Calling All Bibliophiles!

2017 WC&BE Badges

Whether you’re an avid reader, an aspiring writer, or published author, there’s something for you at RRBC’s Writers’ Conference and Book Expo. It’s open now and will be online until October 30.

Come meet dozens of outstanding authors, many of which are award winners, learn about their often amazing backgrounds, and explore their many books. Most of us are sponsoring a giveaway and all you have to do to enter is leave a comment on our author page! Be sure to stop by my Author Page for a chance to win an 8 gigabyte USB card preloaded with the Star Trails Tetralogy, including my latest release, “The Terra Debacle.”

Don’t miss the raffle, which has some spectacular prizes. For only $5, you get a chance at a virtual gift basket worth approximately $100 in gift cards! You can sign up here.

While you’re there, be sure to check out my Astrological Services page to discover how astrology can be a writer’s best friend, whether it’s timing a book release or rounding out a character.

Hope to see you there!

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Cosmic Influences on the 1977 Tenerife Aviation Disaster

doorintospacebkgd[Note: Several weeks ago I posted a review of the book “Gone: Catastrophe in Paradise” by O.J. Modjeska, which chronicled events leading up to and following the horrific ground collision between two jumbo jets in the Canary Islands in March 1977, killing 583 people. As a professional astrologer, of course I had to look at the cosmic influences at work at the time. As is typical of an event chart, everything was there, but at the time I didn’t have time to write it up. Thus, I am doing so now.]

Astrology isn’t simple. Every planet, major fixed star, constellation, named asteroid (and some that aren’t), zodiac sign, and house has multiple meanings and implications. The good news is that this is conducive to computer interpretations, or what is sometimes referred to as “cook book astrology.” I sell several varieties of such reports and use them for myself, family, and close friends because in general they are very helpful. However, there are numerous subtleties that only a trained astrologer will catch since there are so many possibilities as well as interpretations.

This complexity is what makes predictive astrology such a challenge. There are too many possibilities for how an event can manifest (or a person can react) due to the eternal principle of free will.  In retrospect, however, I’ve never examined a chart that failed to contain the energy expressed by the event it represents. If you’re familiar with the “Bible Code” then you know that it’s much the same way–after the fact events can be found, but finding them beforehand is next to impossible. In many cases, the chart looks rather benign. Some charts are so angry and filled with negative energy, that their appearance alone is a tip-off. Others are less obvious, until you start digging deeper. Some may feel as if such scrutiny could unearth anything you wanted to find, but this is entirely untrue. Rather, what lurks in a horoscope tends to fall under the category of “you can’t make this stuff up.”

I’d like to point out that it’s important to recognize that these energies did not directly cause this horrible accident. Rather, they show the cosmic influences at work at the time that contributed to it. If certain decisions had been different, it could have been avoided. Some events have a fated flavor to them, perhaps due to human nature being more predictable than we care to admit. But astrology does not cause events, even though its influences can drive those involved in certain directions, whether for good or ill.

tenerifeaccidentSo, getting to the matter at hand, the collision between a KLM and a Pan American Boeing 747 on a runway that is the worst aviation disaster of all time occurred 27 March 1977 at 5:06:47 p.m. in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain. If you know nothing about astrology, more than likely the chart shown above reveals nothing to you, even if you laboriously check the various legends to interpret the various strange looking glyphs. So hang onto your seats, (or perhaps I should say fasten your seatbelts) because I’m about to explain it to you.

How ironic that this accident was on the ground as opposed to in-flight. The ascendant of this chart, shown on the left at the 9:00 o’clock position, represents the zodiacal sign on the eastern horizon at the moment in question and relates to its personality, if you will. In this case it’s 08:26 Virgo, which just happens to be an Earth sign. The cusp of the 9th house, which represents long-distance travel and foreign lands, is also  on an Earth sign, in this case Taurus. Small points, but an example of how such details tend to reinforce the happening.

What are the odds for this? Actually, I’ll admit, they’re fairly high. There are four elements in astrology, Fire, Earth, Air, and Water, with three of the 12 signs of the Zodiac falling in each one. Thus, there was a 1:3 chance for an Earth sign on these two houses. Fairly high, but be patient. Other characteristics of this chart, especially when combined, will put the odds off the chart (no pun intended).

There were various causes of this horrific accident, one of which was actual fog which rolled in unexpectedly. Representing this we have Uranus, planet of surprises as well as the unexpected, explosions, and rebellion, to name a few, in Scorpio (another Water sign) in the 3rd house, which represents the locale.  Saturn, in the 12th house of hidden enemies, is squaring Uranus, a hard aspect that tends to bring conflict. Saturn rules structure as well as rules and protocol and was in Leo, the sign of leadership as well as ego. Thus, Saturn’s organization was compromised by the sudden advent of fog.

The 3rd house is also the one that includes communications. These were also unclear, and thus implied a problem, while yet another interpretation, that of rebellion(Uranus) against authority (Saturn) to one’s self-undoing (12th house) is there as well, which reflects the decision of the KLM pilot to take off when he had not been authorized to do so, yet apparently thought he had been due to the unclear communications between him and the tower.

Mercury, the planet that rules communications, is trining Neptune, the planet that represents confusion as well as fog itself. Neptune was in Sagittarius, a sign prone toward optimism, perhaps even embellished by arrogance, while Mercury was in Aries, providing impulsive energy. Thus, these two further show assumptions with deadly implications, given Neptune is in the 4th house of endings and Mercury is in the 8th, which includes death and traumatic experiences.

An astrological rule of thumb as far as transit charts are concerned is that there will usually be no less than seven aspects relating to an important incident. So far we have two.

