Legend ~ Quicksilver

Part Two

Virgo Sign of Service
JC Chronological Stars
Footnotes - angels work
John Cipollina Aura - Performer

In addition to Cipollina, many other popular artists of the era would effortlessly draw from the same well where higher octave talent mixed with the power to regenerate the community. The traditional, street-wise attitude of Quicksilver, associated with the sign Virgo, the harvest, was to wait until the time the pendulum moved to shower those worthy minstrels with well earned rewards. Quicksilver Messenger Service initially held back from signing a record deal but eventually signed to Capitol Records in late 1967, becoming the last of the top-ranked San Francisco bands to sign with a major label. Capitol was the only company that had missed out on signing a San Francisco freak band during the first flurry of record company interest and, consequently, QMS was able to negotiate a better deal than many of their peers.

Quicksilver Messenger Service released their eponymous debut album in 1968, followed by Happy Trails, released in early 1969. Both, hailed as two of the best examples of the San Francisco sound at its purest, define the classic period in the group's career and showcase their distinctive sound, emphasizing extended arrangements and fluid twin-guitar improvisation. Cipollina and Duncan were heart-core QMS until Duncan left the group. Both musicians were shapeshifters and, as with many bands of the psy-era, went on 'the trip' with the audience. Live performances far exceeded expectations, and to a degree, final versions of their best songs captured on record. No one performed 'Smokestack Lightning' and 'Who Do You Love?' with more imagination, improvisational skill, and clarity than Quicksilver.

John Cipollina, man of a thousand bands, continually jammed with bands performing in small clubs throughout the bay area. He joined The Dinosaurs made up of a musician from each of the popular bands playing in the Psychedelic Scene. Raven was born out of a rehearsal at Cipollina's Black Dragon Studio on December 9, 1975 with John Cipollina, Greg Douglass, Nicky Hopkins, Hutch Hutchinson, Terry Dolan, David Weber, Andy Kirby and Dallas Anderson (who played bass that night and was the "caretaker" of John's Corte Madera studio). As these jam sessions began to take place, they gradually grew into "actual band rehearsals". JC was a member of several 'fish and chip' bands, as Peter Albin [Gemini] calls them, with buddy Barry Melton. Many musicians in the bands likely to all jam together on stage after a show, have dominant Mercury in their star charts.

Sly Stone explored the fusion of soul, rock, gospel and psychedelia. Sly's nativity is the famous 'Ides of March' (same as Grateful Dead's Phil Lesh -different years) ~ this day confers a gift of oratory, some say. Amethyst crystalline formations blended with the soft lavender breeze over the golden state skyline, especially in the San Francisco mystic triangle.

The center of these vibes, 'the zone' during psychedelic years, is the core power of 'Hashbury' and The Haight-Ashbury. JC considered himself a 'beatnik' with a deep appreciation for jazz, R&B, and a whole list of delivery styles.
Packaged favors inherited from the beat generation, thought of as 'gifts' - and a good deal of pampering attached, were passed through the magic portal by patriarchs like Kerouac and Cassady. The power of the co-created community was based on everyone caring for everyone else ~ that made the Haight-Ashbury a "little bit of 7th heaven," when it was in the natural state of being 'itself.' The mystical triangle surrounds the entire area, even part of Golden Gate Park [Strawberry Hill - Poseidon] and the mythic bridge to the Milky Way nearby.

The Dinosaurs in their post-Hunter incarnation with Merl (Aquarius) Saunders on keyboards, vocals, and an all around good time. Merl's birthdate is Valentine's Day! The Pluto~Jupiter in Leo (higher soul quest and powers) appears as a mainstay, repetitive in the majority of these musical charts. The San Francisco scene would also enjoy in abundance the archetypal troubador, in the charming role as Gemini Mars. Examples of some international musicians in the company of Ludwig van Beethoven, who have a fast lane Mars in the sign of Gods' Messenger (in addition to Duncan) are:

Harry Belafonte, "King of Calypso", is a musician, actor and social activist of Jamaican ancestry with his Ascendant and Mars in Gemini. Lena Horne, one of my personal favorites, is known for her glamorous beauty and grace as much as her singing and dancing talent in cinema and legit stage musicals like The Cotton Club. Herbie Hancock is a jazz pianist and composer with his Moon and Mars in Gemini, who embraced elements of rock, funk, and soul while adopting freer stylistic elements from jazz. As part of the Miles Davis "second great quintet", Hancock helped redefine the role of a jazz rhythm section, and was one of the primary architects of the "post-bop" sound. Roger Daltrey [The Who] has his Mars in Gemini, Moon 0° Gemini 30', and Midheaven 22° Virgo 59'. Richard [Leo Sol] Wright’s Mars in Gemini brought his essential, richly textured keyboard layers, a vital ingredient and a distinctive characteristic of Pink Floyd's sound. Roger Waters [Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon] has Mars in Gemini and Sol 12° Virgo 59'. American songwriter, producer, R&B and soul singer Lionel Richie, demonstrates the versatile Gemini Sun even in the last degree, with Mars in Gemini as powerful back up. Ian Anderson aka 'The Voice of Jethro Tull' is a Scottish singer, songwriter, guitarist and flautist with his Sun in Leo, supported by Mars in Gemini and his Virgo Ascendant.
Folk singer-songwriter John Denver has his Ascendant and Mars in Gemini. Aretha Franklin "The Queen Of Soul", with Gemini Mars and her Moon 17° Cancer 29' blend, is pretty much in a class by herself.
Visit Jerry Garcia, born with Mars in Gemini. Don Henley, founding member of the Eagles, has Sol 28° Moonchild 56', Ascendant with Moon 29° Virgo 58', and his Mars in his Gemini Midheaven. Mars in Gemini appears in star charts of Lightnin' Hopkins, Nicky Hopkins [recorded ‘Shady Grove’ with Quicksilver, guest on Zero’s ‘Chance in A Million’], and Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship’s Paul Kantner with Jupiter also in Gemini. Kris Kristofferson, American country music songwriter, singer and actor, settled in San Francisco Bay Area; he was born with his Sun 1° Moonchild 14' and Mars in Gemini; Brian May [Queen] has his Sun 25° Cancer and Mars in Gemini. Folk legend Joni Mitchell has her Gemini Mars enhanced by her Moonchild Ascendant 19° Cancer 52'.

Check the star charts of Jim Morrison [The Doors], Northern Irish Van Morrison with Sol 8° Virgo 09' enhanced by Moon 1° Cancer 07', and Mars and Ascendant 10° Gemini 46'. Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, also channels Cancer Moon, and Virgo Midheaven at 0° Virgo 06'. Rich Robinson of The Black Crowes has strong aspects from the effervescent Gemini, as does Courtney Love (Venus and Mars) and Rolling Stone Keith Richards, with his Moon: 7° Virgo 41' conjunct Midheaven @ 9° Virgo 37'. Diana Ross [Supremes] has her Mars in Gemini with a Virgo Midheaven @ 5°51'. Carlos Santana cooks with Sun 26° Cancer 46', Saturn in Leo and Mars in Gemini. The magic spirit of Tolkien is alive and well in minstrel tourbuses everywhere. Check Peter Albin (BBHC) and David Nelson (NRPS) who have abundant Gemini irons in the fire, and John "Bonzo" Bonham, the legendary Zeppelin drummer. Bob Dylan, claim to fame as one of the better role models for any new age multi-tasker, is a sterling example of a master able to galvanize an audience with a few simple notes of clarity.

