Douglas Kløvedal Lannark – Mason & Dixon:
An Astrological Review for Astrologers

“Mason & Dixon” by the award-winning enigmatic American author Thomas Pynchon (Faulkner Prize in 1963 for his debut novel “V.” and nominated for the National Book Award in 1973 for “Gravity’s Rainbow”) is neither an astrological textbook nor a novel about astrology, yet for astrologers who know their astrology this novel contains more sublime supplementary astrological information than most conventional or theme-specific textbooks!

Most school children in the USA learn about the ill-fated Mason-Dixon line. Well, here is the true story mixed with fiction that astrologers can only benefit from reading! And all present day American citizens will be given a startling pre-revolutionary history as seen and experienced by Mason & Dixon between 1763-68 while drawing their infamous line eight yards wide and 233 miles due West at 39 deg 43 min 17.4 sec, which divided North and South, Freedom and Slavery and the Past from the Future (“Sharing a Fate, directed by the Stars, to mark the Earth with geometrick Scars”).

As told to children around a fireplace at Christmastide 1786 by Reverend Wicks Cherrycoke (yes, lots of symbolic names in this book!), the narrative story of assistant Royal Astronomer Charles Mason and surveyor Jeremiah Dixon conveys to our specific community an astrology that hardly any of us are – or have been – aware of . . . or even practice!

Do you know your mundane zenith-star?! The apocrypha of astrology? The Heliocentric system in its true mechanism? The Solar Parallax, the Parallax of Sirius? Zodiacal Radiant Points? Other meanings of Mercury retrograde like “fleet trickster” or mischief midget”? What about sign alterations, unknown regions of Pisces; Tauricity, Geminity, Leonation, ect? And also, already in this era, the 13th Sign of the Zodiac in three variations. Mason & Dixon, as well as most other prominent royal astronomical, scientific, and philosophical personalities of the 18th Century were conscious of these techniques and applied them in their research and practice.

Furthermore, there are interwoven references to the discovery of Uranus by an American Indian tribe, Halley’s Comet, Feng-Shui, Chinese astrology, Jewish cabalism (the Rabbi of Prag with his giant Golem in the wilderness), Gothic ghosts forever haunting “futurity,” Jesuit telegraph systems, undelivered and unpublished Presbyterian sermons, Quaker ethics, intrigues within the Royal Astronomical Society, “Hindoo Gooroos,” Irish revolutionaries, Swedish axmen plotting to reclaim “Vineland,” westward anarchy, talking dogs, invisible robot ducks, mechanical eels, coffee-house conspiracies and meetings with George & Martha Washington, Ben Franklin and a host of other characters, actual and fictional.

If this should not be enough to awaken your curiosity, how about the following for “seasoners:“ Anti-Celestial, or backwards Astrology, the British Calendar Reform of September 4, 1752 (like whatever happened to those eleven days? did one become eleven days younger or older?), Roman Whore Time & French Catholic Time, the Longitude Act of 1714, the unmodified terror of keeping one’s Latitude, true North/false North, the 365 degree vs. the 360 degree circle, Transhalation of Souls, Goniolatry, God’s agents, another discussion on Christ’s Nativity, the first proclamation of a Star Day, a redefinition of As Above, So Below and marvelous chart dialogues: “What use are Trines and Sextiles, if Human Discourse be denied me?”

Sounds like a mouthful, but just wait till you start reading these 763 pages, there’s much more coming! A warning to begin with: the entire novel is written in 18th-century English with its archaic punctuation, spelling, diction, capitalized nouns, abbreviations, excessive use of the apostrophe (“y’r obdt. Svt.”) and in both the formal and colloquial style of conversation common to this era. It takes a few pages, or even chapters, to adapt to this style, but once adjusted “M&D” makes for a great read, a read you haven’t experienced for a long time. Those of you who finish the story will more than likely want to start re-reading the book, at least your favorite chapters.

