OPINION: Full Moon in Libra 23.03.16 ‘Illuminate your true self’

Full Moon in Libra 23.03.16

Words by Joëlle O’Toole

The sign of Libra is ruled by Venus; the charm, charisma and beauty bestowed on those with prominent Libra chart placements are discernible, notable and characteristically Venusian. To me, Libra is Venus ruled – although some disagree with this. Aries is unquestionably ruled by Mars.

This is the only axis in the chart which embodies the polarity of Venus Vs Mars, female archetype Vs male archetype, giving Vs receiving, yin Vs yang. This is the axis of smoothing the waters Vs expressing the true self, and this is the message of this Full Moon. What is more important to you, how you appear to others (Libra) or how you actually wish to express yourself (Mars)?

The Sun is now traversing through Aries, announcing loudly that the spring has sprung and the Moon becomes full when perfectly opposite to the Sun, in this case at 4ºLibra. On this occasion, however, there is a partial lunar eclipse at the same time. The beautification which the Full Moon in Libra wishes to sing out to the world is obfuscated by the shadow of the earth. Expression is halted, beauty is obscured, light is shadowed.

So the question needs to be asked on this Full Moon, what is beauty? Is beauty the glow of expensive make-up on your skin, or the muscles bulging from your arms? Is beauty the perfectly coiffed hair and the waxed moustache? Or is it something deeper and more profound? Do all these things appear beautiful when cast into shadow, or does the visual translate into more meaningful depths?

Of course visceral appearances aren’t only about beauty, but also about acceptance. I watch the world around me and people trying to please, wanting to be liked, wishing to impress – desperately trying to fit in. I sometimes ask them why, I sometimes find myself doing the same, but most of the time I know why. They’re scared. You’re scared, I’m scared. We are scared; afraid that we will be alone if people don’t like us, worried that we will lose our jobs if we don’t agree with everything, concerned that if we stand out we will be ostracised and treated like we still live in a century where uniqueness was treated with burning or drowning.

We’re controlled by fear, dictated to, set into regimes of nicely presented suits and shiny cars; politely queuing behind lines and lines of others doing just the same. Most bristling with anger, frustration, obscenities on the tip of the tongue and sometimes tripping off it.

These same people spend time reading about extending their lives whilst not actually living at all.

This Full Moon chart interestingly brings in all the elements which add up to us creating and maintaining façades. The 27º Cancer Ascendant brings the family dynamic to the mix and the Moon is ruled by Cancer. In the chart the Full Moon itself lands in its home, the 4th House also. Asking the question, who are you when you are at home with yourself?

If you spend some time considering the elements you most like and admire about yourself and then match up these qualities with the ones which are encouraged by others, how do they match up? Are you surrounded by people who love the you that you love, or do you feel that you have to adapt to be more like they imagine you to be? Do you ever apologise for sharing your feelings, or talking about yourself? Do you feel that cannot be outspoken without evoking conflict?Libra.svg

And if you do evoke conflict, is it your conflict anyway? When you choose to strip away the pretences and the niceties, there will people who resist this shift in you and wish you to revert to what they expect. There will conflict from them; there will be those whose egos are threatened by truth, and others who simply become angry when witnessing freedom as they wish to live a life where they no longer have to tie themselves in knots.

None of these are reasons to respond however, think mirrors and recognise projection. Fear speaks in tongues and can be invoked by the most surprising of folk at times, but once recognised as it is; fear is powerless and easily assuaged.

There is a transcendental element to all this; echoed beautifully by a Venus-Neptune conjunction, already propagating spiritual love and transcendence, enhanced further by occurring in the sign of Pisces. A sign ruled by Neptune, so elevated in its own wisdom at times, Pisces can command the upper echelons of true love and revere Venus into exaltation in this sign. Venus rules the Full Moon of this chart and cannot be iterated enough when considering the essence of this Full Moon being about beauty and the over-shadowing of such. When Venus links up with Neptune it tells us stories of love being an effervescent, uplifting and magical connection which has no need for the visual, or even the physical. Physical, masculine, energising Mars is almost thrown out of the picture by this over-emphasised Venus position, but just manages to bring itself back into the picture by forming a sextile to the Full Moon position, from Sagittarius.

Again we must bring expression of one’s truth back into the picture, and also remember that the axis of this Full Moon is Libra to Aries. A Full Moon cannot exist without it’s opposite, just as light cannot be discerned without the shadows cast. In just the same way beauty cannot be conceived without the absence of such, so the shadows cast by the eclipse of this Full Moon will be as revealing as they are diverting.

I invite you to ask yourself during this Full Moon what it is that you love about yourself the most and how true to this you are. For the closer we appreciating our own beauty, the more those around us will be allowed to see us shine and start to see us as we really are. Beauty isn’t in the eye of the beholder, beauty is behind the eyes of the subject and exists most vividly within the inner world of the subject.

