San Francisco Travel – Discover the Mission District’s Colorful Murals

With over 600 murals, San Francisco streets are a parade of vibrant and radiant
murals that are painted on building walls and facades, fences, garage doors and
more. The colorful Mission District is the epicenter of San Francisco murals with the
greatest concentration of murals in San Francisco. Discovering
the murals of the San Francisco Mission District is discovering the hopes and
passions, joys and tribulations of the people.

The San Francisco Mission neighborhood’s love affair with murals stems from the
Mexican roots of the Mission District community. The Latino community began to
move into in the Mission neighborhood in the 1950s and 60s. Early in the 1970s,
resident muralists started following the traditions of the great muralists of the
1920s and 30s, perhaps the most famous of which was Diego Rivera.

The Precita Eyes Mural Arts and Visitors Center (located at 2981 24th Street) is a
great place to begin your exploration of the murals in the San Francisco Mission
neighborhood. The Precita Eyes visitors center offers three guided mural tours on
Saturday and Sunday for between $10 and $12 for an adult. You can arrange private
group mural tours in advance. In addition, the Precita Eyes Visitors Center has a
Mission mural map of nearly 90 murals that you can use to explore the
neighborhood on your own.

At Precita Eyes, you can purchase mural-themed items, such as post cards, candles,
posters and books. Precita Eyes also sells mural arts supplies in case your are
inspired to paint your own personal mural on your living room wall. For more
information, contact Precita Eyes at http://www.precitaeyes.org/ or (415)
285-2287.

Located a block from Precita Eyes between Treat Avenue and Harrison Street, Balmy
Alley has a concentration of more than 30 vivid murals painted on fences, building
walls and garage doors. In the neighborhood densely packed with murals, Balmy
Alley is at the center of it all. Muralists began working in San Francisco’s Balmy Alley
as early as 1971. Many of the original murals are still there as well as many murals
that have been painted over the intervening years.

The Balmy Alley murals are very diverse both stylistically and in the subject matter.
Some of the murals feature cartoon-like illustrations that playful and juvenile. Other
murals along Balmy Alley grapple with difficult subjects, such as a memorial to
people who have died from AIDS or depictions of political strife and war in Latin
America. Another mural honors the great muralist Diego Rivera and his wife, the
painter Frida Kahlo. And another is a tribute to women muralists of the Mission
District. One colorless mural, depicts two men and a woman jumping through a
barbed-wire fence lined with keys. The woman has her hand held high, making the
peace sign.

Elsewhere in the Mission District on Harrison at 19th Street, mixed among blocks of
warehouses and running along a wall for nearly a block in San Francisco’s Mission
neighborhood is a mural titled “Carnaval.” As the name implies, the Carnaval mural
is a representation of the Carnaval celebration, a multicultural dance and music
festival that has its roots in Latin America and the Caribbean. The San Francisco
Mission District has been hosting a Carnaval Festival since 1978. Created in 1994 by
Joshua Sarantitis, Emmanuel Montoya, Carlos Loarca and others, the radiant
Carnaval mural is as dynamic and colorful as the festival that it portrays.

The Women’s Building (located at 3543 18th Street) boasts two walls of a dramatic
mural that pays homage to women. Created by a team of seven women muralists,
the “Maestrapeace” mural portrays women and feminine archetypes of multiple
world origins. The Goddess of Light and Creativity adorns the top of the 18th Street
facade with the waters of life flowing beneath her and transforming into fabric
designs from around the world.

The mural features such notable women as Georgia O’Keefe (an innovative American
artist) and Rigoberta Menchu (a Guatemalan of Mayan decent and Nobel prize-
winning activist). The names of many more famous women are inscribed in the
mural’s colorful patterns. The mural is meant to be inspiration and educational,
illustrating the contributions women have made to human history and society.

The Women’s Building provides resources and services to organizations that support
women and girls from multi-ethnic and multi-cultural backgrounds. For an
informational key to the mural, step inside the Women’s Building or contact them at
http://
http://www.womensbuilding.org/ or (415) 431-1180.

2009 Nobel Peace Prize Winner – President Barack Obama, Was it in His Stars?

An astounding thing happened on Friday morning October 9, 2009. President and Mrs. Obama were awakened before dawn with the news that the President had won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. A very surprised president accepted the award, said he was humbled by the honor and by the august body of past winners. Instant political controversy brewed. I agreed with the president’s surprise and quiet disclaimer, I think it was a bit soon. However, I was proud of his accomplishment for both the man and my country. This was a moment of great honor and should be accepted and enjoyed as such. But there are always people who must rain on someone’s parade. Those who can’t participate because they lack the skills themselves often find the need to throw stones. These were the same people who applauded when Chicago lost their opportunity to host the 2016 Olympics. As an American I found that quite offensive. Both our political far right and the Taliban thought President Obama should not win or accept the award. Strange company.

