World War Two: Imperial Japanese Navy: Isolation of Java 1942

The Japanese planned to conquer the outlying islands of the Netherlands East Indies as a prelude to their final assault on Java. They had selected invasion targets which were rich in raw materials, and could provide airfields to cover future advances. They needed powerful fleets to escort them to the beachheads, giving covering fire as needed, protecting them against aggressive moves by ABDA’s combined fleet.

The operation to be employed incapturing Java wasa double envelopment. On the eastern flank, two invasion forces were created, commanded by Vive Admiral Ibo Yakahashi in the heavy cruiser Ashigara at Davao. The invasion forces were called the Eastern Invasion Force and Central Invasion Force, and were deployed to give each other mutual support and aid if needed. Untill the fall of Bandjarmasin on 16 February 1942, their invasions went on simultaneously. The Eastern Force was to lock in Java on the east, taking: Bangka Roads (in Celebes; not to be confused with Bangka Island , near Sumatra), Kema, Menado, and Kendari, Ambon Island, Makassar, Bali-Lombok, and Dutch and Portuguese Timor. To aid the Eastern Invasion Force, Admiral Nagumo used his carrier fleet, usually stationed south of Java, to knock out Port Darwin, Australia as a military staging base, and to present a constant threat to ABDA forces. The Central Invasion Force was to take Tarakan, Balikpapan, and Bandjarmasin (all in Dutch Borneo) and after the fall of Singapore, it was to launch an attack on west Java.

On the western flank, staging from Camranh Bay in French Indo-China, would be Admiral Nobutake Kondo’s Distant Cover Force and Vice Admiral Jisaburo Ozawa’s South Expeditionary Fleet, which would capture Anambas Island and aid the Army’s conquest of Malaya and Singapore. After Singapore fell, this fleet would then assist in the capture of Bangka Island and Palembang, and the rest of southeast Sumatra. It would then undertake the invasion of Java from the west. In the east, Vice Admiral Ibo Takahashi had a support force under Rear Admiral Takeo Takagi, which provided close cover.

As the various Japanese invasion forces were gathering in French Indo-China and the Philippine Islands, the Japanese Navy suffered its first serious loss. At Malalag Bay Davao, the Major Elements of the eastern invasion forces were crowded together at anchor. Suddenly at 1100 on 4 January 1942, ten B-17’s of the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF), flying at an altitude of 30,000 feet made an attack on the crowded immobilized fleet. No advance air[raid warning had been signaled. The heavy cruiser Myoko was hit with a 250 pound bomb on her No. 2 turret, thirty-five men were killed, and twenty-nine wounded. Splinters hit various ships, and damaged four planes on the deck of the seaplane tender Chitose, 545 yards away. The heavy cruiser Nachi was also sprayed with bomb fragments. The Myoko had to go to Sasebo for repairs and did not return to action till 26 February. No Japanese planes intercepted the raiders, and antiaircraft fire was weak, so that the B-17’s returned to base undamaged. Negligence, perhaps bred by the easy successes already attained, had made the Japanese unprepared. The damage to the Myoko did not weaken the Cover Force, nor did it teach the Japanese a lesson; there would be many more incidents where the destructive power of the U.S. planes against anchored Japanese ships would be demonstrated.

The next target fir the Japanese was Celebes, a large island (70,000 square miles) lying east of Borneo and forming the western boundary to the Molucca Sea. It consists mainly of four long, twisting peninsulas separated by three deep gulfs. Because its elevation is much higher than Borneo, its vegetation is not as lush. It contains no rich oil fields, but instead is noted for its spices, coffee and a fair amount of gold, copper, ten and diamonds. It became a target for occupation, not so much for any material it could provide, but rather to clear the way for the Japanese expansion into the Molucca Sea area, and to provide air an naval bases to aid further occupation of the Netherlands East Indies.

Menado, Kema, Bangka Roads

Admiral Takahashi’s First Eastern Invasion Force left Davao in the southern Philipinne’s on 9 January 1942 for Mendo, Kema, Bangka Roads, at the northern tip of the Celebes. Opposing a powerful landing force of evelen transports, Menado had a garrison of only 1,500 men, fewer than 400 of them regular army troops. A few ABDA planes tried unsuccessfully to bomb the Japanese ships as they came to anchor. The landings were started at 0300 on 11 January and the Dutch were overwhelmed. There had been no need for the 334 Japanese naval paratroopers (in twenty-seven planes) flown from Davao, who confused the operation more than they helped it. (it was the first time the Japanese had used paratroopers, the winds were strong, and the drops were made from much too high an altitude. Equipment and men were scattered all over the end of the peninsula) The regular landings however, were made swiftly and the transports quickly left the area. The Menado airfield was in operation for the 21st Sir Flotilla by 24 January.

Kendari

The Eastern Invasion Force soon was on the move again, staging at Menado on 21 January and appearing off Kendari in the southeast Celebes on 24 January. An American seaplane tender, the Childs, upon leaving Kendari harbor, spotted the Japanese. A rain squall obscured the Childs for a while, allowing her to avoid two Japanese destroyers. She then suffered a bombing attack by six Japanese planes at 0800, but was unhit, and escaped to the south.

Kandari could not be given enough military support to stop the invasion, and little resistance was offered. There were only two men wounded in the landing force, and Kendari was fully occupied by the evening of the 24 January. It was indeed a prize for the Japanese; its air base was considered the best in the Dutch Indies, and was immediately put into operation by the 21st Air Flotilla. The new base put Japanese bombers within range of Surabaja, Java, with its naval base, and enabled to disrupt air reinforcements being sent to the Dutch Indies from Australia. Furthermore, the sea road had been opened to Ambon Island to the east and Makassar to the west. A primary naval base was established at Staring Bay, just to the south of Kendari.

Ambon Island

Although ABDA command’s intelligence had no way of knowing so, the Japanese wanted an early occupation of Ambon Island. Because its regular garrison of 2,600 Australian, British, Dutch, and American troops had been reinforced in December 1941 by an Australian battalion and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) squadron of 13 Hudsons, Ambon Island posed an air threat to Kendari and blocked a Japanese advance to the Timors. The Japanese Imperial General Headquarters regarded an early Ambon Island invasion as dangerous but urgent. More than fifty planes from carriers Hiryu and Soryu began air raids on 24 January , the day Kendari fell, and were soon joined by other carrier-and-land-based aircraft.

In the fact of the superiority of Japanese air power, the RAAF squadron had been withdrawn from Ambon, leaving it without air defense. The Japanese force eleven transports anchored of the island on the night of 30 January. Predawn landings were made 31 January, covered by planes from the Chitose and the Mizuho, at Bangka Roads, Celebes. The garrison put up stiff resistance, in hopeless fight, the last ABDA troops surrendered on 3 February, and the complete occupation of the island was accomplished by the next day. The Japanese moved closer to establishing the eastern jaw of the pincers on Java.

SOURCE: Battle History of the Imperial Japanese Navy 1941-45; BY: Paul S. Dull

World War Two: Imperial Japanese Navy: British Borneo 1941

 

 

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Ancient Empires: Babylon (2)

The successor of Nebuchadnezzar was his son Evil-Mero-dach, who reigned only two years, and of whom very little is known. We may expect that the marvelous events of his father’s life, which are recorded in the Book of Daniel, had made a deep impression upon him, and that he was thence inclined to favor the persons, and perhaps the religion, of the Jews.