The Sun, which tends to highlight the main theme of a chart, is in the 8th house of death in the sign of Aries, which is know for violence. Many such violent events have occurred in the March – April timeframe. The Moon is in Water sign, Cancer, indicating strong emotional implications with her placement in the 10th house indicating this will have an effect on the public as well. Planets in this house tend to point toward what a person or place will be known for. I, for one, will always think of this accident whenever I hear anything about Tenerife, since I’d never heard of it until this happened. The Moon is trining Mars, ruler of the 8th house of death, thus showing the cause of the emotional reaction. The 10th house if ruled by Mercury, reiterating the communications aspects and newsworthiness.

Mars has multiple meanings, the most neutral of which is simply taking action. He is in Pisces, sign of compassion, in the 6th house which includes both health and service to others, and being infused with emotional involvement by the Moon. Following this horrible event, the people of this small island put forth an amazing amount of concern and help toward the victims and survivors. A minor aspect known as a semi-sextile between Mars and the Sun represents the jaded opportunity to do so.

Most people would assume, even without a background in astrology, that Pluto is probably not a good influence. At the most fundamental level, he represents power and control as well as hidden corruption. The Sun opposing him shows a power struggle, albeit at the subconscious level, as a factor in the event. Mercury is also opposing Pluto, again suggesting corrupt conversations or information, something that surfaced during the investigation and resulted in implementing more standardized commands between the tower and aircraft.

Jupiter, a planet that tends to exaggerate what he touches, is in the 9th house of foreign travel, suggesting the magnitude of this event which would make the news worldwide.  Jupiter is semisextile the asteroid, Chiron, the wounded healer who’s in the 8th house of death, pointing toward the huge number of victims.

Note that the influence of asteroids, as well as the planets, tends to reflect their mythological archetype; nomen est omen, if you will. That said, Chiron isn’t the only asteroid lending influence. Icarus, named for the unfortunate mythological figure who tried to fly, yet fell to earth when the wax securing his wings melted in the Sun, is on the cusp of the 8th house of death. He is in an aspect known as a quincunx with the Moon, an unstable aspect that tends to show a change of direction, need for adjustment, or Catch-22. Again, this has implications for protocol and procedures that required changes.

The asteroid named Ceres a.k.a. Demeter, forever mourning separation from her daughter, Persephone, is conjunct the asteroid, Lucifer, indicating loss of loved ones through an hellish event. The asteroid, Phaethon, the mythological figure who crashed Apollo’s chariot into the Sun, is semi-sextile the Sun as well, again contributing “crash and burn” energy.

Other asteroids worth noting playing a role include Chaos (whose meaning should be obvious) who is in cahoots with Jupiter, showing the resulting extreme chaos, which goes without saying. Ixion, son of Aries (or possibly some other mythological character), the main point being his name connotes “fiery”, his conjunction with Uranus indicating a fiery explosion or sudden fire. Varuna, a Vedic deity associated with the sky and later with water is conjunct the Midheaven, at the top of the chart, suggesting aviation. He is in near-exact square to the ascendant, showing conflict and trouble and also in cahoots with Phaethon, implying a crash.

At this point I have to ask, what are the odds that all these influences would so intimately relate to this event? I’ve somewhat lost count, but know it’s over a dozen between implications of house or sign placement plus the aspects themselves. While this moment in time passed unnoticed by scores of people, for some it was life-changing or even life-ending.

So, if that event chart alone hasn’t convinced you this stuff works, let’s look at the influence of the time of the accident (which we’ve just examined) on the two airlines involved.

KLMTenerifeBiYes, corporations have birth charts as well. When an entity is “born”, it assumes the energy of that moment. The principle of transits is that the aspects formed from the real-time location of the planets to the birth chart are indicative of influences. I’m not going to belabor these biwheels to the level of detail of the event chart, but will only point out some obvious indicators.

For KLM, Neptune in the 1st house suggests delusions or confusion. He is sextile the Midheaven, suggesting their reputation for excellence and safety is a delusion. Uranus is sextile Venus, ruler of the Midheaven, suggesting a sudden change from their exalted status due to events in a foreign land. Mars opposing Saturn shows pushing against tradition or regulations. Uranus being squared by Jupiter suggests a huge surprise or explosion, with the house placement indicating financial implications due to personal injury.

The Sun quincunx Saturn shows a change of direction of a transformational nature. The asteroid, Chaos, is trining Mars in the 8th house of death from the house of endings, certainly not an auspicious omen. Pluto is conjunct KLM’s Sun, a transformational indicator that tends to relate to death, whether literal or figurative.  Saturn conjunct Neptune shows a rude awakening. Saturn, considered the lord of karma, transiting the 8th house is often a call to reckoning.

PanAmTenerifeBiPan Am’s chart is slightly less harsh, which makes sense since they were not found to be at fault. Pluto, nonetheless, is showing a change of direction in their status. Jupiter sextile Uranus shows a hidden enemy causing an unexpected event known to the public. The Sun trining Saturn in the 6th, has implications for vindication of the crew. Uranus quincunx Mars in the 12th shows a sudden change of direction related to an attack from a hidden enemy. Saturn conjunct Pan Am’s Moon shows the sadness and mourning, the sextile from Pluto adding transformational energy. Pluto quincunx Jupiter as well as the Midheaven shows a huge involvement with death in the public eye. Venus and Mercury conjunct Venus imply group support.

More indicators could be found, some that may have conceivably predicted this event in advance if given intense scrutiny. However, prediction is a labor-intensive process and another case where you need to have some idea what you’re looking for and thus easier done after-the-fact.

