Including the Confederacy

Some people are proud of their Confederate heritage. Personally I don’t see it.

Yes, it’s part of our heritage. Yes, those are our ancestors too. But they were traitors. And racists. Racist traitors.

It’s a complicated heritage. Mark Sumner (link below) provocatively argues it’s not our heritage; it’s our shame.

Ideally, we would want to be impartial observers as we research and write history. Albeit, admitting that it’s never possible to be entirely impartial about anything, and damn near impossible when it involves issues that still carry an emotional charge.

Recently, I was reading the probate record for Catherina (Helvey) Roberson (1781-1851), one of my ancestors. Some of the records involve her slaves, a woman and her three children. A casual division with all the thought given to their monetary value. My ancestor Rufus ended up with daughter Hannah, who was the same age as his daughter Rachel. Hannah died when she was 12 so he didn’t get the long-term value he expected.

It’s unbelievably distressing to read these things and have them personalized, not only the lives of particular slaves but also the lives of particular ancestors. This isn’t some distant, generalized history.

Mark Sumner brings it home in an unpleasant way, and that’s exactly what I like about this article. “It should be no more acceptable to wave a Confederate flag in the United States than it is to fly a swastika. No more acceptable to proclaim yourself sympathetic to the Confederate cause than to proclaim yourself a supporter of ISIS. There is no moral difference. None. These are the banners of the enemies of our nation and of our ideals”.

Heritage of Hate.

Casting a Medieval Horoscope

In modern astrology, there are so many disconnects with our medieval ancestors. Those differences fascinate me. If the subject interests you, read John Frawley, The Real Astrology (2001). One of my all-time favorites, for the humor as well as the content.

So, I’m pleased to see some detail on the subject from Seb Falk. Timely for me because I recently snagged a reprint of Geoffrey Chaucer, A Treatise on the Astrolabe from the store.

Falk says, “Most medieval horoscopes were based on their location in segments of the sky – the houses.  And dividing the sky into houses was no trivial matter.

There’s this whole thing about how to calculate the astrological houses, something I’m perpetually trying to understand. I don’t want easy generalizations. I want real details.

This piece comes closer than most. It’s worth reading the entire article: