Bells Ringing. Mercury Retrograde. Eclipse on Horizon.

Photo by Lanvi Nguyen.

Dear Friend and Reader:

Two weeks ago, I quoted Linda Goodman describing her ultimate Gemini friend, who started an answering service in the 1950s and became the subject of the Broadway musical and film Bells are Ringing.

Intrigued, I found a copy of the 1960 movie, which is a romantic comedy centered around a New York City answering service. The business is called “Susanserphone.” In many ways this play and movie were way ahead of their times. In fact you would think they had an advance copy of Understanding Media by Marshall McLuhan, but that came out in 1964.

Judy Holliday plays the consummate Gemini Elle Peterson (based on a friend of Linda Goodman) in the 1960 film Bells Are Ringing.

This is one of those feature films that I count as a cultural and historical artifact. Many movies are unintentional documentaries (in this genre, Saturday Night Fever is one of my favorites, as it portrays the street life of working-class Brooklyn where I grew up and which has now given way to hipster heaven).

In Bells Are Ringing, you get all the themes of electrical communication, including and especially the elimination of privacy. All of the business of all of the clients pours into one central location, akin to what telephone operators would experience in the early 20th century when they could listen to any phone call, converting them instantly to gossip (3rd house themes all over the place here). There were also party lines, where anyone could listen to anyone else. Note: “electronic” means “no privacy.”

The lead (Ella Peterson) is played by Judy Holliday, who would have been a Gemini had she been born a few hours earlier (she has Mars in Gemini, so you get much of the effect). As an operator for Susanserphone, she does a diversity of character impersonations to keep her customers engaged and entertained. She is someone different to everyone. She can talk to anyone on the street. However, she has a personal issue in that she does not especially want to get deeply involved with anyone.

The movie’s first musical number is, “It’s a Perfect Relationship,” wherein Ella sings “I’m in love with a disembodied voice.” You would think the movie was about the internet, where anyone can be anything and where everyone floats around without a body.

She’s In Love with a Disembodied Voice

Then she starts to have feelings for one of the service’s clients, a playwright (Jeff Moss, played by Dean Martin, a June 7 Gemini) who is down on his luck and needs encouragement, which she provides generously (feigning being an old lady whom Jeff, often sleeping off an alcohol bender, calls “mom”).

The movie’s first musical number is, “It’s a Perfect Relationship,” wherein Ella sings “I’m in love with a disembodied voice.” You would think the movie was about the internet, where anyone can be anything and where everyone floats around without a body.

New York City detectives think the answering service is a front for an escort service and tap the phones.

However, when they meet, they definitely have physical presence (the stage production was choreographed by Bob Fosse).

Meanwhile, the police think that Susanswerphone is a front for an escort service, and tap the phones. They mistake references to “Madame Grimaldi” as being the leader of the brothel when in fact she is an opera star who is a client of the answering service.

It is presented as a given that the authorities will tap the phones because they can; there is no mention of a warrant. In reality, unknown to the answering service, a book-making operation becomes the Susanserphone’s biggest client. This happens under the guise of a classical record publishing company, taking illegal bets in the form of “100 copies of Beethoven’s 9th symphony” (betting $100 on the 9th race at Belmont Park).

Though it was first presented as a Broadway show in the 1950s, you get a glimpse of the future, when all communication becomes electronic. If you study McLuhan, you will see many of the themes he raises. Yet the action takes place mostly in one room, where the people can see one another. And it is mostly a neighborhood business (3rd house theme).

One of the most important reasons to avoid making contractual commitments during this time is that when Mercury stations direct, all kinds of veiled information can shake out of the universe.

As for Some Astrology (I covered a lot in Thursday’s article)

Mercury stationed retrograde Saturday, and will be so through the solstice. The retrograde ends June 22. The retrograde takes place entirely in Gemini. It’s mingled with an eclipse of the Sun on June 10, as the eclipse takes place during the interior conjunction of Mercury and the Sun. When events merge like this, you can work with them together.

Chart for Venus entering Cancer on Wednesday.

Both the New Moon eclipse and Mercury retrograde are about seeking closure and resolving unfinished business. Astrology gives us these opportunities; to use them is to move with the tide. There is a time for every purpose, and we Westerners tend to forget that to move on, first you need some closure.

Take the time to do that. The usual “don’t sign, don’t buy” recommendations of retrograde Mercury also imply, “wrap up what you started.”

Yet one of the most important reasons to avoid making contractual commitments during this time is that when Mercury stations direct, all kinds of veiled information can shake out of the universe.

Keep a little list of the mysteries in your life — a kind of wish list of what you want to know. Then listen carefully and you will learn a lot.

The station direct occurs nearly simultaneously with the Cancer solstice, so the turning point is doubly emphasized.

Much of what seems personal has nothing to do with you. It can be very difficult to see this, as people tend to project their issues onto others.

Venus Enters Cancer Wednesday

Venus enters the cardinal sign Cancer at 9:18 am EDT Wednesday, preceding the solstice. This may prove to be an emotionally complex transit, as Venus over the next week or so makes aspects to a wide diversity of small, potent planets early in the cardinal signs.

These include Ixion (morality/amorality and second chances), Quaoar (deep tribal origins), Pholus (lineage through great grandparents; alcohol issues); Salacia (matters of sexual appropriateness and maturity) and finally a square to Chiron which happens shortly after the June 10 eclipse.

Take this gently and do your best not to take everything personally. Much of what seems personal has nothing to do with you. It can be very difficult to see this, as people tend to project their issues onto others (all of us, though some more and some a bit less).

Take your time. Use one of Gemini’s most valuable assets: curiosity.

With love,

Eric signature