One of his first acts was to release the unfortunate Jehoiachin from the imprisonment in which he had languished for thirty-five years, and to treat him with kindness and respect. He not only recognized his royal rank, but gave him precedence over all the captive kings resident at Babylon. Josephus says that he even admitted Jehoiachin into the number of his most intimate friends. Perhaps he may have designed him some further advancement, and may in other respects have entertained projects which seemed strange and alarming to his subjects. At any rate he had been but two years upon the throne when a conspiracy was formed against him; he was accused of lawlessness and intemperance; his own brother-in-law, Neriglissar, the husband of a daughter of Nebuchadnezzar, headed the malcontents; and Evil-Merodach lost his life with his crown.

Neriglissar, the successful conspirator, was at once acknowledged king. He is probably identical with the “Nergal-shar-ezer, Rab-Mag,” of Jeremiah, who occupied a prominent position among the Babylonian nobles left to press the siege of Jerusalem when Nebuchadnezzar retired to Riblah. The title of “Rab-Mag,” is one that he bears upon his bricks.

It is doubtful what exactly his office was; for we have no reason to believe that there were at this time any Magi at Babylon; but it was certainly an ancient and very high dignity of which even kings might be proud. It is remarkable that Neriglissar calls himself the son of Bel-sum-iskun, “king of Babylon”–a monarch whose name does not appear in Ptolemy’s list, but who is probably to be identified with a chieftain so called, who assumed the royal title in the troubles which preceded the fall of the Assyrian Empire.

During his short reign of four years, or rather three years and a few months, Neriglissar had not time to distinguish himself by many exploits. So far as appears, he was at peace with all his neighbors, and employed his time principally in the construction of the Western Palace at Babylon, which was a large building placed at one corner of a fortified inclosure, directly opposite the ancient royal residence, and abutting on the Euphrates. If the account which Diodorus gives of this palace be not a gross exaggeration of the truth, it must have been a magnificent erection, elaborately ornamented with painting and sculpture in the best style of Babylonian art, though in size it may have been inferior to the old residence of the kings on the other side of the river.

Neriglissar reigned from B.C. 559 to B.C. 556, and dying a natural death in the last-named year, left his throne to his son, Laborosoarchod, or Labossoracus. This prince, who was a mere boy, and therefore quite unequal to the task of governing a great empire in critical times, was not allowed to retain the crown many months. Accused by those about him–whether justly or unjustly we cannot say–of giving many indications of a bad disposition, he was deposed and put to death by torture. With him power passed from the House of Nabopolassar, which had held the throne for just seventy years.

On the death of Laborosoarchod the conspirators selected one of their number, a certain Nabonadius or Nabannidochus, and invested him with the sovereignty. He was in no way related to the late monarch, and his claim to succeed must have been derived mainly from the part which he had played in the conspiracy. But still he was a personage of some rank, for his father had, like Neriglissar, held the important office of Rab Mag.

It is probable that one of his first steps on ascending the throne was to connect himself by marriage with the royal house which had preceded him in the kingdom. Either the mother of the late king Laborosoarchod, and widow of Neriglissar, or possibly some other daughter of Nebuchadnezzar, was found willing to unite her fortune with those of the new sovereign, and share the dangers and the dignity of his position.

Such a union strengthened the hold of the reigning monarch on the allegiance of his subjects, and tended still more to add stability to his dynasty. For as the issue of such a marriage would join in one the claims of both royal houses, he would be sure to receive the support of all parties in the state. Very shortly after the accession of Nabonadius (B.C. 555) he received an embassy from the far north-west.

An important revolution had occurred on the eastern frontier of Babylonia three years before, in the reign of Neriglissar; but its effects only now began to make themselves felt among the neighboring nations. Had Cyrus, on taking the crown, adopted the policy of Astyages, the substitution of Persia for Media as the ruling Arian nation would have been a matter of small account. But there can be little doubt that he really entered at once on a career of conquest, Lydia, at any rate, felt herself menaced by the new power, and seeing the danger which threatened the other monarchies of the time, if they allowed the great Arian kingdom to attack them severally with her full force, proposed a league whereby the common enemy might, she thought, be resisted with success. Ambassadors seem to have been sent from Sardis to Babylon in the very year in which Nabonadius became king.

He therefore had at once to decide whether he would embrace the offer made him, and uniting with Lydia and Egypt in a league against Persia, make that power his enemy, or refuse the proffered alliance and trust to the gratitude of Cyrus for the future security of his kingdom. It would be easy to imagine the arguments pro and contra which presented themselves to his mind at this conjuncture; but as they would be destitute of a historical foundation, it is perhaps best to state simply the decision at which he is known to have arrived. This was an acceptance of the Lydian offer. Nabonadius consented to join the proposed league; and a treaty was probably soon afterwards concluded between the three powers whereby they united in an alliance offensive and defensive against the Persians.

Knowing that he had provoked a powerful enemy by this bold act, and ignorant how soon he might be called upon to defend his kingdom, from the entire force of his foe, which might be suddenly hurled against him almost at any moment, Nabonadius seems to have turned his attention at once to providing means of defence. The works ascribed by Herodotus to a queen, Nitocris, whom he makes the mother of Nabonadius (Labynetus) must be regarded as in reality constructions of that monarch himself, undertaken with the object of protecting Babylon from Cyrus.

They consisted in part of defences within the city, designed apparently to secure it against an enemy who should enter by the river, in part of hydraulic works intended to obstruct the advances of an army by the usual route. The river had hitherto flowed in its natural bed through the middle of the town. Nabonadius confined the stream by a brick embankment carried the whole way along both banks, after which he built on the top of the embankment a wall of a considerable height, pierced at intervals by gateways, in which were set gates of bronze. He likewise made certain cuttings, reservoirs, and sluices at some distance from Babylon towards the north, which were to be hindrances to an enemy’s march, though in what way is not very apparent. Some have supposed that besides these works there was further built at the same time a great wall which extended entirely across the tract between the two rivers–a huge barrier a hundred feet high and twenty thick–meant, like the Roman walls in Britain and the great wall of China, to be insurmountable by an unskillful foe; but there is ground for suspecting that this belief is ill-founded, having for its sole basis a misconception of Xenophon’s.

Nabonadius appears to have been allowed ample time to carry out to the full his system of defenses, and to complete all his preparations. The precipitancy of Croesus, who plunged into a war with Persia single-handed, asking no aid from his allies, and the promptitude of Cyrus, who allowed him no opportunity of recovering from his first false step, had prevented Nabonadius from coming into actual collision with Persia in the early part of his reign. The defeat of Croesus in the battle of Pteria, the siege of Sardis, and its capture, followed so rapidly on the first commencement of hostilities, that whatever his wishes may have been, Nabonadius had it not in his power to give any help to his rash ally. Actual war was thus avoided at this time; and no collision having occurred, Cyrus could defer an attack on the great kingdom of the south until he had consolidated his power in the north and the northeast, which he rightly regarded as of the last importance. Thus fourteen years intervened between the capture of Sardis by the Persian arms and the commencement of the expedition against Babylon.

When at last it was rumored that the Persian king had quitted Ecbatana (B.C. 539) and commenced his march to the south-west, Nabonadius received the tidings with indifference. His defenses were completed: his city was amply provisioned; if the enemy should defeat him in the open field, he might retire behind his walls, and laugh to scorn all attempts to reduce his capital either by blockade or storm. It does not appear to have occurred to him that it was possible to protect his territory. With a broad, deep, and rapid river directly interposed between him and his foe, with a network of canals spread far and wide over his country, with an almost inexhaustible supply of human labor at his command for the construction of such dikes, walls, or cuttings as he should deem advisable, Nabonadius might, one would have thought, have aspired to save his land from invasion, or have disputed inch by inch his enemy’s advance towards the capital.

But such considerations have seldom had much force with Orientals, whose notions of war and strategy are even now of the rudest and most primitive description. To measure one’s strength as quickly as possible with that of one’s foe, to fight one great pitched battle in order to decide the question of superiority in the field, and then, if defeated, either to surrender or to retire behind walls, has been the ordinary conception of a commander’s duties in the East from the time of the Ramesside kings to our own day. No special blame therefore attaches to Nabonadius for his neglect.

He followed the traditional policy of Oriental monarchs in the course which he took. And his subjects had less reason to complain of his resolution than most others, since the many strongholds in Babylonia must have afforded them a ready refuge, and the great fortified district within which Babylon itself stood must have been capable of accommodating with ease the whole native population of the country.

If we may trust Herodotus, the invader, having made all his preparations and commenced his march, came to a sudden pause midway between Ecbatana and Babylon. One of the sacred white horses, which drew the chariot of Ormazd, had been drowned in crossing a river; and Cyrus had thereupon desisted from his march, and, declaring that he would revenge himself on the insolent stream, had set his soldiers to disperse its waters into 360 channels. This work employed him during the whole summer and autumn; nor was it till another spring had come that he resumed his expedition.

To the Babylonians such a pause must have appeared like irresolution. They must have suspected that the invader had changed his mind and would not venture across the Tigris. If the particulars of the story reached them, they probably laughed at the monarch who vented his rage on inanimate nature, while he let his enemies escape scot free.

Cyrus, however, had a motive for his proceedings which will appear in the sequel. Having wintered on the banks of the Gyndes in a mild climate, where tents would have been quite a sufficient protection to his army, he put his troops in motion at the commencement of spring, crossed the Tigris apparently unopposed, and soon came in sight of the capital. Here he found the Babylonian army drawn out to meet him under the command of Nabonadius himself, who had resolved to try the chance of a battle. An engagement ensued, of which we possess no details; our informants simply tell us that the Babylonian monarch was completely defeated, and that, while most of his army sought safety within the walls of the capital, he himself with a small body of troops threw himself into Borsippa, an important town lying at a short distance from Babylon towards the south-west. It is not easy to see the exact object of this movement.

Perhaps Nabonadius thought that the enemy would thereby be obliged to divide his army, which might then more easily be defeated; perhaps he imagined that by remaining without the walls he might be able to collect such a force among his subjects and allies as would compel the beleaguering army to withdraw. Or, possibly, he merely followed an instinct of self-preservation, and fearing that the soldiers of Cyrus might enter Babylon with his own, if he fled thither, sought refuge in another city.

It might have been supposed that his absence would have produced anarchy and confusion in the capital; but a step which he had recently taken with the object of giving stability to his throne rendered the preservation of order tolerably easy. At the earliest possible moment–probably when he was about fourteen–he had associated with him in the government his son, Belshazzar, or Bel-shar-uzur, the grandson of the great Nebuchadnezzar. This step, taken most likely with a view to none but internal dangers, was now found exceedingly convenient for the purposes of the war.

In his father’s absence Belshazzar took the direction of affairs within the city, and met and foiled for a considerable time all the assaults of the Persians. He was young and inexperienced, but he had the counsels of the queen-mother to guide and support him, as well as those of the various lords and officers of the court. So well did he manage the defense that after a while Cyrus despaired, and as a last resource ventured on a stratagem in which it was clear that he must either succeed or perish.

Withdrawing the greater part of his army from the vicinity of the city, and leaving behind him only certain corps of observation, Cyrus marched away up the course of the Euphrates for a certain distance, and there proceeded to make a vigorous use of the spade. His soldiers could now appreciate the value of the experience which they had gained by dispersing the Gyndes, and perceive that the summer and autumn of the preceding year had not been wasted. They dug a channel or channels from the Euphrates, by means of which a great portion of its water would be drawn off, and hoped in this way to render the natural course of the river fordable.

When all was prepared, Cyrus determined to wait for the arrival of a certain festival, during which the whole population were wont to engage in drinking and reveling, and then silently in the dead of night to turn the water of the river and make his attack. It fell out as he hoped and wished. The festival was held with even greater pomp and splendor than usual; for Belshazzar, with the natural insolence of youth, to mark his contempt of the besieging army, abandoned himself wholly to the delights of the season, and himself entertained a thousand lords in his palace. Elsewhere the rest of the population was occupied in feasting and dancing. Drunken riot and mad excitement held possession of the town; the siege was forgotten; ordinary precautions were neglected. Following the example of their king, the Babylonians gave themselves up for the night to orgies in which religious frenzy and drunken excess formed a strange and revolting medley.

Meanwhile, outside the city, in silence and darkness, the Persians watched at the two points where the Euphrates entered and left the walls. Anxiously they noted the gradual sinking of the water in the river-bed; still more anxiously they watched to see if those within the walls would observe the suspicious circumstance and sound an alarm through the town. Should such an alarm be given, all their labors would be lost. If, when they entered the river-bed, they found the river-walls manned and the river-gates fast-locked, they would be indeed “caught in a trap.” Enfiladed on both sides by an enemy whom they could neither see nor reach, they would be overwhelmed and destroyed by his missiles before they could succeed in making their escape. But, as they watched, no sounds of alarm reached them–only a confused noise of revel and riot, which showed that the unhappy townsmen were quite unconscious of the approach of danger.

At last shadowy forms began to emerge from the obscurity of the deep river-bed, and on the landing-places opposite the river-gates scattered clusters of men grew into solid columns–the undefended gateways were seized–a war-shout was raised–the alarm was taken and spread–and swift runners started off to “show the King of Babylon that his city was taken at one end.” In the darkness and confusion of the night a terrible massacre ensued. The drunken revelers could make no resistance. The king paralyzed with fear at the awful handwriting upon the wall, which too late had warned him of his peril, could do nothing even to check the progress of the assailants, who carried all before them everywhere.

Bursting into the palace, a band of Persians made their way to the presence of the monarch, and slew him on the scene of his impious revelry. Other bands carried fire and sword through the town. When morning came, Cyrus found himself undisputed master of the city, which, if it had not despised his efforts, might with the greatest ease have baffled them.

The war, however, was not even yet at an end. Nabonadius still held Borsippa, and, if allowed to remain unmolested, might have gradually gathered strength and become once more a formidable foe. Cyrus, therefore, having first issued his orders that the outer fortifications of Babylon should be dismantled, proceeded to complete his conquest by laying siege to the town where he knew that Nabonadius had taken refuge.

That monarch, however perceiving that resistance would be vain, did not wait till Borsippa was invested, but on the approach of his enemy surrendered himself. Cyrus rewarded his submission by kind and liberal treatment. Not only did he spare his life, but (if we may trust Abydenus) he conferred on him the government of the important province of Carmania.

Thus perished the Babylonian empire. If we seek the causes of its fall, we shall find them partly in its essential military inferiority to the kingdom that had recently grown up upon its borders, partly in the accidental circumstance that its ruler at the time of the Persian attack was a man of no great capacity. Had Nebuchadnezzar himself, or a prince of his mental caliber, been the contemporary of Cyrus, the issue of the contest might have been doubtful. Babylonia possessed naturally vast powers of resistance–powers which, had they been made use of to the utmost, might have tired out the patience of the Persians.

That lively, active, but not over-persevering people would scarcely have maintained a siege with the pertinacity of the Babylonians themselves or of the Egyptians. If the stratagem of Cyrus had failed–and its success depended wholly on the Babylonians exercising no vigilance–the capture of the town would have been almost impossible. Babylon was too large to be blockaded; its walls were too lofty to be scaled, and too massive to be battered down by the means possessed by the ancients. Mining in the soft alluvial soil would have been dangerous work, especially as the town ditch was deep and supplied with abundant water from the Euphrates. Cyrus, had he failed in his night attack, would probably have at once raised the siege; and Babylonian independence might perhaps in that case have been maintained down to the time of Alexander.

