City Upon a Hill

I have been engaged and pre-occupied by world politics and haven’t been writing much.

Yesterday Joe Kennedy III, who is Bobby Kennedy’s grandson and a member of the House of Representatives for Massachusetts, questioned America’s proposed brand new, shiny health bill. In fact, he forced them to admit out loud that mental health coverage was no longer a government requirement.

And then he said this:

“I was struck last night by a comment that I heard made by Speaker Ryan, where he called this repeal bill ‘an act of mercy.’ With all due respect to our speaker, he and I must have read different Scripture,” Kennedy said as the House Energy and Commerce Committee dove into the details of the GOP effort.

“The one I read calls on us to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to shelter the homeless, and to comfort the sick.

“It reminds us that we are judged not by how we treat the powerful, but by how we care for the least among us,” said the Brookline Democrat and scion of the most famous Massachusetts political dynasty.

“There is no mercy in a system that makes health care a luxury. There is no mercy in a country that turns their back on those most in need of protection: the elderly, the poor, the sick, and the suffering. There is no mercy in a cold shoulder to the mentally ill,” he said, appearing to read from notes.

“This is not an act of mercy. It is an act of malice,” he said.

After discovering that I googled him. One of his professors at Harvard Law School was Elizabeth Warren, a former high school classmate of mine. She was a few years ahead of me but for one year she and I walked the same halls on our way to our next class.

In fact, Joe met his wife in her Harvard Law class.

I also discovered in 2011 Joe was asked to commemorate his great uncle’s “City Upon a Hill” speech. He gave it on January 9, 1961, two weeks before his presidential inauguration. I had forgotten about that speech but then I was nine when he gave it. However, I have read it often but not in a long time. So I googled it too.

Last night I read it out loud to my husband who is British. I reduced him to tears… and myself.

I share it with you here. Do what you will with it. I am not personally invested in your response or lack of one. However, as always, rudeness will not be tolerated on my comment threads.

I do recommend reading it aloud. It has so much resonance and power.

John F. Kennedy’s farewell address to the Massachusetts Legislature, Boston, January 9, 1961 (The original link can be found  HERE

“I have welcomed this opportunity to address this historic body, and, through you, the people of Massachusetts to whom I am so deeply indebted for a lifetime of friendship and trust.

“For fourteen years I have placed my confidence in the citizens of Massachusetts–and they have generously responded by placing their confidence in me.

“Now, on the Friday after next, I am to assume new and broader responsibilities. But I am not here to bid farewell to Massachusetts.

“For forty-three years–whether I was in London, Washington, the South Pacific, or elsewhere–this has been my home; and, God willing, wherever I serve this shall remain my home.

“It was here my grandparents were born–it is here I hope my grandchildren will be born.

“I speak neither from false provincial pride nor artful political flattery. For no man about to enter high office in this country can ever be unmindful of the contribution this state has made to our national greatness.

“Its leaders have shaped our destiny long before the great republic was born. Its principles have guided our footsteps in times of crisis as well as in times of calm. Its democratic institutions–including this historic body–have served as beacon lights for other nations as well as our sister states.

“For what Pericles said to the Athenians has long been true of this commonwealth: “We do not imitate–for we are a model to others.”

“And so it is that I carry with me from this state to that high and lonely office to which I now succeed more than fond memories of firm friendships. The enduring qualities of Massachusetts–the common threads woven by the Pilgrim and the Puritan, the fisherman and the farmer, the Yankee and the immigrant–will not be and could not be forgotten in this nation’s executive mansion.

“They are an indelible part of my life, my convictions, my view of the past, and my hopes for the future.

“Allow me to illustrate: During the last sixty days, I have been at the task of constructing an administration. It has been a long and deliberate process. Some have counseled greater speed. Others have counseled more expedient tests.

“But I have been guided by the standard John Winthrop set before his shipmates on the flagship Arbella three hundred and thirty-one years ago, as they, too, faced the task of building a new government on a perilous frontier.

“We must always consider,” he said, “that we shall be as a city upon a hill–the eyes of all people are upon us.”