There is nothing simple about astrology, but it contains a considerable amount of information and surprising insights when applied. Those who think it’s nothing but myth and superstition have clearly never investigated what its capabilities really are. I, too, at one point was a skeptic. Not anymore.

If you’d like to learn more about astrology and the incredible amount of information it can reveal, I invite you to check out my book “Whobeda’s Guide to Basic Astrology.” It’s written for beginners and the book I’d hoped to find when I was first learning about it. It’s available in electronic and print copy format at several vendors you can find here. Much of the same information is found on my website, ValkyrieAstrology.com, except you’ll be subjected to a lot of hyperlink bingo. If you’d like more information about the disaster in question, then I highly recommend O.J. Modjeska’s book, which provides a painfully detailed postmortem of this horrific piece of aviation history.

Believe me, you can’t make this stuff up.

***

Stock Photo Copyright Bruce Rolff / 123RF Stock Photo

Astrological charts generated with Sirius version 2.0, Copyright (c) 2008 Cosmic Patterns Software, Inc.

Houston, we have a problem. It’s named Harvey.

Harvey became a named tropical storm on 17 August, then regressed to a tropical depression for a few days. With Mercury retrograde, it doesn’t surprise me that he regained sufficient energy to resume tropical storm status on 23 August, two days after a total solar eclipse slashed its way across the USA. A day later Harvey’s wind speeds reached hurricane range. He made landfall on the coast of Texas as a Category 4 hurricane with 130 mph winds at around 10:00 pm on 25 August 2017.

Harvey was no ordinary storm. His slow movement resulted in all-time record setting rainfall that inundated a zone covering 3,643 square miles (larger than the state of Delaware) with at least 40 inches of rain. This constituted over a trillion gallon of water for Harris County in the Houston metropolitan area, the resulting flood making news around the world.

I lived in the Houston area for over 21 years and saw a few hurricanes myself, but nothing like this. I’m beyond grateful that various family members, who are still in the area, were spared, their homes dry, even though their neighborhoods were virtual islands. Unfortunately, some of my friends from my NASA days weren’t so lucky.

In a previous blog back in April 2016 I discussed the astrology of another Houston flood. That one wasn’t even a named storm. Interestingly enough, it also followed an eclipse.

I explained Houston’s horoscope a.k.a. natal chart at that time, but will reiterate some of the basics again. These charts look daunting to the uninitiated, but reading one is just a matter of understanding all the symbolism involved.

houstonnatal

Many folks are not aware that even as a person’s natal chart has a strong bearing on their personality, so it follows for a city. Neptune, ruler of all liquids, is prominent in Houston’s chart. This not only relates to rain, but also oil and being a port city. Neptune’s position in the 2nd house makes it an important driver for the area’s economy; the second house typically has a bearing on income, material possessions, needs, pleasures, and what is valued.  If you’re wondering what the “POS” represents in the 2nd house, that’s the asteroid, Poseidon. Having him as the same house as Neptune speaks for itself. Asteroids, like the planets, bring the same energy as their namesake’s mythological archetype.

However, there are other factors that make Neptune’s placement problematic. For one thing, he’s in Aquarius, an Air Sign, which brings to mind the fact that air and water are both major constituents of a hurricane or tropical storm. Of course that placement alone won’t do it–Neptune is also being slammed by negative energy from five other planets. Therein lies the problem.

The red triangle is an aspect pattern known as a T-square. Neptune is on one corner with Jupiter opposing him while Saturn squares the god of the deep. Jupiter tends to exaggerate anything he touches and Saturn is largely considered unfriendly, albeit the orchestrator of hard lessons and lord of karma. However, Saturn is also part of a more favorable aspect pattern known as a Grand Water Trine. With Saturn about building, structure, and discipline, this suggests how Houston continues to rebuild regardless of what catastrophes befall it.

The Grand Water Trine comprises three planets placed in Water signs (Mars in Cancer; Saturn in Scorpio; and Uranus in Pisces). This trio, however, comprises planets with a bad reputation. Mars is know for aggression and in emotionally driven Cancer often function like a temper tantrum. Uranus is full of surprises, disruptions, rebellion, explosions, disturbances, and the unexpected. Thus, in a nutshell, the combination can result in surprises of a violent nature that affects the status quo.

The city’s Sun connects with each of those planets as well, which makes their effects personal and further associated with the city itself. Since they’re all connected, when one of them is activated, they all resonate to create a large influx of energy. What activates them, you ask? That would be what astrologers call “transits”, which is the current location of the planets and how they connect with the ones in the natal chart.

As if that’s not enough, more aspect pattern on Houston’s chart has strong implications. It’s called a yod or finger of God. It looks like a blue arrow which is pointing toward Neptune. Yods tend to have a fated nature about them, indicating what might be important to the person or location with such an indicator on their horoscope.

Generally speaking, Houston’s natal chart is an accident waiting to happen. It has all the right (or perhaps wrong) characteristics to be very vulnerable.  This was further exacerbated by the August Lunar and Solar eclipses, which brought a blast of ominous, Plutonian energy to bear on Houston with implications that it was going to bring considerable public attention.

Next, let’s look at Harvey. The following chart represents when Harvey was declared a hurricane.

harveyhurricane

The sextile pattern, shown as a green triangle, shows a great deal of cooperation between violent Mars, Ominous Saturn, and Jupiter, increasing this malefic energy. The square between Jupiter and Pluto increases the death and destruction while the square between Uranus and Venus, where Uranus represents surprises and Venus material comforts, shows a definite conflict there. Neptune and the asteroid, Poseidon (POS on the chart) shows conflict between those two cosmic entities, perhaps in a battle to prove which is superior. The ascendant in Scorpio, the sign that rules death, implies the storm’s lethality, while Mercury, the Sun, and Mars in the 10th house, which represents reputation, status, and what you’ll be remembered for, indicate his energy, public recognition, and even hint as his slow movement and repeated landfalls, which numbered at least three.