Even thus, however, the “Empire” would not have been continued. So soon as it became evident that the Babylonians were no match for the Persians in the field, their authority over the subject nations was at an end. The Susianians, the tribes of the middle Euphrates, the Syrians, the Phoenicians, the Jews, the Idumseans, the Ammonites and Moabites, would have gravitated to the stronger power, even if the attack of Cyrus on Babylon itself had been repulsed. For the conquests of Cyrus in Asia Minor, the Oxus region, and Afghanistan, had completely destroyed the balance of power in Western Asia, and given to Persia a preponderance both in men and in resources against which the cleverest and most energetic of Babylonian princes would have struggled in vain. Persia must in any case have absorbed all the tract between Mount Zagros and the Mediterranean, except Babylonia Proper; and thus the successful defense of Babylon would merely have deprived the Persian Empire of a province.

In its general character the Babylonian Empire was little more than a reproduction of the Assyrian. The same loose organization of the provinces under native kings rather than satraps almost universally prevailed, with the same duties on the part of suzerain and subjects and the same results of ever-recurring revolt and re-conquest. Similar means were employed under both empires to check and discourage rebellion–mutilations and executions of chiefs, pillage of the rebellious region, and wholesale deportation of its population.

Babylon, equally with Assyria, failed to win the affections of the subject nations, and, as a natural result, received no help from them in her hour of need. Her system was to exhaust and oppress the conquered races for the supposed benefit of the conquerors, and to impoverish the provinces for the adornment and enrichment of the capital. The wisest of her monarch’s thought it enough to construct works of public utility in Babylonia Proper, leaving the dependent countries to themselves, and doing nothing to develop their resources. This selfish system was, like most selfishness, short-sighted; it alienated those whom it would have been true policy to conciliate and win. When the time of peril came, the subject nations were no source of strength to the menaced empire, On the contrary, it would seem that some even turned against her and made common cause with the assailants.

Babylonian civilization differed in many respects from Assyrian, to which however it approached more nearly than to any other known type. Its advantages over Assyrian were in its greater originality, its superior literary character, and its comparative width and flexibility.

Babylonia seems to have been the source from which Assyria drew her learning, such as it was, her architecture, the main ideas of her mimetic art, her religious notions, her legal forms, and a vast number of her customs and usages. But Babylonia herself, so far as we know, drew her stores from no foreign country. Hers was apparently the genius which excogitated an alphabet–worked out the simpler problems of arithmetic–invented implements for measuring the lapse of time–conceived the idea of raising enormous structures with the poorest of all materials, clay–discovered the art of polishing, boring, and engraving gems–reproduced with truthfulness the outlines of human and animal forms–attained to high perfection in textile fabrics–studied with success the motions of the heavenly bodies–conceived of grammar as a science–elaborated a system of law–saw the value of an exact chronology–in almost every branch of science made a beginning, thus rendering it comparatively easy for other nations to proceed with the superstructure.

To Babylonia, far more than to Egypt, we owe the art and learning of the Greeks. It was from the East, not from Egypt, that Greece derived her architecture, her sculpture, her science, her philosophy, her mathematical knowledge–in a word, her intellectual life. And Babylon was the source to which the entire stream of Eastern civilization may be traced. It is scarcely too much to say that, but for Babylon, real civilization might not even yet have dawned upon the earth. Mankind might never have advanced beyond that spurious and false form of it which in Egypt, India, China, Japan, Mexico, and Peru, contented the aspirations of the species.

SOURCE: The Seven Great Monarchies Of The Ancient Eastern World, Vol 4. (of 7): Babylon; BY: George Rawlinson

Ancient Empires: Babylon (1)

Epic of Ishtar and Izdubar: The King On Leaving The Happy Halls Meets Ur-Hea (Part 43) Assyrian

(The Boatman Of The Seer Khasisadra–They Build A Ship And Embark On An Unknown Sea, And On Their Voyage Pass Through The Waters Of Death)

And Izdubar turned from the Halls and goes
Toward a fountain in the park, whence flows
A merry stream toward the wood.

He finds An axe beside the fount, and thoughtful winds,
Through groves of sandal-wood and mastic-trees
And algum, umritgana. Now he sees
The sig-a-ri and ummakana, pines,
With babuaku; and ri-wood brightly shines
Among the azuhu; all precious woods
That man esteems are grown around, each buds
Continuous in the softened, balmy air.

He stops beneath a musrilkanna where
The pine-trees spread toward the glowing sea,
Wild mingled with the surman, sa-u-ri.

The King, now seated, with himself communes,
Heeds not the warbling of the birds, and tunes
Of gorgeous songsters in the trees around,
But sadly sighing gazes on the ground:
“And I a ship must build; alas! I know
Not how I shall return, if I thus go.

The awful Flood of Death awaits me there,
Wide-stretching from this shore–I know not where.”
He rests his chin upon his hand in thought,
Full weary of a life that woe had brought;

He says: “When I remember Siduri,
Whose heart with fondest love would comfort me
Within these Happy Halls, why should I go
To pain and anguish, death, mayhap, and woe?
But will I thus desert my kingdom, throne?
For one I know not! What! my fame alone!
Mine honor should preserve! and royal state!
Alas! this Fame is but a dream of–Fate!

“A longing after that which does not cheer
The heart. Applause of men, or thoughtless sneer,
Is naught to me, I am alone! alone!
This Immortality cannot atone
For my hard fate that wrings mine aching heart.
I long for peace and rest, and I must start
And find it, leave these luring bright abodes,–
I seek the immortality of gods.

This Fame of man is not what it doth seem,
It sleeps with all the past, a vanished dream.
My duty calls me to my kingdom, throne!
To Khasisadra go, whose aid alone
Can save my people from an awful fate
That hangs above them, born of Fiends of hate.

And I shall there return without my seer!
I live; and he is dead. Why did I hear
His words advising me to come? Alas!
I sadly all my weary days shall pass;
No one shall love me as my seer, my friend.

“But what said Siduri?–There comes an end
At last to sorrow, joy will hopeful spring
On wings of Light! Oh, how my heart will sing!
I bless ye all, ye holy spirits here!
Your songs will linger with me, my heart cheer;
Upon my way I turn with joy again!

How true your joyful song! your memory then
Will keep me hopeful through yon darkened way;
How bright this land doth look beside the sea!”

He looks across the fields; the river glows
And winds beside taprani-trees, and flows
By teberinth and groves of tarpikhi
And ku-trees; curving round green mez-kha-i,
Through beds of flowers, that kiss its waves and spring
Luxuriant,–with songs the groves far ring.

Now thinking of the ship, he turns his eyes,
Toward the fountain,–springs up with surprise!
“‘Tis he! the boatman comes! Ur-Hea comes!
And, oh! at last, I’ll reach the glistening domes
Of Khasisadra’s palaces,–at last
My feet shall rest,–upon that land be placed.”

And now Ur-Hea nearer makes his way,
And Izdubar addressing him, doth say:
“Ur-Hea is thy name? from yonder sea
Thou comest, from the seer across the way?”

“Thou speakest truth, great Sar, what wouldst thou have?”
“How shall I Khasisadra reach? The grave
He hath escaped, Immortal lives beyond,
For I to him upon my way am bound;
Shall I the waters cross or take my way
Through yon wide desert, for I start this day?”