The first 253 pages introduce our complementary-opposite characters: Charles Mason, assistant Royal astronomer, widower with two young sons, a melancholic Taurus (May 1, 1728) and Jeremiah Dixon, provincial surveyor, Quaker, a jovial romantic Leo (July 27, 1733). We follow them on their first commissioned expedition to observe the rare Transit of Venus in 1761 on Sumatra. After an initial “Void of Course” and then fretted by a French frigate (jokingly they say, “a Transit of Mars,– right ’cross our faces!”), they don't make it that far and arrive in Cape Town instead where they successfully observe and document the times of the Ingress and Egress. Wait a minute, how many of you know just what the Transit of Venus is ever heard of it before?

Our generation will be privileged to observe, experience, and internalize this rare 121.5 & 8 year and 105.5 & 8 year alternating transit cycle on June 8, 2004, and June 6, 2012 when Venus in her entirety will pass through the disk of the Sun shortly after sunrise, one of the few astronomical observations which can be made in daylight!: ”On the day of this Transit, all shall suddenly reverse, as she is caught, dark, embodied, solid, against the face of the Sun,– a Goddess descended from light to Matter” [Mason]. A turning of the Soul, mystic secrets of Love, transformed, belonging to the Spirit. Grace. Love for the Planet Herself. Yes, fellow astrologers, Love has been on the short end of the stick for a few decades now, and perhaps these two upcoming Transits of Venus will stir up global consciousness again, at least they will radically change the fashion in music which is usually a sign of coming changes. Now work on these delineations yourself – there are less than four years remaining until the next Transit.

The bulk of the novel, p. 253-713, is the story of their adventures, encounters and revelations while drawing the straight westward line into the wilderness where Distance is not the same, nor is Time: “Terrible Feng-Shui here. Worst I ever saw. You two crazy?” In the novel, Mason and Dixon, however, remain historically innocent. Stupiditas Regia is at fault, which is still the case today even though there are no longer Kings. This is a prophetic novel forseeing the War of Independence, the Civil War and ultimately the electrification of rural America. . . .

As only his fifth and most recent novel, “M&D” was initially published on April 30, 1997 shortly before the author’s 60th-birthday (May 8, 1937). Born under a Sun-Uranus conjunction, Thomas Pynchon knows his way around astrology like no other living American author. If I had an astrological school this novel would be obligatory reading on the graduating level. An illuminating, informative, humorous and refreshing story with many chart readings of a poetical nature: “Mars being also conjunct his Sun, – tho’ both are regrettably squar’d Jupiter and Saturn. His Bread, that is, ever by the sweat of his brow....” “M&D” is an absolute must for all lovers of astrology and devoted astrologers!

In the Constellation ‘Poesia,’

Douglas Kløvedal Lannark

First published in The INTERNATIONAL ASTROLOGER, volume xxix number 4, page 7. This is a quarterly publication of the international society for astrological research, ISAR, PO Box 38613, Los Angeles, CA 90038-0613

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© all rights reserved, alle Rechte beim Autor, Douglas Kløvedal Lannark,
Kopenhagen und Berlin, 2000.

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Index Hauptseite Vorwort Die Parabel Dekonstruktion Michael D. Bell Summary Biographie Richard Fariña Robert Frost Galerie Literatur Luddism Mason & Dixon Monographien u. Aufsätze Patterns–Muster Proverbs for Paranoids Schweine Slow Learner Soccer Sterblichkeit und Erbarmen in Wien Vineland Weblinks Weiterführende Literatur The Wizard of Oz Fay Wray The Zero

Douglas Adams John Barth Samuel Beckett John Bunyan William Gaddis Ivan Jefremow Wassily Kandinsky Douglas K. Lannark Stanislaw Lem Bert Brecht: Laotse Vladimir Nabokov Victor Pelewin Salman Rushdie J. D. Salinger Neal Stephenson Laurence Sterne Arkadi und Boris Strugatzki William Carlos Williams Ludwig Wittgenstein Frank Zappa

WebLinks: Astro—Literatur Blog Comics Downloads Esoterics Galerie Die Genesis Haikus Homepages Humor Impressum Jump Literatur Links Lyrics The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction Die Milchstrasse Musik Links News Oldenburg@OL Playlist Poesie Postmodernism Science Fiction Short Stories Space Space Links Suchmaschinen Zeitarchiv Zitate Home Page up/Seitenanfang

© Otto Sell – Tuesday, September 19, 2000
Last update Thursday, June 16, 2005


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