Sleepless in Vienna

Our flight time was 16 hours SFO-Vienna. We forgot the guidebook at home. We never found our camera. Arriving at the hotel, our room had been given away the night before – we had miscalculated the time zone change – and were unapologetically given a small musty, smoky room next to the elevator and the train station. The Sun was applying a square from Neptune, creating missteps, forgotten items, miscalculations and disillusionment. This will get better as the planetary energies pass, I remind myself. The melody of that first night was the intermittent arrival and departure of trains and the amorous lovemaking of a couple who seemed to require no sleep. I awoke many times that night, bemoaning the brick hard bed and prolonged exhaustion. Sleep is a tricky proposition when 9 PM Vienna time is 11 AM San Francisco time.

Days later, I am sitting inside our much improved accommodation. After surrendering to the accommodation (including the affirmation “I am blessed and lucky to be in Vienna”) by Monday we had earned the goodwill of our hosts and an upgrade – to a fabulous room with sun porch and Jacuzzi tub! (The Goldene Spinne, Room 43) I later learn Goldene Spinne means Golden Spider, my personal good luck charm. The veranda doors overlooking the Viennese rooftops are thrown open today as sunlight streams in. There’s a dense formation of apartments surrounding ours and the curtain less windows are eyes. I stop to wonder if I’m being observed and keep my doors open. I may be in a fishbowl but I am one happy sardine typing a letter to you, my American friends.

Astrology is everywhere…

London Astrology ShopHere is an awesome astrology bookstore I visited while in London this January.  Isn’t it beautiful??? It was my reward for soldiering through the endless armories of Henry VIII at the Tower of London in high heeled boots. The energy of beheadings was depressing, the day gloomy and ahhh my aching dogs. When we made the spontaneous decision on the Tube to check out the single line listing “The Astrology Shop” who knew? The Brits love, love astrology. The Faculty for Astrological Studies is in London and it’s home of Liz Greene, the diva of bill’s bookpsychological astrology among other great astrologers. And what San Franciscan’s book was on the shelf in front of me? My friend Bill Street’s book. The Astrology of Film: The Interface of Movies, Myth, and Archetype

London calling

London taxiHaving slept only 3 hours in the past 24, I’m in London, UK. Arrived at Heathrow this afternoon in a swirl of baggage and a whirl of profiling all the cultures I’m seeing (not a multi-national traveler yet, just beginning). This is only my second trans-Atlantic trip, and I have to say, I didn’t expect to love this mercurial city (Sun sign Gemini according to astrologer-colleague). But it’s more about the so-so cities and the cities you love, more than the unbelievably narrow streets and overstuffed city blocks. Travel is about exposure, how much you can observe, and how much new information you might increase your worldview. And how quickly! I’m here for 4 days (3 really, after losing 8 hours due east).

The planet of increase is Jupiter. He’s fat big, lucky, and in his finest…opulent. Yesterday we arrived at SFO, with some time to kill headed for the Red Carpet Room. For those of you who don’t fly around the world in 80 days, the Red Carpet Club is a United airlines member’s only section of the airport. It’s like a secret Universe, really. Enter that discrete plexi-glass frosted door to the side of the security check, you’ve entered the behind-closed-doors meta-reality of jet-setting. I’m imagining 100k club executives, major and minor celebs and wanna-bes are all about the Red Carpet circle. I order a Bloody Mary and sit back in a plush chair that finally has upper back support. There are fresh fruits, vegetables, cheese, coffees, TV’s, personal phones for every two seats. Because I come from humble beginnings this a contrast study in luxury (Auntie Em, this isn’t the farmhouse in Fairfax anymore!) Naturally, I assume everyone’s filthy rich, but could be wrong. As a holdover from my art slinging days I know that the very rich don’t usually look rich at all. Yes, they wear flannel shirts, are freshly showered, shaved, keep up on their nails and quietly mind their own business: I smell wealth. I, on the other hand, am an exception – I’m here riding on the coattails of my husband’s intellectual wealth, gratis. Free is the only way I’ve known travel.

We arrived at the hotel a few hours ago, a charming residential property with a handful of rooms. I cannot tell you just how charming and luxurious!! it is, but I shall try. To begin the No. 16 is in Kensington, not far from the likes of Madonna and Guy Ritchie (we’ll have tea with them tomorrow). Our cab driver noted that Madonna has good taste, for choosing an English bloke. It’s a chi-chi part of town, a place we most certainly could not have afforded on our own. (I fantasize the Ritchie’s recommending this discrete gem to visiting friends) We are shown to the library, a sitting room in tasteful playful pinks and greens. Birds and butterflies appear the theme, as paper birds dangle from the ceiling and butterflies are worked into post modern art. Then the you-pay bar in a separate room; help yourself to a mixed drink and sit by the fire, just note your drink, room number and drop it in the bucket. The gardens: an English breakfast nook where full traditional English breakfast is served in the morning (eggs, sausage, tomatoes, toast and jam, tea). Then there’s the room, simply stated: heated towel racks. Now most of you know I’m a Cancer, which means I’m often cold and always needing for comfort, warmth and nourishment. The nourishment came from the porter: “did my colleagues fail to offer you tea, madam?” “Oh, yes, thank you. I will take it in the library.” Fresh mint tea! Of course in London tea is never served alone, this time with two buttery melt-on-your-tongue sugar cookies. Take that, nasty decaf-brewed- fresh acid-in-my-stomach plane coffee (sorry, Starbucks). I take tea and Tatler, a socialite fashion mag of London. I admit, I love the soured, scathing wit of Londoners – it makes for gut-busting fine reading. The first article I open to is about a UK lady (nicknamed PLRG in the article, “poor little rich girl”) who becomes disenchanted with her glamorous socialite US friend when she denounces London as decidedly un-glamorous. Yes, cultural divisiveness infiltrates even the most minor, trivial fluff. Oh, and did I mention the room came with aromatherapy oils, of which I am getting ready to fully appreciate. The pillow sprays and scented candles weigh in at 21-25 British pounds, upwards of 50 USD, each. The corporate card won’t cover candles, nor gratuitous shopping (my weakness); I guess I’ll just have to oil my hands next to the toasty warm towel rack.

So here’s the astrology bit, threaded throughout. As Jupiter prepares to meet Venus in a sweet sextile kiss tomorrow morning 4:44 AM your time (12:44 PM London time) you’d be hard pressed to convince me that the planet of generosity, wealth and luxury doesn’t sweeten life up every time. And when he touches Venus, he sweetens the finest of pleasures – double your luxury, quadruple your love, quintuple your opulence. Of late, these two have been like really, really good to me. Just within the past year, John proposed at Jupiter sextile Venus; we traveled to Mexico together at Venus trine Jupiter, we took our honeymoon and my first trip overseas when Jupiter and Venus joined. (Yes, you’ve got many chances throughout the year to play with Venus and Jupiter) And while in years past this dynamic duo practically passed me by (was I just not looking in the right direction?) this year’s Solar Return placed their majesties in their rightful thrones, thank you very much. Additionally, Venus heads toward Jupiter in my natal chart as I write. I’m currently seriously contemplating assuming my married made-up name (which encompasses that strange amalgam of glamour, compassion and “hop-on-the-jet for a UN mission at a moments notice” I am getting to know as partnered ME) –for now you can just call me Mrs. JackieOGhandiBond. A suitable wish for you: thank your lucky stars for every opportunity to give and receive generously this week, and always. Someday perhaps you could even serendipitously stagger into the lucky arms of…your own good fortune.

Loads of love,
Jessica