“Across the sea we go, for I with thee
Return to him,–I know the winding way.
Thine axe of bronze with precious stones inlaid
With mine, we’ll use beneath the pine-trees’ shade.”

And now, within the grove a ship they made,
Complete and strong as wise Ur-Hea bade.
They fell the pines five “gar” in length, and hew
The timbers square, and soon construct a new
And buoyant vessel, firmly fixed the mast,
And tackling, sails, and oars make taut and fast.

Thus built, toward the sea they push its prow,
Equipped complete, provisioned, launch it now.
An altar next they raise and thus invoke
The gods, their evil-workings to revoke:

“[1]O Lord of Charms, Illustrious! who gives
Life to the Dead, the Merciful who lives,
And grants to hostile gods of Heaven return,
To homage render, worship thee, and learn
Obedience! Thou who didst create mankind
In tenderness, thy love round us, oh, wind!

The Merciful, the God with whom is Life,
Establish us, O Lord, in darkest strife.
O never may thy truth forgotten be,
May Accad’s race forever worship thee.”

One month and fifteen days upon the sea,
Thus far the voyagers are on their way;
Now black before them lies a barren shore,
O’ertopped with frowning cliffs, whence comes a roar
Of some dread fury of the elements
That shakes the air and sweeping wrath foments
O’er winds and seas.

And see! a yawning cave,
There opens vast into a void dislave,
Where fremed shadows ride the hueless waves.
Dread Ninazu whose deathless fury craves
For hapless victims lashes with a roar
The mighty seas upon that awful shore.

The Fiends of Darkness gathered lie in wait,
With Mammitu, the goddess of fierce hate,
And Gibil[2] with his spells, and Nibiru[3]
The twin-god of black Fate, and grim Nusku[4]
The keeper of red thunders, and Urbat[5]
The dog of Death, and fiend of Queen Belat;[6]
And Nuk-khu, and the black-browed Ed-hutu[7]
The gods of darkness here with Tsi-lat-tu.[8]

And see! Dark Rimmon[9] o’er a crag alone!
And Gibil with his blasting malisoun,
Above with his dark face maleficent,
Who wields a power o’er men omnipotent
Forlore! forlore! the souls who feel that blast
Which sweeps around that black forbidding coast!

Fierce whirling storms and hurricanes here leap,
With blasting lightnings maltalent and sweep
The furious waves that lash around that shore,
As the fierce whirl of some dread maelstrom’s power!
Above the cavern’s arch! see! Ninip[10] stands!
He points within the cave with beckoning hands!

Ur-Hea cries: “My lord! the tablets[11] say,
That we should not attempt that furious way!
Those waters of black death will smite us down!
Within that cavern’s depths we will but drown.”
“We cannot go but once, my friend, that road,”
The hero said, “‘Tis only ghosts’ abode!”

“We go, then, Izdubar, its depths will sound,
But we within that gloom will whirl around,
Around, within that awful whirlpool black,–
And once within, we dare not then turn back,–
How many times, my friend, I dare not say,
‘Tis written, we within shall make our way.”

The foaming tide now grasped them with its power,
And billowed round them with continuous roar;
Away! they whirl! with growing speed, till now
They fly on lightnings’ wings and ride the brow
Of maddened tempests o’er the dizzy deep.
So swift they move,–the waves in seeming sleep
Beneath them, whirling there with force unseen.

But see! Updarting with a sulphurous gleen,
The hag of Death leaps on the trembling prow!
Her eyes, of fire and hate, turns on them now!
With famine gaunt, and haggard face of doom,
She sits there soundless in the awful gloom.

“O gods!” shrieked Izdubar in his despair,
“Have I the god of Fate at last met here?
Avaunt, thou Fiend! hence to thy pit of Hell!
Hence! hence! and rid me of thy presence fell!”

And see! she nearer comes with deathless ire,
With those fierce, moveless, glaring eyes of fire!
Her wand is raised! she strikes!

“O gods!” he screams;
He falls beneath that bolt that on them gleams,
And she is gone within the awful gloom.
Hark! hear those screams!
“Accurst! Accurst thy doom!”
And lo! he springs upon his feet in pain,
And cries: “Thy curses, fiend! I hurl again!”
And now a blinding flash disparts the black
And heavy air, a moment light doth break;

And see! the King leans fainting ‘gainst the mast,
With glaring eyeballs, clenched hands,–aghast!
Behold! that pallid face and scaly hands!
A leper white, accurst of gods, he stands!
A living death, a life of awful woe,
Incurable by man, his way shall go.
But oh! the seer in all enchantments wise
Will cure him on that shore, or else he dies.

And see! the vessel’s prow with shivering turns,
Adown the roaring flood that gapes and churns
Beneath like some huge boiling cauldron black,
Thus whirl they in the slimy cavern’s track.
And spirit ravens round them fill the air,
And see! they fly! the cavern sweeps behind!

Away the ship doth ride before the wind!
The darkness deep from them has fled away,
The fiends are gone!–the vessel in the spray
With spreading sails has caught the glorious breeze,
And dances in the light o’er shining seas;

The blissful haven shines upon their way,
The waters of the Dawn sweep o’er the sea!
They proudly ride up to the glowing sand,
And joyfully the King springs to the land.

[Footnote 1: This remarkable prayer is to be found among a collection of prayers which are numbered and addressed to separate deities. It seems that the prayers were originally Accadian, and were afterward adopted by the Assyrians, and made to apply to one god (Hea). Professor Oppert and Professor Sayce think, however, that they are connected in one hymn to Hea. This may have been so after the Assyrians adopted them, but they are distinct, and addressed to separate gods. The one we have selected is addressed to Hea, the Creator of Mankind, Sayce edition Smith’s “C.A.G.,” pp. 75 to 80. The one we have selected is found at the top of page 77, idem.]–[Footnote 2: “Gibil,” the god of fire, of spells and witchcraft.]–[Footnote 3: “Nibiru,” the god of fate, and ruler of the stars.]–[Footnote 4: “Nusku,” the gatekeeper of thunders.]–[Footnote 5: “Urbat,” the dog of Death.]–[Footnote 6: “Belat” or “Allat,” the Queen of Hades.]–[Footnote 7: “Ed-hutu,” god of darkness.]–[Footnote 8: “Tsi-lat-tu,” shades of night.]–[Footnote 9: “Rimmon,” god of storms.]–[Footnote 10: “Ninip,” god of bravery and war.]–[Footnote 11: “Tablets.” This may mean charts or scrolls similar to the charts used by modern navigators. Babylon communicated with all nations in commerce.]

SOURCE: Babylonian and Assyrian Literature; Alcove II, Tablet VIII (1901): Translated by Leonidas Le Cenci Hamilton, M.A.

Epic of Ishtar and Izdubar: Khasisadra On The Shore Sees The Vessel Coming (Part 44) Assyrian

Epic of Ishtar and Izdubar: The King’s Adventure At The Gate Of The Garden Of The Gods (Part 42) Assyrian

Holidays Around The World for Jan. 14: Hostos Day

Hostos Day

 

Eugenio Maria de Hostos (1839-1903) was a Puerto Rican philosopher and patriot who became a leader of the opposition toSpanish colonial rule in the 19th century. He campaigned for the education of women in Brazil, and his books on law andeducation triggered reforms in other Latin American countries. He even sponsored the first railroad between Chile andArgentina, across the Andes Mountains. The anniversary of his birth is observed as a public holiday in Puerto Rico on thesecond Monday in January.

