals, some of which are also Aquarians!

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