The list of Nobel Peace Prize winner names reads like a world who’s who in the cause of peace. Several Americans have won over the years, including four presidents and one vice president, Al Gore. Since I had done the research on all 43 presidents recently, I wondered what in each of the four presidential charts indicated the skills for such an honor. These are very distinct and different men as evidenced by their charts. I wondered if their collective charts would show commonality in some way. In my search I did find an unexpected connection to the USA Virgo Rising natal chart as well, a dedicated research effort for me. First I will look at the personal then at the commonality. These are completely different individuals but a skill set which produced the award is visible in each. Last I will briefly note connections to the USA chart because it is both interesting and available.

Just what is the Nobel Peace Prize? Swedish industrialist and inventory Alfred Nobel bequeathed and funded five Nobel Prize awards upon his death four of which are scientific or literary. According to Nobel’s will, the Peace Prize is to be awarded “to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.” Nominations are made by specifically qualified people by February 1st each year. Awards may be made for actions completed, underway or which may require large segments of time to complete, to those who are in a process to either resolve a conflict or to create peace. Both individuals and organizations may receive the prize, singularly or in multiples (a single prize shared). It is presented December 10 th , the anniversary of Nobel’s death. Beginning in 1901 and as of 2009 the prize has been awarded to 97 individuals and 20 organizations. There were 19 years in which no peace prize was awarded.

The first American President (26th) to win the Nobel Peace Prize was Theodore Roosevelt in 1906 for his successful mediation of the Russo-Japanese War and for his general interest in arbitration. This was a military man who as a Colonel led the Rough Riders in Cuba during the Spanish American War and was assistant Secretary of the Navy for the USA. In 2001 he was also awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously for his military actions, the only president to win such honor. Before his presidency, Mr. Roosevelt was also head of the New York City Police Commission reforming the very corrupt New York City police, as well as Governor of New York. He ascended to the presidency after the assassination of William McKinley. President Roosevelt was a world-class big game hunter whose personal hunting efforts helped supply the Smithsonian and many other national museums with taxidermy models of flora, fauna and insects from both Africa and South America. The Rio Roosevelt River in Brazil was named after him. This was a man of action who was awarded the world’s highest peace prize. His motto: “Speak softly and carry a big stick” is well known, an excerpt from a 1900 letter to Henry Sprague.

Astrologically what does President Roosevelt’s chart reveal as a world-class peacemaker? His Midheaven is 00 Pisces 14 with ruler spiritual Neptune at 22 Pis 29 retrograde (been there, done that previously) in the 10th for starters. Midheaven co-ruler Jupiter (philosopher, world traveler) is at 21 Gemini 04, also retrograde (been there, done that) in the 12th (internal philosophy) on the backside of his Ascendant at 24 Gem 37, strongly influencing his coping skills and personal projection. He was larger than life and the author of 35 books. His Jupiter opposes (confronts) his Venus (cooperation, conciliation, detenté, peace) in the 6 th of work/service, in Sagittarius (world diplomat) and conjunct (united) with his Sagittarian Descendant, his point of partnerships, alliances, truces, joint partners. There’s always more to read, but that makes my point.

The second American President (28th) to win the Nobel Peace Prize was Woodrow Wilson in 1919 for his work in creating the League of Nations and for orchestrating the Treaty of Versailles. Unfortunately the sitting U.S. Congress was so angry that he led us into the war (or we could be speaking German right now), even though he himself was against the war in principle. Congress refused to allow America to join the League and it never fully evolved. See what happens when you upset an obstructionist congress? The League was the predecessor to the United Nations. Regardless of whether his accomplishment was successful or not at that moment, the Nobel Prize Committee recognized his work as a man of peace. Much quieter than his predecessor Roosevelt, Wilson was a lawyer, dignified president of Princeton University and former governor of New Jersey. His accomplishments as President are truly myriad, including the Federal Trade Commission, Women’s Suffragette, Federal Reserve, Liberty Bonds, and more.

Astrologically President Wilson was very Saturn/Capricorn, Sun, Mercury in Capricorn, Saturn elevated in the 9th of foreign cultures, and Saturn’s old rulership of Aquarius holding Moon, Mars, Venus. This was a no-nonsense very clannish president and he had a tremendous sense of responsibility for his country (his Midheaven was 4Ës from the USA Sun.) If his hand had not been forced by Germany’s attack on international shipping, knowing that Europe was about to fall to the onslaught and that the door would then be open for Germany to attack the U.S., he would not have entered the war. Isolationism was typical of the U.S. since its birth but change entered with the Spanish-American War. I read the Lunar Nodes as relational and karmic. They straddled his Asc/Dec axis, with the emphasis coming from Libra on the Ascendant (habits, knowns, internally locked), growing towards the Descendant and Aries, more assertive, aggressive, especially regarding partners and alliances. I have mentioned his three Aquarius planets, but two are Venus and Mars, conjunct (united) within 1 minute of arc, on the money! His Asc/Dec and his N Node/S Node rulers act as an Ari/Libra unit. I think we can see this one.