CONTACTS:
Puerto Rico Tourism Company
135 W. 50th St. 22nd Fl.
New York, NY 10020
800-223-6530 or 212-586-6262; fax: 212-586-1212
http://www.gotopuertorico.com
SOURCES:
AnnivHol-2000, p. 8
BkHolWrld-1986, Jan 11

This Day in History, Jan. 14: San Francisco’s Human Be-In Launches “Summer of Love” (1967)

San Francisco’s Human Be-In Launches “Summer of Love” (1967)

Fifty years ago today, thousands gathered at the Polo Fields in Golden Gate Park for the Human Be-In–a happening that launched California counterculture on its path towards the Summer of Love. Organized by San Francisco Oracle co-founders Allen Cohen and Michael Bowen, the event was intended to gather diverse “tribes” from within the San Francisco Bay Area’s counterculture community, but it also caught the attention of curious (straight) locals, who brought their kids to see the fuss, and far-flung travelers. Beat messiahs and an LSD prophet shared the stage with future rock and roll royalty, but why did it happen and what did it all mean? So much more than the organizers could have ever dreamed…

The idea for the Human Be-In emerged from a smaller but similar happening that took place in the Panhandle of Golden Gate Park on October 6, 1966. Called the Love Pageant Rally, it was organized by Allen Cohen and Michael Bowen to peacefully mark the day California made LSD illegal with a “celebration of innocence, [the] beauty of the universe…[the] beauty of being.” Between 1,000 and 3,000 people swarmed the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood and into the nearby Panhandle where they saw The Grateful Dead, Big Brother and the Holding Company (featuring a new young singer named Janis Joplin), and Ken Kesey with his Merry Pranksters on the Further Bus.

At the end of the event, Bowen stood with Cohen on a Panhandle path near Oak and Clayton Streets, and they reveled in their success. Seeing Richard Alpert (later known as spiritual leader Ram Dass) walk by, Bowen yelled “Isn’t this far out? People are sure hungry for some communicating. They love it. It’s a joyous moment. What do you think, Alpert?” He agreed, and Cohen told Bowen he should do it again. “Yeah,” Bowen replied. “But next time, I’ll bet we could get ten times the people.” Cohen then asked Alpert what they should call their next rally, and Alpert said: “It’s a hell of a gathering. It’s just being. Humans being. Being together.”

“Well,” said Bowen, “we’ll just have another rally. Only bigger. And next time we bring all the tribes together;” thus the Human Be-In began to take form. The happening was subtitled “A Gathering of the Tribes” because the organizers planned to bring thousands of people from different movements together, although Bowen later noted his regret for appropriating Native American symbolism in the event’s promotion. Specifically, Cohen was concerned about a philosophical split between the anti-war/free speech movement and psychedelic hippies, and wanted to stage an event to bring the two sides together. In addition to unifying the tribes, Cohen and Bowen wanted to raise awareness for issues gaining momentum within 1960s counterculture–personal empowerment, ecological awareness, and higher consciousness, among others.

As with most large events, there were some early logistical issues for the Human Be-In organizers.  Cohen applied for a permit to hold a peace rally in the Polo Fields, but City Hall wasn’t too keen on another big hippie gathering in the park.  Luckily, Bowen was able to call on his good friend, renowned attorney Melvin Belli, for help; Belli sent his secretary to City Hall, and easily obtained a permit to hold his birthday party in the Polo Fields. Expecting a celebration for one of the City’s upstanding citizens, San Francisco was totally unaware that hordes of people would soon descend upon Golden Gate Park for a counterculture event unprecedented in scope and size.

As artistic director of The San Francisco Oracle, Bowen created posters for the event–as did rock poster icon and frequent Oracle contributor, Stanley Mouse.  The posters promised performances by “all San Francisco’s Rock Bands;” pivotal Beat Generation writers and poets, such as Allen Ginsberg and Michael McClure; LSD advocate Timothy Leary; and social activists like Dick Gregory and Jerry Rubin.  Cohen and Bowen publicized the event with a special edition of The Oracle, and attendees were asked to bring flowers, incense, feathers, flags, animals, and musical instruments. Underground press and radio stations around the country also promoted the Be-In, which Bowen conceived as epic performance art to be remembered and imitated in the future.

Planning culminated on January 14, 1967 when throngs of people descended upon the Haight-Ashbury District and Golden Gate Park’s Polo Fields for the Human Be-In.  It was a beautiful, warm winter day with cloudless skies. Noted rock photographer Herb Greene and his wife walked to the happening, and found the Polo Fields filled with people.  Friends with some of the organizers and bands, Greene stayed close to the stage, but he was fascinated with the attendees and spent much of the day taking pictures of people in the crowd.

For one of the largest happenings to ever be held in Golden Gate Park at the time, infrastructure was surprisingly minimal. There was no set program for the Human Be-In; poets recited, activists incited, and musicians excited from a flatbed truck with a gas-generated amplifier that functioned as the makeshift “stage.” Beat poet Gary Snyder got the crowd’s attention with a horn and then he sat cross-legged on stage with Allen Ginsberg, both leading the crowd in Hindu chanting. Ginsberg then played small cymbals while singing a song about peace in America, Vietnam, San Francisco, and other locations around the world.  Michael McClure joined them and played an autoharp he had received as a gift from Bob Dylan the year before. Publisher and City Lights bookstore owner, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, also recited his poetry.  Timothy Leary sported flowers in his hair, beads around his neck, and notably encouraged the crowd to “turn on, tune in, drop out”–a call for radical change he had begun espousing the year before.

Somewhere between 20,000 and 30,000 people assembled in the park 50 years ago today. It was a multi-generational crowd, dominated by young people but also filled with parents and children, anti-war activists, hippies, and elder beatniks–many holding banners or artwork. According to Greene, everybody was smoking weed or dropping acid. The Grateful Dead’s sound engineer and underground chemist, Owsley “Bear” Stanley, produced and distributed large quantities of “White Lightning” LSD. This was done in relative safety since, thinking the event a bucolic birthday celebration, no police were present at the happening. The Hells Angels provided “security,”, handed out refreshments from a station wagon, and, ironically helped return lost children to their parents. In her book about the event, author Helen Perry noted that the Hells Angels were “well-equipped for the task of serving as a clearinghouse for lost and strayed children, since they had walkie-talkies and were well organized.”

And, of course, there was music. Although festivals featuring jazz or blues artists sometimes occurred, there was no precedent for so many rock bands appearing together in the U.S at the time of the Human Be-In. As promised on promotional posters, many notable San Francisco rock bands did perform: Jefferson Airplane covered the Martha & the Vandellas’ hit “Dancing in the Street” with Allen Ginsberg dancing wildly on-stage;  Country Joe McDonald joined the psychedelic folk band, The New Age; and Quicksilver Messenger Service played a set.  The Grateful Dead performed three cover songs in their usual free-wheeling, jamming style, and were joined onstage by legendary jazz musician Charles Lloyd, who played flute during a rendition of “Morning Dew.” All the bands played for free, and dancers filled the stage while other musicians like Big Brother & The Holding Company, The Doors (who were friends of Michael McClure) and Dizzy Gillespie–in town for their own, separate shows–likely watched from the audience.

In the middle of the day, a parachutist appeared as if from the heavens and touched down in the Polo Fields where he was treated by the crowd like a “latter-day miracle.” Greene believes that Owsley set up the stunt, but never found out if that was true. At the end of the day, the masses were asked to turn toward the setting sun and encouraged to “open their minds” so that all places would turn into a thing of beauty.  A speaker told “members of the establishment” that they were happy and proud to have them there in this “brave new world,”  and then Ginsberg and Snyder led the crowd in some final chanting. Local resident Dennis O’Rorke remembers a lot of conscientious people who were sensitive to the “leave the park clean” attitude, and, as per the organizers’ request, the attendees did; police later reported that no group of such size had ever before left an area so clean.