The relationship between two people, or in this case a storm and a location, is shown by how their natal charts interact. The following chart is known as a biwheel and shows Houston’s chart in the middle and Harvey’s around the outside, indicating how the two would interact.

hou-harveybiwheel

The first thing that jumped out at me with this chart was that Harvey became a hurricane on Houston’s “birthday”, indicated by the fact the Sun for both charts is in the same degree of the zodiac, i.e. the first degree of the sign Virgo.  The technical term for when the Sun returns to the position it was in when a person, thing, or city, was born is “solar return”, which is typically a prognosticator for the year ahead.  What this Sun – Sun conjunction energy blast effectively did was wake up that Grand Water Trine and all those other water-related aspects in Houston’s natal chart. The accident waiting to happen just did.

Transiting Pluto is trining the chart’s Midheaven, which represents its status, reputation, and public image, suggests a major transformation as well as death and material destruction. The square from Mercury retrograde to the chart’s ascendant hints at bad news. Mercury retrograde tends to slow things down, which certainly happened when the storm’s movement stalled. That is what facilitated the incredible quantity of rain. The semi-sextile from Mercury to Houston’s Jupiter in the 8th house of transformations and death, further exaggerated this effect. On the positive side, the sextile from the transiting Sun to Houston’s Saturn implies help and assistance from afar in rebuilding. This is further reinforced by Venus, transiting the 8th house.

These very basic aspects shown here are only a few and represent the more common ones. There are several others known as minor aspects or harmonics which seldom have a minor effect, especially those associated with intense energy and power. Others relate to physical and spiritual extremes.  There were at least nine of these aspects involved, which certainly did their part to make this a record breaking storm that left unprecedented devastation behind.

As I’ve said repeatedly, you can’t make this stuff up.

Hurricane Information Sources: The Weather Channel & NOAA National Hurricane Center Advisories

 

“Watch RWISA Write Showcase Tour” — Day 29

RWISA TOUR (1)

Because of the division that’s going on in our world right now, the hate that’s being stirred up and spewed by these White Supremacist groups, we felt it appropriate and extremely necessary that we share a piece from our President, Nonnie Jules, that needs to be wide-spread.

Nonnie Image

“DOES MY LIFE MATTER?”

I am a black woman, and because of the shade of my skin and coarseness of my hair, because of the fullness of my hips, my lips and the bold colors I wear…some don’t find me as attractive as my fairer counterparts.  You see, I’m no longer your house-maid or here for your sexual pleasure; no longer Mamie to your children, I’m now someone’s Mother…a treasure.  But, does my life matter?

I am a black man, and because of my dark skin and the boldness of my stance, because of the kinky in my hair, the anger in my stare, and the wear and tear shown on my hands…some still don’t see me as a man.  You see, I’m no longer your field property or your whipping post.  I’ve freedom papers and own land now, maybe, more than most.  You build cages to hold me, guilty or not; where you should build institutions of higher learning, you lock me away for little things, then leave me there to rot.  Do you forever see my bed as a cot?  But, does my life matter?

I am a white woman, and because of my milk dove skin and cute, pinched nose, thin ruby red lips and fair skin that glows…with my pearly whites and prominent chin…some still look at me and despise the skin I’m in.  I was never privy to the pain that was caused.  I was born into that hatred…those God-awful laws.  So, does my life still matter?

I am a white man, born into privilege and wealth, easy life, perfect health, yet…I’m still persecuted and referred to as “the man.”  I, too, hate the ways of the Ku Klux Klan.  My neighbors are black, white, green and red…still, I haven’t fled.  To be where everyone looks more like me, is not where I want to be.  I, too, would like to one day be FREE. Yes, FREE!  It also applies to me! FREE of the labels that bind because of the color of my skin; I’ve never owned any human or degraded any man. But, does my life still matter?

I am a brown-skinned woman and because of my accented words, you think I should be silent…quiet and not heard.  I can do more, than clean your windows and floors.  Just ask me what I’m capable of, you’d be surprised, I’m sure.  I may have come here via the back of a truck, or even the legal route, if I was blessed with such luck.  Maybe I was born here, and my parents, too.  In your eyes, would that still make me less American than you?  Does my life matter?

I am a brown-skinned man and though maybe a bit stocky, I’m no less in appearance, than your brawn and cocky.  I’m not a rapist, a thief or thug…but a man like you, with kids to hug.  I’m not ashamed to tend your lawns and trees, but Executive, also a title I wear with ease; whatever it takes…my family to feed. Don’t dismiss, or overlook my face; I may not have been born here, but I’m here to stay.  And, with that said, does my life still matter?

With all that’s going on, there’s much racial unrest.  It’s time to put differences aside and put real LOVE to the test.  We can’t keep fighting each other, when there are real wars going on.  We must come together in love, heal and stand strong.  There are real enemies among us, and their names we know not.  We must stand on the front lines, together and talk.

The differences between us are fewer than those in our heads; and in the end, until we draw our last breath,  we all still bleed red.  Yes, that small matter is what makes us brothers, and binds us tighter than any other.

That stream of red flowing thru our veins, is what should force us to…
release all blame,
stop the pain,
forge ahead,
no more blood we’ll shed.