Phil Lesh's Moon is well aspected by Gemini planets and compensates for his Piscean 'composer/conductor' tendency. Bonnie Raitt's Moon in Gemini is charged by the squares from her Mars and Saturn in Virgo, indicating her exactness and a delicate delivery the audience loves. Chuck Berry with an outstanding Gemini aspect on 5/5/55 when he met Muddy Waters and Leonard Chess, has Neptune conjunct Regulus the royal star, and sextile his Libra Sun, denoting his ability to sacrifice for others. This sextile is about his on-going high quality performance in the studio and concert stage. Peter Murphy, like JC has powerful placement of the Leo stellium and Gemini processes a sixth house program related to physical karma with his packaging style; Murphy has a similar spiral tension between his Sun and Moon as Cipollina, Duncan, and Jimmy Page. And obviously, band members composing Quicksilver are all ruled by Mercury!



"If a stallion could sing,"
the late rock impresario Bill Graham once said,
"it would sound like John's guitar."


Virgo ~ The Sixth Sign

The sign Virgo is one of effectiveness, exact measurement and craftspersonship as defined by Van (Virgo) Morrison's timeless 'Wild Night,' 'Moondance,' and 'Into The Mystic,' while Gloria (Virgo) Estefan's work with The Miami Sound Machine also creates cross-over magic in its own perfect way. Eric Clapton's Jupiter, Pallas Athena and Chiron are all conjunjct in the last decan of Virgo, just adding to the accumulative effect of a growing mystique and charisma. In addition, Clapton's Aries Sun trine the planet of regeneration (Pluto) highlights his ability to transform himself and the world around him through sound. Jefferson Airplane's early songbird Signe Anderson wove dynamic Virgoan threads into her colorful sets with Marty Balin (Aquarius) to the degree that her live performances were much more compelling than recordings. Regardless, the Jefferson Airplane first pre-Slick flight came off none too shabby. Stevie Nicks, born under the Gemini sky, on the other hand, has managed to transfer her intense presence on stage (especially interfacing with Buckingham) onto vinyl. The strong lines are akin to the mechanical drawing and letters of Durer and illuminators like today's Aiden Meehan (see some of his art at Hunter's page) in the traditional Celtic, (Kells) and Scripture format (check the NYC Met.) Classic music version sources for Virgo compositions are Bach and Vivaldi; that counterpoint is, naturally, the Piscean-impression compositions of Strauss and Debussy. The 3/4 waltz tempo of Strauss is allocated to the sign Gemini, especially the captivating 'Merry Widow' that began a revolution in popular dance art.


Mercury ~ The Planet

Mercury's revolution takes about 88 days. The apparent daily motion of this very small planet is of one degree on average, similar to the Sun's. Mercury never moves further than 28 degrees away from the Sun, when viewed from the Earth. Mercury covers the ages when decisions about the environment are formulated. People decide to remain in their nest of origin or take some kind of action to find new digs. The action taken may also involve complete make over of home and yard during the period from 12 to 18 years, approximately. Many psychologists believe the seventeenth year is pivotal. Gemini and Virgo govern energy management in the environment, especially animation of the physical anatomy itself.

The planet Mercury veils the mystery of unfathomable light. The task of this winged-footed messenger of the gods is to weave the undulating threads of brightness which bind the raw stuff of space into the vibrant web of intelligent activity. Shuttling back and forth with wavelike motion, he communes with the heights and plunges to the depths, binding the frayed edges of the universe in a nerve-tight network of shining strands. As emissary for the central Sun, Mercury traces an intricate spiral pathway throughout the entire system until the seamless fabric shimmers like a robe of glory.

The figure for Mercury is triple, being made up of the moon surmounting the sun which in turn is placed over the cross of the Soul. Mercury represents the mind, but it is still crowned with matter. Hence, the Mercurial intellect remains under the sway of the lunar instinctive desires. Mercury mediates between the pairs of opposites. If the sun is the cosmic father and the moon is the cosmic mother, then mercury is their child, neither positive nor negative, but capable of adapting to any exigency.
See The Line of Intuition

Human progress begins with Mercury because through the mind man can control his own evolution. He can invent, verbalize, manipulate Matter. Mercury is the capacity for knowledge which gives rise to “homo sapiens”, the thinking human, who can discover not only the universe, but oneself. If, therefore one wishes to know the manner in which a person thinks it is necessary to look to the placement and aspects of Mercury in the star chart. Thought can be used to divide or rejoin the scattered fragments of creation and make life whole once more.

Mercury Around the Zodiac Women Rock

Mercury’s Influence Over A Lifetime
Fred Lincoln "Link" Wray Jr. and the Influence of Mercury in His Life

Link Wray (May 2, 1929 – November 5, 2005)

Wray was first introduced to the Mercurial factor at a carnival when he was eight. He met one of the traveling troup who taught him a unique technique on the guitar. This type of new knowledge, with Mercury’s signature all over it, began a resurgence when Wray concluded his first Lunar Return and began his first Saturn Return in his late twenties. Simply put, the gift of knowledge Wray received as a youngster had germinated over the course of time, taken root in his psyche, and was ready to share with his audience. (He encountered the "technique" at the start of his second 7-year physical cycle and expanded on its power when he concluded his fourth 7-year physical cycle.)

Wray and his band landed a job at a TV show like American Bandstand. According to Wikipedia, “They backed many performers, from Fats Domino to Ricky Nelson. In 1958, at a live gig of the D.C.-based Milt Grant's House Party, attempting—at the urging of the local crowd—to work up a cover sound-alike for The Diamonds' hit, "The Stroll", they came up with an eleven and one half bar blues titled "Rumble" which they first called "Oddball". The song was an instant hit with the live audience, which demanded four repeats that night.”

One of the “lost cords” in musical lore is the RUMBLE, by Link Wray, one of the true musical prospectors of the Twentieth Century. Just like one’s initiations require a trip through the Chuck Berry portal, a long list of creative musicians are “linked” - as a collective via the Rumble effect. This audio web originates in the temple of music, and seems influenced by Mercury, Luna, and Sol; it effects the psyche of the musician at the level of higher soul power. In other words, it leads to a global influence that caught John Cipollina up the same way it called to Jimmy Page, Pete Townshend and many others.

In an interview Cipollina said he knew what he wanted to do the minute he first heard Link Wray play Rumble. The All Music Guide writes, “Though rock historians always like to draw a nice, clean line between the distorted electric guitar work that fuels early blues records to the late-'60s Hendrix-Clapton-Beck-Page-Townshend mob, with no stops in between, a quick spin of any of the sides Wray recorded during his golden decade punches holes in that theory right quick.”

Link Wray – Age Eight: Planting the seeds, beginning of second seven-year cycle related to physical anatomy
Lights and planets include: p Sun in Taurus, p Moon and Mercury in Gemini, p Mars in Leo 28 conjunct r Neptune and Regulus, the ‘King Maker’. The individuation process and the introduction to Mercury and unique musical technique taught by someone in a carnival troupe.

Link Wray – Age Twenty-nine: Saturn Return and Grand Fire Trine – progressed Mercury aspects and planets in the signs Gemini and Virgo
Lights and planets include: p Sun and p Mercury in Gemini rx [Mercury operates as intuition when retrograde], p Saturn in Sagittarius trine p Venus in Aries and p Neptune in Leo. Note the fire trine herein also trines the position of p Mars in Leo when Link Wray was eight.

In 2012, Link Wray was ranked at number forty-five in "Rolling Stone" magazine's updated list of the Hundred Greatest Guitarists of All Time. He is a member of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.