Let the shadow cast by the earth over this full moon, reveal to you how to ‘illuminate you true self’.

Joëlle O’Toole is a freelance astrologer, offering bespoke readings, natal & solar return charts – beginning on your birthday, telling you about the coming year. Prices start at £50.

For more information contact Joëlle at http://waxlobster.blogspot.co.uk/

BPREVIEW: Howl feat. Casey Bailey, Heather Wastie, Sean Colletti @ The Dark Horse 10.02.16

Howl @ The Dark Horse 09.03.16

Words by Ed King

On Wednesday 9th March, Howl returns for Round II at The Dark Horse in Moseley – presenting spoken word & performed poetry/prose from Casey Bailey, Heather Wastie, Sean Colletti + various open mics slots to be announced on the day.Main with web colour bcg - lr

Howl is a Sansho event, co-promoted & presented by Leon Priestnall. Doors open at 7:30pm with entry charged at £3 – for direct event info, click here.

Starting off their new monthly run at The Dark Horse in Feb this year, after having been previously fed & watered at The Sun at the Station for one turn round the sun, Howl began in pretty fine fettle. A full room, some cracking open mic spots (including a gherkin/felt tip pen/the frivolity of youth analogy… oh yes) and three different but solid headline slots – Howl once again avoided the uncomfortable self-congratulation that this genre can survive on. Genuine, funny, intelligent, endearing. Give it red hair and a piano, and I’ll walk it down the aisle.

March’s line up at Howl looks similarly eclectic, with three more headline performers who come from very different sides of the ring. For more info on each have a look at the Written Word below:

The Dark Horse - sign, sfwCasey Bailey / A Birmingham poet. A Birmingham rapper. Casey Bailey has a standalone, calm approach – writing and performing material about the more visceral end of the human endevour. He also teaches rap and poetry in workshops and classrooms, using his craft as a vehicle of expression for those who so badly need to express.  Check out Casey Bailey delivering his personal ode to our city, performing ‘Dear Birmingham’ – click here. For more on Casey Bailey, visit http://baileysrapandpoetry.com/

Heather Wastie / Worcestershire’s Poet Laureate across 2015/16, Heather Wastie performs as a ‘poet, singer/songwriter, keyboard/accordion player, actor, humourist and facilitator.’ She promotes too,  running/comparing the monthly Mouth and Music night at The Boars Head in Kidderminster – where Howl host, Leon Priestnall, performed last October. Also a published poet & oral historian, Heather Wastie has compiled four poetry collections – with her last, Weaving Yarns, regaling ‘a unique infectious cocktail of assorted snippets and stories about the carpet industry’ in Kidderminster. For more on Heather Wastie, visit http://www.wastiesspace.co.uk/

Sean Colletti / Born and raised in California (not the one near Quinton), Sean Colletti came to the UK to read Creative Writing at Birmingham University (BA) and the Universtity of East Anglia (MA). Choosing the lesser of two evils, Colletti returned to Birmingham for his PhD and to write his first novel – whilst performing ‘his first love’ at poetry events across the city. And if we’ve found the right Sean Colletti on Twitter, he also enjoys sci-fi, whiskey and losing at poker… sounds like a Friday night in to me. For more on Sean Colletti, visit https://www.facebook.com/sean.colletti    

Howl feat. Casey Bailey, Heather Wastie, Sean Colletti returns to The Dark Horse on Wednesday 9th March. For direct event info, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/842848142527054/

For more from The Dark Horse, visit http://www.darkhorsemoseley.co.uk/Follow-Birmingham-Review-on-300x26Facebook - f square, rounded - with colour - 5cm highTwitter - t, square, rounded, with colour, 5cm high

BPREVIEW: Howl feat. Joe Cook, Lydia Scarlett, Afrah Yafai @ The Dark Horse 10.02.16

Howl @ The Dark Horse 10.02.16

Words by Ed King

On Wednesday 10th February, Howl opens at The Dark Horse in Moseley – presenting spoken word & performed poetry/prose from Joe Cook, Lydia Scarlett, Afrah Yafai + open mics slots to be announced on the day. Main with web colour bcg - lrDoors open at 7:30pm with entry charged at £3 – for direct event info, click here.

Howl is a Sansho event, co-promoted & presented by Leon Priestnall.

Beginning at the Sun at the Station at the beginning of 2015, Howl has carved a solid little curve into the back of Birmingham’s spoken word and performed poetry/pose scene. Named after the Ginsberg poem, which has been both heralded and contested as a poem written for performance, Howl (the event…) had a solid first year at the Kings Heath watering hole.

The Dark Horse - portrait #1, sfwPreviously run for free but well worth some money (it’s now three English Pound Sterling to get through the door), Howl is the familiar set up of more established writers/performers alongside the potential gems and car crashes of an open mic roster. Curated and presented by local poet Leon Priestnall, the night is now moving over to The Dark Horse in Moseley, taking over the second Wednesday of each month at the B13 venue.