***

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH RWISAWRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, to please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.  WE ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs.  Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author:

Nonnie Jules’s RWISA Author Page

“Watch RWISA Write Showcase Tour” — Day 28

RWISA TOUR (1)

You Take the Blue Pill, the Story Ends. You Take the Red Pill …

By Linda Mims

I was sixteen when I first suspected that I might be the one. I’d seen people in my family striving for excellence all my life. My parents’ friends were creative types who often took time to quiz me about my goals and what I was doing to achieve them. I had been persistently pleading with a leader at my church who had the power to make one of my

Linda Mims

Linda Mims

goals a reality.

 

This woman headed the Womens’ Ministry. Everything from church announcements to annual celebrations fell under her domain. I wanted to be the youth announcer on the weekly, hour-long radio broadcast that emanated from our church, but she was speaking a language that I didn’t understand.

“Take some speech lessons and come back to me.”

Where in the world was I going to get speech lessons and how would I pay for them? My family knew some people, and the house did overflow from Friday to Sunday with weekend guests, but that didn’t mean we had money. A party costs maybe $25 back then—especially if everybody brought food and drinks.

Bottom line, we didn’t have money for speech lessons. Still, I wasn’t going to give up. I was a spiritual youngster, even before I knew what spiritual meant. I told the Lord what I wanted and then forgot about it. While I was waiting, strange, but wonderful things were happening to me. I was voted vice president of my choir and I was chosen to deliver the Youth Day Address. Go figure!

One Friday evening, my mother received a phone call. The church maven and her assistant had gone on strike. I was too young to understand everything a strike entailed. I just knew that I was being asked to fill in as the main radio announcer for the broadcast; the very thing I’d wanted in the first place. That broadcast went out to hundreds, maybe thousands in the Chicago listening area.

When she returned from her strike, Ms. Maven kept me on as a junior announcer and she became one of my most revered mentors. That was the year I discovered that I was tight with God. I could get a prayer through! Was I the one?

I’m every woman. It’s all in me

While in college a few years later, I watched a bold, beautiful young woman, with a voice as big as a brass saxophone, sing on a makeshift stage. It was an impromptu concert behind one of the lecture halls on my university campus. The day was balmy and the sun was bright. We shaded our eyes as we stared straight into the golden orb that bathed her in its light.

She looked like a woman and a child at the same time. She wore very few clothes. Just a band around her breasts, a pair of short shorts, ankle boots, and a tall feather stuck in the crown of one of the biggest afros I’d ever seen.

We were fascinated, and her voice held us captivated. After the performance, members of the group handed out bills that said their name was Rufus, featuring Chaka Khan. They would be performing at a local club that night.

We showed up to the club, but a multi-ethnic crowd had filled the place to capacity. You don’t need to ask for racial diversity once everybody realizes you have something we all desire. Anyway, we couldn’t get in. That day would be the first and only time I’d hear Chaka Khan sing for free. At the time, I wondered if she was also the one!

In 1978, Chaka Khan recorded her first solo album, Chaka. One song from that album would define the rest of my life. In it, she sang my truth! I’d always felt that I could do anything, but it wasn’t until Ms. Khan sang the words, that I knew how to describe what I’d always known.

I’m every woman. It’s all in me. Anything you want done, baby, I do it naturally. I ain’t bragging, but I’m the one. Just ask me and it shall be done.”

I had a theme song!

You may not know the purpose, but know that there is a purpose

In The Matrix, one of my favorite movies of all time, there’s the scene where Morpheus gives Neo a choice between the red pill or the blue pill. Neo has been searching for information about the matrix. Morpheus has to convince Neo that he isn’t looking for the matrix, but what he’s really looking for is more. Morpheus believes that once Neo has answers to his questions, he will come to accept what Morpheus already knows. Neo is the one.

Being the one is about knowing that you want more. You want to change things. You may not know what your ultimate purpose is, but you know that there is a purpose. You’re so absolutely self-motivated and focused, that God himself delights in your purpose. I told you I’ve always been spiritual, so, I’ll say that I believe when God and the universe delight in your purpose, there’s no stopping you.

The Matrix is fiction, so let’s take a look at real-life people who wanted more. One such person was the late author, Janet Dailey. A prolific writer, Dailey thought she could write better than most of the romance writers she was reading. She knew she was the one. When people referred to her as “just a secretary” who writes romance novels, Dailey said the following, and I quote:

One of the things that to me is the biggest compliment any writer can get is hearing from the ones who say, ‘I used to think reading was boring until I picked up one of your books.’ ”

Between 1974 and 2007, Janet Dailey sold over 300 million copies of more than 100 titles. Not bad for “just a secretary”.

Then, there was Steve Jobs. Steve dropped out of Reed College in Portland, Oregon after six months, but he stayed there and audited creative classes over the next 18 months. A course in calligraphy developed his love of typography. Apple and Macintosh computers would be the first to offer creative fonts, including calligraphy, for the consumer’s use.

Steve Jobs partnered with his friend, Steve Wozniak, to start Apple Computer, in the Jobs’ family garage. Steve Jobs said, “I want to put a ding in the universe”.

I guess he knew that he was the one!

Being the one comes with certain responsibilities

Many of you have already realized that you are the one; you just haven’t taken the red pill yet. When you’re ready, there are some responsibilities:

  1. Toot your own horn

  2. Don’t give up

  3. Throw away false humility

First, toot your own horn! You can’t be afraid of appearing to be too much of a showoff. Waiting patiently for others to give you the rewards you so richly deserve, may yield nothing but hurt and disappointment. Individuals will slink away with your destiny in their greedy little hands without so much as a backwards glance for you.

A few times, I spoke too quietly in meetings or waited until it was too late to claim my own ideas that I’d shared with others in private. I watched, stunned, as another, bolder individual stole my idea, shouted it out, and received my praise. I had to wise up quickly and realize that there are differences in the way that leaders and achievers talk and present. First, leaders declare that they have something to say. Then, when everyone is focused, they speak. They make sure their ideas are credited.