The third American President (39th) to win the Nobel Peace Prize was James E. Carter in 2002, long after he left office. He was awarded the prize for work “to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development.” He was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. President Carter came from a farming/businessman, legal and military background. He was a naval officer until the death of his father required him to return to the farming/business world. He was both a Senator and Governor of Georgia, and presided over the Camp David Accords, Strategic Arms Limitation Talks, Iran Embassy takeover and hostage situation, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, civil rights, Geneva Accord, negotiations with North Korea, and more. He has been and is still active in the cause of peace and uplifting the human condition through his Carter Center work on human rights and his Habitat for Humanity.

Astrologically President Carter has both his 12th house Sun and Ascendant in Libra strongly indicating his desire for cooperation, conciliation, alliance, détente. He also has his Saturn 6Ës into the 1 st in Scorpio (widely conjunct his Ascendant) along with his Moon (intensity, deep feelings) later in the house. This strong 12th house plus Scorpio emphasis would lead to much behind the scenes activity. Scorpio’s ruler Pluto is elevated in the 9th adding to this emphasis and power and persuasion internationally is added to the mix. Many astrologers don’t realize the emphasis of Libra in past military leaders. Libra is the chess player, able to look through the eyes of all the positions and to project ahead and see moves as they develop. His sense of fairness and justice is so strong that it helped him become the peacemaker, but can cause him occasional problems for his forthright confrontation if he senses unfairness or injustice.

The fourth American President (44th) to win the Nobel Peace Prize is our sitting president, Barack Obama, the very surprised man I spoke of in my opening statement. The reason given for his selection was for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. It was also emphasized that it was given for performance and not expectations. Since he has been President for not quite nine months, his is a work in progress. America’s prestige and reputation had suffered worldwide for the previous eight years. President (and Mrs.) Obama have managed to recoup much of our lost position. President Obama has made overtures for peace and negotiation worldwide. Our country is again presenting itself as the world caretaker and no longer the world bully. He is young so his work is still establishing itself. Before his presidency he was a lawyer who majored in constitutional law, civil rights, community projects, and a first-term Senator from Illinois. He definitely has made an impression on the world community and the Nobel selection committee in particular. This honor gives him a challenge to fulfill what he has started. President Obama is the new kid on the block, a work in progress, huge potential that is working hard to produce actuality. He is the president of hope and change in our lifetime, as were Presidents Jefferson, Lincoln and Kennedy. Astrologically we can look to see if he has what it takes to produce. Production itself will be up to his efforts and reception by the world community. It is said that a prophet is seldom known in his own country (paraphrased) and the current political rhetoric is proof of that. The man needs a thick skin.

Astrologically Aquarius is rising, 18:02 and the rulers of the chart are Uranus is in the 7 th in Leo and Saturn in the 12th strong in Capricorn and conjunct Jupiter also in Aquarius, both retrograde in phase two of that great conjunction that signifies a new start lifetime. That is definitely apropos. The Nodes of expanded relationship and karma are again across the Asc/Dec axis as in President Wilson’s chart, about 9Ës into the 1st /7th . The strong tie between the Asc/Dec emphasizes the I/you/we role of partnership, alliance, and cooperation. The president has 5 planets (one of them the chart ruler) plus the Lunar Node within a 50Ës cluster across his 6th /7th houses. Here’s where the man lives. His connection to the world at large and international treaties is well illustrated. Yes he can. Now the question is “will he?” Judgment of the results is personal perspective.

Commonalities: I looked statistically for commonalities in this exclusive group of four. I had thought that Libra would be strongly represented due to the nature of the award: peace. The Ari/Lib axis was a weaker by overall count axis, but with both Presidents Wilson and Carter with Sun and Ascendant. All four presidents had placements in Cancer. “Three each had placements in Leo, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces. No signs were completely void. The overall average of all positions per sign is 4.5.

In my presidential research I had found good information by looking at the sign axis. Dominant and recessive qualities emerged easily. Because the 52 positions (13 x 4) must be divided by 6 axes, the average becomes 8.7 per axis. Two axes are high (14/10), two are low (4/5) and two (9) are average.

14 by axis: Leo/Aq 9 by axis: Vir/Pis 5 by axis: Ari/Lib

10 by axis: Can/Cap 9 by axis: Tau/Sco 4 by axis: Gem/Sag

All four presidents had placements in Tau/Sco and Vir/Pis. Three of four presidents had placements in Leo/Aqu and Can/Cap.