Birmingham Review attended Howl at The Sun at the Station undercover and saw a markedly more balanced night than other events of the same ilk. But that may have been the cider. It can always be the cider. Still, it lodged in our ‘good night out’ cerebral cache, that terrifying abyss, and we’re hoping there will be more of the same at it’s new Moseley home. Here’s a little intro to who’s on in Round One at The Dark Horse:

Joe Cook / Seemingly all things to all men, ‘Joe Cook is a spoken word Artist, lyricist, musician and political activist based in Birmingham.’ Sounds exhausting. But the boy can certainly deliver, and has been the front end of many worthwhile endevours in Birmingham – honing many of his wily ways through Beatfreaks and Apple & Snakes. Witty, insightful and confident… let’s just hope he’s a terrible dancer. For a bit more on Joe Cook (and Howl), visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6sd_6KhL6U

Lydia Scarlett / A singer, storyteller and ‘quirky songstress’, Lydia Scarlett has just released her debut album – the appropriately titled, Just Lydia. Out from October 2015, on the potentially inappropriately titled Paddywack Records (unless it’s a reference to cow ligaments?), the 12 track (kind of, sort of) debut is a versatile mix of acoustic and Folk, with narrative firmly at the front. For more on Lydia Scarlett, visit http://www.lydiascarlett.com/

Afrah Yafai / The dark horse at The Dark Horse, to us anyway, we don’t know much about Afrah Yafai – and our customary Google search didn’t do much to help. But in the words of Howl’s own Facebook page: ‘Afrah’s performances are sincere and her writing will have you clicking for days.’ Sounds good, apart from the last three words. I may bring my HAPPY TO BE HERE CYMBALS.

Howl feat. Joe Cook, Lydia Scarlett, Afrah Yafai comes to The Dark Horse on Wednesday 10th February, launching the event’s new a monthly run at the Moseley venue. For direct event info, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/1723728741196063/

For more from The Dark Horse, visit http://www.darkhorsemoseley.co.uk/

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BREVIEW: Victories at Sea @ Hare & Hounds 21.01.16

Victories at Sea / By Joëlle O’Toole - Birmingham Review

For the full Flickr of pics, click here




Words by Helen Knott / Pics by Joëlle O’Toole

Victories at Sea / By Joëlle O’Toole - Birmingham ReviewVictories at Sea have an eye for detail. They are fastidious about everything, from the sound of their snare drum to their matching black clothes.

It’s the main reason it took them almost six years to release their debut album, Everything Forever, as apparently they only manage to write four new songs a year. But this obsessiveness is arguably both their biggest strength and biggest downfall.

I’m at the Hare & Hounds, the place where Victories at Sea launched Everything Forever back in October 2015. And the first thing you notice about Victories at Sea live is that for a band with only three members, they take up a lot of space. Massive analogue synths jostle for position with guitar pedals and a laptop, alongside the traditional guitar, bass, drums set up.

Perhaps surprisingly given their name (which, for some reason, led me to expect an evening of expansive Post-Rock) the sound all this equipment generates is that 80’s revival stuff made so popular by bands like Interpol. Imagine a dancier Editors and you won’t be far off the mark.

Indeed, Victories at Sea have supported Editors on a number of occasions and in some large venues. I can imagine this working very well – the band have a commercial sound, and are both confident and professional live performers.  Songs like ‘Up’ and ‘Florentine’ (which could both easily be found on a Foals album) are certainly catchy and no doubt thoughtfully structured.

Victories at Sea / By Joëlle O’Toole - Birmingham ReviewThe trouble is the sound is so slick and controlled it starts to feel overproduced; nuances between songs get washed away in thick waves of reverb. As my friend said to me afterwards, “I enjoyed it quite a lot considering they only have one song”. Even adding computer samples doesn’t really help matters; in fact, as it makes it more difficult for the songs to change tempo or time signature, it actually only serves to exacerbate the problem.

And there isn’t enough bite or soul present tonight to elevate the songs above anything more than Indie dance floor fillers, for this member of the audience. Of course there’s nothing wrong with that per se, and certainly the people dancing at the front of the packed crowd are having a great time. But there are bands around at the moment, Savages for example, who are approaching this type of music in a more interesting way to me.

It would be good to see Victories at Sea be a little freer, more organic – to give their songs the space they need to breathe.  And they write good songs. But perhaps they could be a little less obsessive in their search for perfection.Victories at Sea / By Joëlle O’Toole - Birmingham Review

And as for album number two? Well, getting it out before 2021 will be a huge step in the right direction.

For more on Victories at Sea, visit https://soundcloud.com/victoriesatsea

For more from Static Caravan, visit http://www.staticcaravan.org


For more from This is Tmrw, visit http://thisistmrw.co.uk/

For more from the Hare & Hounds, including full event listings & online tickets sales, visit http://hareandhoundskingsheath.co.uk/

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