Don’t give up, opportunity does knock more than once.

I’ve learned that opportunity knocks more than once. Heck, when you’re the one, you create opportunities. When one door closes, another door really does open. If you weren’t ready the first time, the truth is, you can keep reinventing yourself until your moment comes or until you’re tired of trying.

Sometimes life is going to hit you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.” —Steve Jobs

Throw away that false humility! It’s okay to hang back while you formulate your plan. Go ahead! Get the lay of the land. If you are confident in the knowledge that you can do anything, take as much time as you need. Just don’t overdo humble. That’s almost as bad as having too much pride.

It’s permissible to show pride in yourself and your accomplishments. The 21st Century is begging for your stories, calling for your experiences, and expecting you to step up and lead, in every way imaginable. Women like Oprah Winfrey—women like Taylor Swift—they are leading change with their out-of-the-box ideas and sweeping changes to the status quo.

Men like Barack Obama are stepping out of obscurity and into the Senate and the office of the President of the United States. Have the audacity to dream! Wear your mantle of distinction with pride. Step-up, speak-out! You are the one!

***

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH RWISAWRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, to please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.  WE ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs.  Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author:

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“Watch RWISA Write Showcase Tour” — Day 9

RWISA TOUR (1)

THE LEGEND OF TOKYO ROSE

By Ronald E. Yates

INTRODUCTION

During a 27-year career with the Chicago Tribune, much of it as a foreign correspondent in Asia and Latin America, I encountered my share of remarkable and unforgettable stories.

Some came out of the horrendous suffering I witnessed while covering the wars in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Afghanistan. Others were generated by the bloody revolutions in Guatemala and El Salvador. Still others sprang from the wrenching political upheavals I reported on in places like The Philippines, Brazil, China and South Korea.

Ron Yates

Ron Yates

But there is one story in my journalistic career that I treasure above all the others. That is the story of a Japanese-American woman named Iva Toguri. You probably don’t recognize the name and if you don’t, that is perfectly understandable.

You and millions of other Americans know her by another name: “Tokyo Rose.”

That’s right, “Tokyo Rose.” The so-called “Siren of the Pacific” who sat before a microphone in Tokyo and told GIs on a 25-minute show called “The Zero Hour” that their homes, their girl-friends and even apple pie weren’t worth fighting for. Tokyo Rose, the legendary “seductress of the short wave,” whose broadcasts between 1943 and 1945 for Radio Tokyo were meant to demoralize the American fighting man and undermine his will to fight.

Remember all those World War II era movies with GIs gathered around short wave radios listening to a sultry “Tokyo Rose” intone such phrases as: “Come on boys, give up. You haven’t got a chance against the Imperial Japanese Army. Why throw your lives away?”

There’s just one problem. There was no “Tokyo Rose.” Nor were there ever any treasonous broadcasts like the ones described above. At least not by Iva Toguri.

Following is her remarkable and poignant story and my involvement in it.


It was the summer of 1941 and for a young California woman named Iva Toguri it was a time filled with promise and endless possibilities.

The previous June Iva had graduated from UCLA with a bachelor’s degree in zoology, she had a shiny Chrysler, and she was planning on attending graduate school in the fall so she could begin a career as a medical researcher or perhaps even a doctor.

The daughter of hardworking Japanese immigrants, Iva had been brought up to be a confident, optimistic American. And why not? After all, she was born in Los Angeles on the 4th of July–and you can’t get more American than that.

But in the summer of 1941 the world was not a place that could easily match the hopes and expectations of a 25-year-old UCLA graduate.

In Europe, a war was raging and the forces of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich occupied or controlled most of the continent. In Asia, Imperial Japan, under the leadership of a clique of hardcore militarists, was in control of China, the Korean Peninsula, Taiwan and a segment of the South Seas ceded to it after World War I.

Conflict and discord were the prevailing truths of the day, and as Iva Toguri stood on the brink of her future an ominous cloud of world war hung in the warm summer air.

Thus it was not without some trepidation that Toguri’s ailing mother asked Iva to represent the American side of the Toguri family at the bedside of a dying aunt in Tokyo. It was a bit risky, but someone had to go; and on July 5, 1941, one day after her 25th birthday, Iva was on a slow boat to Japan. She spoke no Japanese, had never been to Japan and had never met her aunt.

It would be a fateful journey, one that would alter Iva Toguri’s life forever and eventually introduce to the world one of its most enduring and erroneous myths: The Legend of “Tokyo Rose.”

Less than five months after arriving in Japan and not long after her sick aunt had recovered, Japanese warplanes swooped down on a place called Pearl Harbor. For Iva Toguri and millions of others, the future went from bright to black in a matter of moments. And the lights would not come back on until August 1945, when Japan surrendered.

But for Iva Toguri, the war did not end in 1945 as it did for so many others. Four years later Iva Toguri would stand in a San Francisco courtroom, one of only a few American women ever convicted of treason. In the minds of millions of Americans Iva Toguri was the one and only “Tokyo Rose,” the name American GIs in the Pacific had given to several women radio announcers who played scratchy Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman records during propaganda radio shows broadcast in English from Tokyo and elsewhere in Asia.

Iva’s conviction on just one of eight counts of treason came despite the testimony of G.I.s who called the Radio Tokyo “Zero Hour” broadcasts she made morale boosters and despite evidence which showed she was just one of 13 English-speaking women announcers broadcasting from Tokyo at the time. Another 14 women had broadcast from cities throughout Asia and the Pacific that were occupied by the Imperial Japanese Army.  Interestingly, not one of them called herself “Tokyo Rose.”  (The only radio alias Iva Toguri ever used during her 15-minute segment of popular music was the name “Orphan Ann” because, as she often said during her broadcasts, she was an announcer who had been orphaned in Tokyo by the war.)