The media went wild over the Human Be-In, and the event was covered throughout the country. Greene, who was immersed in San Francisco’s counterculture at the time, believes this event is the moment the movement first realized its strength. The Be-In organizers used the success of the happening to their advantage, but also realized that the huge influx of people descending upon the Haight-Ashbury stressed communal resources and could complicate future events. A group that included The San Francisco Oracle, the Diggers, the Straight Theater, the Family Dog, and other counterculture heavy-hitters formed the Council for the Summer of Love to deal with these issues. The Summer of 1967 was designated the Summer of Love by the Council, which coordinated with various groups and churches to ensure that there would be housing and food for the impending youthful invasion of participants. These efforts assisted groups like the newly opened Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic, which provided medical care for the masses. It was a magical time period, as Greene remembered, and San Francisco became the undisputed focal point of the 1960s revolution.

Long-time San Francisco Chronicle music columnist and future Rolling Stone co-founder, Ralph Gleason, wrote that the Human Be-In was “an affirmation, not a protest … a promise of good, not evil.  This is truly something new.” Emulative events were soon staged across the country, with Be-Ins in Los Angeles and La Jolla in March 1967, Boston in April 1967, Denver in September 1967, and Atlantic City in December 1967.  Even some non-traditional hippie areas like Moscow, Idaho, and Fayetteville, Arkansas (both college towns) had small Human Be-Ins. They caught on abroad as well; in April 1967, London held a Free Speech Human Be-In as a benefit to save a favored underground newspaper, International Times.  Some began calling any gathering of hippies a Be-In, much like every political scandal was referred to with a “gate” suffix following Watergate.  There was a “Yip-In” in New York, a “Love-In” in Malibu, and a “Bed-In” in Amsterdam.  A year after later, Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, which frequently featured politically conscious humor and satire, debuted on television.  In was in.

The Human Be-In’s musical precedent was also quickly emulated. In June 1967, Mount Tamalpais in Marin County played host to the KFRC Fantasy Fair & Magic Mountain Music Festival featuring The Doors, Canned Heat, The Byrds, Jefferson Airplane, Steve Miller Band, Country Joe and the Fish, and many other rock bands.  A week later, the first and only Monterey Pop Festival took place, which notably showcased Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, the Who, the Mamas and the Papas, and, once again, Jefferson Airplane.  These shows, considered the first true rock festivals in the United States, could not have happened without Golden Gate Park’s Human Be-In. Aside from these happenings, the Be-In influenced James Rado and Gerome Ragni, who were then developing “Hair,” a pioneer rock musical that opened off-Broadway in October 1967.

The Human Be-In was the start of a beautiful year in San Francisco, one that changed the trajectory of our nation, and today we mark its 50th anniversary at the dawn of a new era.

The launch of this website by the California Historical Society, in partnership with San Francisco Travel, also begins a coordinated commemoration of the transformative Summer of 1967; this will feature major exhibitions at the region’s top museums, special events, and concerts looking back at the Summer of Love and what that period meant, then and now. We at the Western Neighborhoods Project will highlight local perspectives on how the summer that changed everything changed San Francisco as well, offering walking tours, interpretive displays at San Francisco History Days, and more.

As we enter a politically unsure time, the 1960s have never been more relevant and we have never had more to learn. California represented the conscience of America in 1967 and continues to do so today, promoting peace, love, equality, and dialogue. As Allen Cohen remembered: “Our dream of peace, love and community never died. We, as human beings, yearn for the dream of the Sixties, and despite many disappointments and failures, our dream…will live forever.” Here’s to building the dream together in 2017.

HERB GREENE – Rock Photographer

Herb Greene was at the forefront of rock photography in the 1960s.  As part of San Francisco’s counterculture movement, Greene became friends with many of San Francisco’s nascent rock bands and began chronicling them with his camera.  His work features photographs, among others, of Jefferson Airplane, Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin,  Rod Stewart, the Pointer Sisters, Sly Stone, and, most notably, the Grateful Dead.  Greene is considered to be the official photographer of the Grateful Dead and he has released two books of Dead photos, The Book of the Deadand Dead Days: A Grateful Dead Illustrated History.  His photos are on the cover of Jefferson Airplane’s Surrealistic Pillow album and two Grateful Dead albums, In The Dark and Dylan & the Dead.  Some of Greene’s photographs can be seen on his website:  http://www.herbgreenefoto.com/

WESTERN NEIGHBORHOODS PROJECT – Local History Nonprofit

The Western Neighborhoods Project is a nonprofit organization formed in 1999 to preserve and interpret the history and culture of San Francisco’s west side.

Sources not hyperlinked in text:

 

Originally published on “Summer of Love”

Inspiration for the Day for Jan. 14: Shake Your Tail Feathers

 

 

 

 

Shake Your Tail Feathers

BY MADISYN TAYLOR

Over time, we have learned to suppress some of the most fun aspects of our individuality.

Most of us express our distinctiveness in many ways throughout our lives. Although, as we proudly share our offbeat traits and preferences with the world, we take great pains to downplay those eccentricities we ourselves deem odd. Instead of living lives colored by these quirky impulses, we seek out socially acceptable outlets for our peculiarities. We may not realize that we are editing ourselves in this way because our individual societal awareness is unintentionally attuned to the attitudes of the people we encounter each day. Over time, we have learned to suppress some of the most fun aspects of individuality. To rediscover and embrace these buried traits, we need only ask ourselves what we would do if we knew for certain that no one would judge our choices.

Visualizing this day without judgment can help you better understand the idiosyncrasies that are an important part of who you are but seldom manifest themselves in your existence. Perhaps you secretly dream of replacing grown-up, conservative clothing in favor of a changing array of costumes. You may envision yourself painting your car electric-green, hugging the trees in a crowded local park, singing joyous songs as you skip through your community, or taking up an exciting hobby like fire spinning. Try not to be surprised, however, if your imagination takes you in unexpectedly simple directions. In your musings, you may see yourself doing things such as breaking out in dance or dying your hair a fun color. Regardless of the nature of your suppressed peculiarities, ask yourself what is really stopping you from making them a part of your life, and then resolve to incorporate at least one into your everyday existence.

Life as we know it is so short. Making the most of years we are granted is a matter of being ourselves even though we know that we will inevitably encounter people who disapprove of our choices. When you shake your tail feathers like no one is watching, you will discover that there are many others who appreciate you because you are willing to let go of any inhibition. By doing this you help others know it is okay. No one else in the world is precisely like you and, each time you revel in this simple fact, you rededicate yourself to the celebration of individuality.

 

–Daily OM

Astrology of Midlife

Astrology of Midlife

Discover the life-changing effects of the outer planets’ cycles

Maria DeSimone

Men and women of every race and culture commiserate with the phase of life we like to call the “midlife crisis.” Believe it or not, there are key astrological cycles we’ll go through during our early 40s that help us move toward a level of individuation we simply could not have achieved until these years. That is, if they don’t drive us crazy first.

It all begins with the Pluto square

Your midlife crisis peaks at around age 40-42, when we all experience the famous Uranus opposition. More on that in a minute, but first let me introduce you to the transit that opens wide the door to midlife for us — kind of like the grim reaper. You know, I must be talking about a Pluto transit and it happens to be called the Pluto square.

For each of us, between the ages of 36-42 (depending on the year you were born), transiting Pluto in the sky will make a square to your natal Pluto placement. This transit forces us to confront what is no longer working in our life. What has died … or is about to die.

Youth as we know it dies at this time while midlife is born. There’s just no denying it — our bodies and lives are rich with maturity and responsibility now. We’re raising kids, building our careers and often in significant relationship transition. There is major internal pressure during the Pluto square to recognize where in your life there is stagnation. If you refuse to change it, the Pluto square makes that area of your life shatter.

Don’t be afraid of it, though: the Pluto square might lead to a symbolic death of life the way we knew it, but you can be certain that it also paves the way for an important new beginning.

During my Pluto square I was going through a divorce and simultaneously building my Astrology career. Loss was certainly everywhere, but now that I’m past the Pluto square I can say without a doubt that the “death” needed to happen in order for me to turn the page in the book of my personal life and begin this next exciting chapter. And so it is with everyone who goes through a Pluto square.

Next up is the Neptune square

Your Neptune square happens at around age 40, and it has a lot to do with a shift in spiritual values — even a sense of confusion about where you are. If you’ve ignored the Neptunian part of life, this time might coincide with a spiritual quest.

If you do this midlife cycle wrong, you might drink too much or practice another unhealthy escapist behavior. You might take stock of your achievements up until now and feel like they’re worthless. A sense of disappointment is possible, and ultimately this will prompt you towards questioning your life and purpose in a deeper way. Ultimately, you will be spiritualized

Your midlife crisis peaks with the Uranus opposition

Soon after — or around the same time — the famous Uranus opposition happens. THIS is when our world turns upside down. At around age 40-42, transiting Uranus will oppose our natal Uranus and we realize that half of our life is behind us and the other half is still ahead. This is a major personal awakening that often results in a restless energy that needs to be externalized. We recognize with a sense of urgency that we only have one more chance at making our lives into what we really want it to be.

THIS is when middle-aged married men buy the red sports car and have an affair with a 25-year-old. This is when the homemaker decides to go back to college, unsettling everyone in her family. This is when the confirmed bachelor gets married and the couple you thought would be together forever announce their divorce.

We’re not old, but we’re no longer young, and this realization leads to a major life assessment. It’s time to either meet or revamp the goals we set when we were in our 20s. This is the cycle we truly individuate and begin to live life on our own terms. Hopefully, we can accomplish this without a rebellious outburst, but it’s usually part of the package. One thing is certain: After this cycle, life is forever changed.

Your Saturn opposition is a reality check

Then, at around age 44 or so, we experience the Saturn opposition, when transiting Saturn opposes our natal Saturn. This is when we get a major reality check and need to face the consequences of the choices we made during our Uranus opposition. Remember, this transit will happen after the Uranus opposition and you WILL somehow “pay the piper” if you acted too recklessly during your midlife tantrum.

 

Tarot.com is Part of Zappallas USA © 2019

Get A Jump on Tomorrow, Your Horoscopes for Tuesday, January 15

Get A Jump on Tomorrow…..

Your Horoscopes for Tuesday, January 15

 

Moon Alert

We have the “all clear” today to shop and do business. The Moon is in Taurus.

Aries (March 21-April 19)

Today you feel sensible and thrifty about your money. This is why if you are shopping, you will confine your purchases to practical, long-lasting items. No ostrich feather boas – not today. Trust your moneymaking ideas.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

Today the Moon is in your sign dancing with stern Saturn. This is why you feel sensible and aware of your duties. Not only are you aware of your duties and obligations, you are willing to fulfil them. (Is there a Girl Guide badge for this?)

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

You will be thorough and careful if doing research today. You won’t overlook details. Furthermore, you will be patient and not rush things. This influence will help you to check details regarding inheritances, shared property, taxes, debt and insurance matters.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

Someone older or more experienced (quite likely, a female) might have good counsel for you today. This person might influence you or help you to set future goals. (Never turn down the possibility of a hot tip.) Discussions with partners and close friends will focus on practical matters.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)

You will be productive at work today because you are in a practical frame of mind. This means you are concerned with common sense decisions and everyday matters that affect everyone. You might also take this approach to matters related to your own health.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

It will be easy to study subjects today or finish writing a paper or book because you are willing to put your comforts second to getting the job done. Yes, the job comes first. This is also an excellent day to wade through details and forms regarding long-distance travel.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

Family discussions will be productive and practical today because people are concerned with everyday matters. In fact, someone in the family who is older or in a position of authority might have some worthwhile ideas. Explore how you might get financial support for home repairs.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

Conversations with partners and close friends will be productive because primarily, they will focus on serious matters. It’s a good day to discuss how to pull together as a team to get something done. You might define your boundaries or delegate duties.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

This will be a productive day at work mainly because you want to be productive. You’re in a practical frame of mind and you want to deal with issues in a sensible, orderly way so that you can get them done as soon as possible. Furthermore, you don’t want to overlook anything.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

Discussions about how to care for and educate children will be practical and sensible today. This is also a good day to teach children. Likewise, any kind of practice related to the performance arts or music or sports will go well because you have the patience to hone your skills.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

A family member, especially someone in a position of authority or someone who is more experienced, will be worth listening to today. When you think about it, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Why not stand on the shoulders of those who were gone before you?

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)

This is an excellent day for mental work or any kind of work that requires focus, concentration and attention to detail. You won’t mind doing routine tasks that you usually want to avoid. This is because you have a personal sense of self discipline today. You’re ready to suck it up and get ‘er done!

If Your Birthday Is Today

Actress Regina King (1971) shares your birthday today. You are emotional, romantic and yet, you are also realistic. Your creative, high energy inspires others. You always set high expectations for yourself. A new nine-year cycle will begin for you this year. It will open up many possibilities! You might start a new business activity or change residences. Open any door because your future is in your hands.

 

Published on GeorgiaNichols.com

Born on Monday, January 14? Happy Birthday, Dear Capricorn!

Happy Birthday

 Happy Birthday, Dear Capricorn!

Work hard and party hard with the zodiac’s ambitious Goat


Riches of the material world come easy to you, but the treasures of friendship, family and love are even more precious. In fact, those are the three main reasons you work so hard.

If you were born on January 14, you have a gift for seeing the big picture and not letting life’s nagging details get you down. A born risk-taker, you live life on the edge, striving for excitement and tackling the unknown without fear. Learning to value your relationships as much as you value freedom and success is key. If you’re able to balance your friends and family with your go-getting needs, you’ll be very happy.

At your best: Shrewd, brave, innovative
At your worst: Stubborn, obsessive, misunderstood

 

More About Capricorn

Tradition is your middle name, Capricorn. And when it comes to birthday celebrations, you’re all about enjoying it in a time honored way. As someone who appreciates everything antique, you might actually be one of the few signs who don’t cringe at the thought of getting older. In fact, it makes you feel more important somehow … as if you are finally morphing into the respected authority figure you strive to be.

Party Responsibly

Even though it’s your birthday, in many ways it’ll still be business as usual for you. You’re one of the most ambitious and responsible signs, and tend to put your professional aspirations above all else. Success is where you aim, and luckily, even though it takes many years and plenty of diligent effort, you typically end up realizing any goal you set for yourself. You are more reserved and cautious than most but that won’t stop you from enjoying your special day. Your approach might be less party animal and more prudent, but that doesn’t mean you don’t know how to have fun. You simply tend to do it on a budget and with a curfew. Hey — there’s a reason why you’re so successful. Knowing your limits is one of them!

If you have one fault it’s that you take life so seriously that occasionally you may fall into fits of melancholy. This is due to the fact that you view life with stark realism, a tendency that leaves little room for imaginings and faith. But at least on your birthday, consider making an exception. When your loved ones light the candles on your cake, go ahead and make a wish. This year, why not even trust that it might come true?

 

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