Looking at houses, all four presidents had placements in the 5th house and three each had placements in the 4th , 6th , 9th , 12th , no houses were empty. Because the midheaven and ascendant were two of the 13 points for each chart, the house count would be skewed so averages are not given.

Individual degrees showed distinct groupings. The strongest was 2 to 8.5Ës Tau/Sco with all four presidents represented. The next strongest was 18 to 22.5Ës Vir/Pis with all four presidents represented. Next was 22 to 27 Leo/Aqu with three of four presidents, followed by 13.5 to18.5 Can/Cap, again three of four.

USA chart: Because I have done extensive work with the USA Virgo rising chart, I saw individual Nobel Prize connections with that chart as well in three of four cases. The USA Neptune is 22 Vir 24. The USA Moon is 22 Aqu 38. The USA Sun is 13 Can 01. The exception was Teddy Roosevelt who was extremely strong in the Tau/Sco axis 2 to 8.5Ës.

Conclusion: President Obama follows an august lineage of bringing hope, change and ultimate success to the endeavors embodied in the Nobel Peach Prize. Astrologically, he has the potential to accomplish “fraternity among nations.”

Too Good to Be Forgotten – Nobel Prize Winner Sigrid Undset

Sigrid Undset (1882-1949) was always considered a Norwegian writer, but she was actually born in the Danish city of Kalundborg. Her father, Ingvald, was an archeologist and her mother, Anna Charlotte, was the daughter of an attorney. It is obvious that intellectually Sigrid was most influenced by her father as she developed a never dying fascination with the medieval history and mythology of Scandinavia. She may have resented her mother’s criticism of religion, but she was nevertheless influenced by her down-to-earth attitude to life.

Unfortunately Ingvald died, only forty years old, which was a financial catastrophe for the family which had moved to Norway. Anna Charlotte had to sell his collections of books which Sigrid later on tried to hunt down and buy. However, the financial situation of the family made it necessary for her to train and work as a secretary and she worked as such for ten years while reading and dreaming on her spare time. Also she started to write herself, but her first historical novel was turned down with the words that she lacked talent for writing about history. The first one she had published was the “Fru Marta Oulie” (1907) about an unfaithful wife which was a shocking subject for some critics. This contemporary novel was followed by a collection of short stories, “Den Lykkelige Alder” (1908), but it was the historical novel, “Fortællingen om Viga-Ljot og Vigdis” (1909) which got her the government scholarship that made it possible for her to stop her job as a secretary and become a full-time writer.

After “Jenny” (1911) she traveled widely in Europe, but in 1912 she married the Norwegian painter Anders Castus Svarstad who had three children from his previous marriage. In 1919 they separated and she settled down with her mentally retarded daughter, Maren Charlotte, and two sons. This development went parallel with the shift in religion that she underwent. When she converted to Catholicism she also had her marriage annulled. Over the years she had moved from a more traditional feminism, wanting jobs and social equality for young women, but then she started to argue for women keeping their traditional place in the home and not leaving it for jobs or careers. When she converted she was adamant that this was the place for women and that they should not give it up no matter what.

Her most famous novel and the one which earned her the Nobel Prize is the trilogy “Kristin Lavransdottir” (1920-22) which depicts women’s life in Catholic Norway of the 13th and 14th centuries. Kristin is the beautiful and spoilt daughter of Lavrans, based on her late father, who is seduced by the handsome Erlend and marries him, thus ending up in a hate-love relationship which tears at both of them and which makes her bitter. They have many children and problems abound, but being the housewife Kristin is the strong pillar of the family. In the end she dies, reconciled with God, and even welcoming her death.

In this fictive, medieval character Sigrid Undset depicts her women ideal as the strong centre of the family and society. Women in her works are depicted as someone above men because they have an ability to bring order and save families by sacrificing all that the traditional feminist movement fought for, i.e. individual freedom. I would say that what has been seen as blatant reaction is turned upside down and used by her to lift women to a higher position that they find in our time.

She published many more books, but she also took part in historical events like e.g. the resistance against Nazism. The money she won with her Nobel Prize she gave away, part of it to a foundation for mentally challenged children. She also sold her Nobel Prize medal and gave the money to the relief effort for Finnish children. When Norway was ockupied by the Nazis she joined the Resistance, and as she was very outspoken against Germany she had to flee the country and not return until after the war. She lived in Brooklyn, New York, and made friends with e.g. Willa Cather whose writing I think she may have influenced.

After returning home to Norway she was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of St. Olav for her service to the country and for her distinguished literary work. She died in 1949 after having lost her mother, her daughter and her eldest son some ten years earlier.