Not even the absence of a written record or an electronic recording of the single “treasonous” broadcast she was supposed to have made stopped her conviction. That broadcast came after a crushing U.S. Naval victory in Leyte Gulf of the Philippines in which she allegedly said:

“Orphans of the Pacific, you really are orphans now. How will you get home now that all your ships are sunk?”

Most Americans listening to that would have seen through the facetious tone of those words, no matter who said them, and understood that it was a broadcast meant more for members of the defeated Imperial Japanese Navy than for the victorious U.S. Navy. Even more important, however, was the fact that Iva never said those words.

Nevertheless, in 1949 in a San Francisco Federal courtroom as she, her family and her corps of defense attorneys led by the late Wayne Mortimer Collins looked on, Iva was sentenced to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. She served six years and two months of her sentence in the Alderson Federal Reformatory in West Virginia which would much later house Martha Stewart. But more importantly her conviction sentenced Iva Toguri to a life of disgrace and deep inner pain that only those falsely accused and convicted can ever understand.

Some vindication came in a series of exclusive stories I reported and wrote in 1976 while serving as the Chicago Tribune’s Tokyo Bureau Chief and Chief Asia Correspondent.

Two key prosecution witnesses, after 27 years of silence, wanted to ease their consciences. They admitted to me that they were forced by U.S. Justice Department and FBI officials to lie, tell half-truths and withhold vital information at the trial. It was on the basis of their coerced and false testimony that the jury had found Iva guilty. (Article 3 of the Constitution states that treason shall consist only in levying war against the United States or in giving aid and comfort to its enemies and that conviction may be had only on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act or on confession in open court).

The two witnesses, Kenkichi Oki and George Mitsushio—both California-born Japanese-Americans—were Iva’s superiors on Radio Tokyo’s “Zero Hour” radio program. Oki was the show’s production manager and Mitsushio was program director. Oki and Mitsushio testified they had heard Iva make the so-called “Orphans of the Pacific” broadcast about Leyte Gulf in October 1944 when in fact she never did.

The “Zero Hour” was produced under coercion by Allied prisoners of war, and while the Imperial Japanese government saw it as a way to broadcast propaganda to American GIs fighting in the Pacific, the POWs and Iva saw it as a way to sabotage the Japanese war effort.

That’s the way the occupation forces of Gen. Douglas MacArthur saw it too when on April 17, 1946, following 11 months of Iva’s incarceration in Tokyo’s Sugamo prison along with such Class A Japanese war criminals as former Prime Minister Hideki Tojo, the U.S. Army Legal Section issued the following report:

“There is no evidence that Iva Toguri ever broadcast greetings to units by name and location, or predicted military movements or attacks, indicating access to secret military information and plans.”

Then, in October 1946 a U.S. Justice Department investigation of Iva concluded:

“Iva Toguri’s activities, particularly in view of the innocuous nature of her broadcasts, are not sufficient to warrant prosecution for treason.”

It was obvious that the U.S. authorities in Tokyo were willing to let bygones be bygones. And they were willing to accept the reasons for Iva Toguri’s voluntary participation in the Zero Hour show: that like most of the 10,000 Japanese-Americans stranded in Tokyo during the war, she had taken the job to sustain herself while she was basically a hostage in a hostile environment.

Furthermore, she had been assured by the American and Australian POWs who wrote the scripts she read, that she was doing nothing unpatriotic–and indeed that what they were doing might even help the allied war effort.

That was especially important to Iva, because unlike all the other Japanese-Americans who participated in the Zero Hour broadcasts, she had steadfastly refused to give up her American citizenship, despite being threatened and pushed to do so by Imperial Japan’s dreaded “kempeitai” secret police. In fact, her pro-American sentiments often got her into arguments with Japanese members of the Zero Hour staff. On several occasions she risked arrest and even death to smuggle food and medical supplies to Allied POW’s in Tokyo.

In 1948, Iva petitioned to return to the United States and Chicago, where her family had resettled following the war.

When word leaked out that the notorious “Tokyo Rose” was trying to reenter the United States, much of the U.S. press took exception. Radio columnist Walter Winchell unleashed a series of broadcasts attacking then U.S. Atty. Gen. Tom Clark for “laxness” in dealing with “Tokyo Rose.” Pressure steadily built on the Truman administration to “make an example” of somebody. That “somebody” was to be Iva Toguri.

It made no difference that Iva Toguri bore no resemblance in appearance or deed to the fictitious and seductive Oriental woman American G.I.s fantasized about while sitting in their jungle foxholes. Nor did the fact that U.S. Occupation forces already had investigated Iva and cleared her of any activity that could be construed as treasonous.

It was an election year and the administration of President Harry S Truman could not afford to be seen as being soft on alleged wartime spies and turncoats. Atty. Gen. Clark dispatched investigators to Tokyo to look into the Tokyo Rose case. They found that Iva Toguri was the only person associated with the “Zero Hour” show who was still an American citizen and hence, still subject to U.S. law. So Clark began to build a case against Iva and told justice department attorney Tom de Wolfe to “prosecute it vigorously.”

In 1945 Iva had married Filipe J. d’Aquino, who was born in Yokohama of a Portuguese father and a Japanese mother. In 1948 the couple’s child, who Iva desperately wanted to be born in the United States, died at birth. The two remained together until her conviction and then, following decades of forced separation, they divorced in 1980. After Iva’s release from prison, she could not get a U.S. passport to travel and d’Aquino, while in San Francisco for the trial, had been told by the FBI never to return to the United States, “or else.”