“Today the eyes of all people are truly upon us–and our governments, in every branch, at every level, national, state and local, must be as a city upon a hill–constructed and inhabited by men aware of their great trust and their great responsibilities.

“For we are setting out upon a voyage in 1961 no less hazardous than that undertaken by the Arabella in 1630. We are committing ourselves to tasks of statecraft no less awesome than that of governing the Massachusetts Bay Colony, beset as it was then by terror without and disorder within.

“History will not judge our endeavors–and a government cannot be selected–merely on the basis of color or creed or even party affiliation. Neither will competence and loyalty and stature, while essential to the utmost, suffice in times such as these.

“For of those to whom much is given, much is required. And when at some future date the high court of history sits in judgment on each one of us–recording whether in our brief span of service we fulfilled our responsibilities to the state–our success or failure, in whatever office we may hold, will be measured by the answers to four questions:

“First, were we truly men of courage–with the courage to stand up to one’s enemies–and the courage to stand up, when necessary, to one’s associates–the courage to resist public pressure, as well as private greed?

“Secondly, were we truly men of judgment–with perceptive judgment of the future as well as the past–of our own mistakes as well as the mistakes of others–with enough wisdom to know that we did not know, and enough candor to admit it?

“Third, were we truly men of integrity–men who never ran out on either the principles in which they believed or the people who believed in them–men who believed in us–men whom neither financial gain nor political ambition could ever divert from the fulfillment of our sacred trust?

“Finally, were we truly men of dedication–with an honor mortgaged to no single individual or group, and compromised by no private obligation or aim, but devoted solely to serving the public good and the national interest.

“Courage–judgment–integrity–dedication–these are the historic qualities of the Bay Colony and the Bay State–the qualities which this state has consistently sent to this chamber on Beacon Hill here in Boston and to Capitol Hill back in Washington.

“And these are the qualities which, with God’s help, this son of Massachusetts hopes will characterize our government’s conduct in the four stormy years that lie ahead.

“Humbly I ask His help in that undertaking–but aware that on earth His will is worked by men. I ask for your help and your prayers, as I embark on this new and solemn journey.


10 March 2017
Sussex Coast, England

Our Dance With Gemini: Talking, Seeing, Listening, Loving

Gemini Twins

Today in the midst of weirdness I realized I wanted to write a post, as I hadn’t written one in awhile. Ever since I decided to semi-retire, my work load has increased considerably. So I’ve had to rethink that decision and am now back to working as a full time astrologer, which I am happy to say feels wonderful. In addition to work, there seem to be so many distractions in our world. Distractions: four planets and one half of the lunar nodal axis in Gemini. Gemini likes distractions. In fact, Gemini is the master of distractions. Remember he is also the trickster of the zodiac. There is much to be learned from these distractions and I must warn you not all of it feels nice.

I’m not going to write much about tomorrow’s new moon because so many other astrology bloggers have that covered. I will say, however, that I have seen a lot of posts about the romance of the coming new moon, the opportunity to find your true love, making it sound like another celebration of Valentine’s Day. I would caution against underestimating the power and reach of Venus or Mercury and certainly Luna. Each one of the celestial bodies are involved in this dance, as well as the Sun, as they are all in the sign of Gemini which is ruled by Mercury. There are other complicating factors (not least of all, the Quincunx of Pluto to Venus), as well, but for the moment let’s just stick with these actors in our play.

There has been a lot of cosmic focus on our relationships of late. I don’t think anyone can really argue with that unless they’ve managed to successfully bury their heads in the sand. I’m not just referring to relationships with lovers and partners in life, but all our relationships across the board, including our relationship with ourselves and our values and our value. A lot is being asked of us, but then if you look around, you will see a lot is needed.

There is a word that has been cropping up in my thinking for many, many months now. That word is Integrity. Today I discovered that along with Integrity are the words Humility and Discernment. Frankly Humility and Discernment aren’t usually thought of in reference to Gemini and very rarely, if ever, in reference to my sun sign, Sagittarius.

Today I learned a very important lesson and lost a friend at the same time, a friendship that I valued greatly. Remember when I mentioned the lessons to be learned in being too easily distracted? I speak from experience. Our words possess so much power. It is easy to get distracted and forget that. Of all the signs, Gemini is the one most attuned to our words. However, Gemini wants to quickly get them back out there again. Gemini collects and disseminates data. There is, however, more to Gemini than the role of chatterbox of the Zodiac. Geminis perceive the world around them and try to make sense of it. In fact, Geminis want to see and experience everything there is in the world. As that is clearly impossible, they try to garner that missing data much like a journalist does. They ask questions. However, that only works well if they pause to listen.

Those of you who follow my Facebook and Twitter feeds know I have been posting a lot about remembering to listen during this fantastic, playful Gemini dance we’re being given. We all have stories to tell and just so many words dying to get out. Today I was so busy trying to be cute and funny (which I do occasionally excel at [see Sadge smile]) that I forgot to discern the effect my words might have on my listener.  In effect, it was just a bit of automatic (i.e. unconscious) banter while my mind was occupied elsewhere. In fact, I had already decided how my listener would respond which is a rather annoying aspect of the Gemini energy. They are so sure they know what you are going to say next that they stop listening and become distracted by the colour of your eyes or in this case, as I was emailing from my phone, messages coming in from Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or what I was going to eat for breakfast 🙂 In fact, it was something I would have said 20 years ago to my Lit Professor. The same Lit Professor that still makes my heart beat a little faster when I think of him. The thing is, I wasn’t talking to an old flame and it is not the 1980s.

This is a more personal post than I normally do. Frankly, I was so surprised and disappointed by it’s outcome, and also humbled beyond measure, that I thought I might give you the benefit of my experience. Instead of talking about communication with integrity and discernment and humility, I would give you myself as an example. In the aftermath, I asked the question I always ask: Why? Which forced me to raise my head above the personal stressors that have been demanding so much of my attention and energy of late. It also gave me a clear archetypal view of the sign: Gemini. I used to have a friend that said this repeatedly: “Astrology is an elegant language.”  And so it is.

So, this is my Truth: Any story that is wanting to be told, that is worth being told, along with the person we respect enough to tell our story to, deserves our complete attention… our conscious attention. Equally important is to make sure the person you are telling your story to deserves your gift and is in a place where he or she is capable of receiving it, because it is truly a gift and not to be squandered.

Some useful definitions I discovered on Wikipedia:

Discernment is a term used to describe the activity of determining the value and quality of a certain subject or event. Typically, it is used to describe the activity of going past the mere perception of something, to making detailed judgements about that thing. As a virtue, a discerning individual is considered to possess wisdom, and be of good judgement.

Integrity is a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one’s actions.

Humility is the quality of being modest and respectful. Humility, in various interpretations, is widely seen as a virtue in many religious and philosophical traditions, being connected with notions of egolessness. Or as Isabel Hickey said in Astrology: A Cosmic Science, “The willingness to be the least.”

When I started this blog post, I started by talking about the planetary focus on relationships. You may by now think I have wandered off a bit. However, remember Venus is in the sign of Gemini. Venus in Gemini is airy, flirty, jokey, a bit of a tease and fun, if easily bored. However, they can be quite emotionally distant and lacking in any sentimentality whatsoever. They also try to make sense of whatever or whoever is in front of them and on occasion slip out the back door when things get too intense. With our second new moon in Gemini coming up, I can’t help but think we are being asked to seriously look at our relationships with ourselves and with others and communicate what we see consciously. I fervently believe that out of these talks with ourselves, our lovers, our partners, our families, our friends not only what we want, what we value, but what value we place on ourselves, will be made clear to us. And, yes, some of us will find the love of our lives, some of us will discover that we’ve been wasting our time on the wrong person, the wrong life and some of us will discover that no one will ever love us the way we would wish until we are able to love ourselves fully.

As always, below you will find a chart for tomorrow’s New Moon and some quotes….


It’s no use talking unless people understand what you say.
Zora Neale Hurston

Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings.
― Anaïs Nin