The case against Iva Toguri was flimsy at best. Something had to be done to strengthen it. So FBI agents in Tokyo rounded up all of those involved in the “Zero Hour” broadcasts and applied the kind of pressure that most any Japanese-American at the time could understand.

“We had no choice,” Oki told me in 1976 after I had convinced him and Mitsushio to meet me in Tokyo. “The FBI and U.S. Occupation police told us we would have to testify against Iva or else they said Uncle Sam might arrange a trial for us too—or worse.  We were flown to San Francisco from Tokyo and along with other government witnesses, we were told what to say and what not to say two hours every morning for a month before the trial started.

“Even though I was a government witness against her, I can say today that Iva Toguri was innocent: she never did anything treasonable…she never said the words that got her convicted,” Oki said. “It was all a lie. Iva never had a chance. And all I can say now is that I am truly sorry for my part in her conviction. I hope she can find it in her heart to forgive us.”

My stories containing details of Oki and Mitsushio’s confession of perjury, as well as interviews with her former husband Phil d’Aquino and others who had worked with Iva on the Zero Hour, appeared in March 1976 and were carried around the world.

On January 19, 1977, President Gerald Ford, in his last official act in office, granted Iva Toguri a full and unconditional pardon. While the historic pardon was an attempt to correct the injustice done to Iva Toguri, the individual, it also served to raise awareness of the unfair treatment Japanese-Americans received at the time from the federal and some state governments.

The fact Iva Toguri became the first person in American history to be pardoned following a treason conviction, speaks volumes about her own indomitable spirit and the determination of those who supported her crusade for justice, say leaders in the Japanese-American community.

Others say the pardon also says something about the deeply-ingrained sense of fair play that permeates American society and which manifests itself, albeit sometimes belatedly, in the media, the courts and, in Toguri’s case, the White House.

July 4, 2006 marked Iva Toguri’s 90th birthday and for almost 65 of those 90 years she had to live with the myth that she was “Tokyo Rose.”

Some vindication came in January 2006 in a quiet, private ceremony held in a restaurant on Chicago’s north side when Iva received the Edward J. Herlihy Citizenship Award from the World War II Veterans Committee. (Herlihy was a radio broadcaster who was known as the “Voice of WW II” for his narration of Universal Newsreels). It was a twist of irony not lost on those in attendance.

I was privileged to be one of those invited to the ceremony, along with members of Iva’s family and a handful of close friends like former CBS news anchor Bill Kurtis, who has known Iva since the late 1960s, and Hollywood producer Barbara Trembley, who is working to produce a major feature film about Iva and her struggles.

Iva pushed back tears as she accepted the award.

“This is such a great honor,” she said. “For so many years I wanted to be positive about this whole thing. I wanted to honor my father and my family. They believed in me through all the things that happened to me. I thank the World War II Veterans Committee for making this the most memorable day of my life.”

In 1991 Iva and I met in the same restaurant. She had invited me to dinner to thank me for the series of stories I had written that resulted in the Presidential pardon. Incredibly, even though Iva and I were linked by the stories I had written we had never met face to face.

“You know, if it hadn’t been for your stories I never would have received my pardon,” Iva told me. “I would still be a criminal. You started the ball rolling. And now, after all this time, I just want to say thank you. It’s long overdue.”

I hadn’t come to dinner in search of any recognition or thanks. I just wanted to meet the woman whose story had fascinated me years before and sent me on a search for the truth. I wanted finally to separate the woman from the myth; to detach Iva Toguri the person from “Tokyo Rose” the World War II caricature. I wanted to meet the woman that fertile G.I. imaginations had turned into some torrid kimono-clad Mata Hari.

The woman sitting across from me was certainly no Mata Hari. Here was a woman with kind eyes, a gracious smile and an admirable ability to put things into perspective.

“I’ve put all that behind me now,” Iva said, speaking of her ordeals in wartime Tokyo, in San Francisco’s federal court, and in prison.

“I’m only sorry that my father never lived to see me pardoned. He died in 1972. But he believed in me until the end.

“‘I’m proud of you Iva,’ he used to tell me. You were like a tiger…you never changed your stripes…you stayed American through and through.’”

“Am I bitter? No, what good does it do to be bitter?” Iva said. Then she thought for a moment. There were exceptions to that blanket forgiveness.

“In your stories Oki and Mitsushio asked for my forgiveness. But how could I ever forgive them for what they did to me?”

Both Oki and Mitsushio are dead now, as is Iva, who passed away in 2006 at the age of 90.

During one of our many meetings, Iva told me that her biggest wish was to have her story told accurately someday in a film or play. There have been a few books written—most of them unauthorized—about Iva’s ordeal, but they have done little to set the record straight.

“People tend to remember a story when it is dramatized and told in a theatrical way,” she said. “As for a book, I would like to tell my story in my own words.”

Iva may finally get her wish. A play about the Legend of Tokyo Rose is currently in the works and I plan to write a book using Iva’s first person narrative based on hundreds of hours of recorded interviews and my personal notes.

Finally, after years of disappointment and heartbreak, Iva’s story will be told the way she wanted it told—truthfully and conscientiously.

But most important, the Legend of Tokyo Rose will finally be put to rest along with other historical myths and deceptions such as Big Foot, the Piltdown man, and the Loch Ness Monster.

My only regret is that Iva will not be here to experience her vindication.


Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISAWRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, to please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.  WE ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs.  Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author:

Ron Yates’ RWISA Author Page