The Occult Anatomy

Virgo is considered the sign of service, measure, and discrimination, allocating precise amounts of energy for a daily multi-task program. Virgo is associated with assimilation of nutrition and thought patterns often compared with the chewing process, so food is broken down into minute-size units that will nurture the whole physical temple. Thought is handled in a similar way. Mercurial natives are charged when the main switchboard in the skull supervises expressions of physical energy. All the lights are on and somebody is home. Manly P. Hall comments about the three earth signs Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn as follows:

"All the priests of the ancient world were anatomists. They recognized that all the functions of Nature were reproduced in miniature in the human body. They therefore used man as the textbook, teaching their disciples that to understand man was to understand the universe. These wise men believed that every star in the heavens, every element in the earth, and every function in Nature was represented by a corresponding center, pole or activity within the human body ....*

Among certain Qabbalistic writers the Holy Land is mapped out on the human body and the various cities are shown as centers of consciousness in man. There is a wonderful study here for those who will investigate deeply and sincerely the ancient Mysteries.**

The pituitary body is known under the following symbols by the ancient world: The alchemical retort, the mouth of the dragon, the Virgin Mary, the Holy Grail, the lunar crescent, the laver of purification, one of the Cherubim of the Ark, the Isis of Egypt, the Radha of India, and the fish’s mouth. It may well be called the hope of glory of the physical man. At the opposite end of the third ventricle and a little higher is the pineal gland, which looks not unlike a pine cone (from which it secured its name.)"

click for Quicksilver Messenger Service - Full Concert
Recorded Live: 12/28/1975 - Winterland (San Francisco, CA) 1:34:20

Additional holiday in Rome: May 15th

May 15th was the Roman festival of Mercury when all merchants would sprinkle themselves and their wares with water to ensure prosperity through trade and commerce. Perhaps this accounts for the rains and showering of 'heavenly blessing' on some well known outdoor (Woodstock and Brian May's honeymoon in Venice) events.

1970 was a year of changes for everyone who had contributed to a variety of transformations in consciousness*** that has come to be known as The Haight-Ashbury. The appearance of Haight-Street and the mystical triangle came to be a mirror image of the view beheld by Ulysseus the eve of his homecoming. 710 Ashbury's last remnant moved to Marin. Most who remained throughout the Cayce time block (predictions of the West Coast sinking as Atlantis resurfaced, taken literally) were scattered to the four quarters. All was stilled. Hank Harrison interviewed Gary Duncan in a tie-dyed teepee under eucalyptus trees while vacationing in Hawaii in the summer of 1971. Quicksilver invited The Dead to enjoy the sites and play so they rented a big white house on the Honolulu seawall and Laird Grant set up the generators for the group.

Gary Duncan recreates his whole first encounter story about early Quicksilver musical directions, and then adds, "The first thing we did was to record ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ for the Committee: Scott Beach, Mimi Farina, Gary Goodreau, Larry Hankin, and those people. We played at a party for The Committee and we recorded the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ for them to use in their show. It was 1965."

Please send name(s) for Mercury's Children page if you have someone special in mind who should be on the bus and hasn't been recorded to date! Thank you ~ we've had critters in the machine as you already know. Below, the cameo art for Quicksilver Messenger Service ‘Happy Trails’ ~ LP sleeve, Capitol, ’69.

Quicksilver! Natives of the fast moving band had the beat and followed the subtle destiny spirals inherent in USA nativity charts.


QMS became barometers for American collective consciousness through the embryonic Haight-Ashbury. Eventually, they emerged with a sensational landmark album, the well-crafted microcosm of the new millennium vision. Powerful signature studio mixes were groundbreaking - "Who Do You Love" - the "bright young future of free America." Huey Lewis and The News sing, "The Heart of Rock & Roll is Still Beatin" (Mario Cipollina, bass) - one of many important bands influenced by Quicksilver.
SPORTS ~ The Complete Sports Package, 30th Anniversary Edition
with 9 bonus live tracks - great gift CD


Early Chronological Notes for Astrologer-historians

Special thanks to   Evelyn Cipollina and Mike Somavilla, my sources for chronological information.


THE ROLLING STONE Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll, Quicksilver Messenger Service @ Haight-Ashbury page. "In early 1966, the fivesome began playing the local circuit, but soon after, Jim Murray left to study the sitar. They recorded their debut as a quartet in December 1967, and it came out in May 1968, featuring jams like the 12-minute “The Fool.” The band also provided two songs for the soundtrack of REVOLUTION, out that year, and in late 1968 they recorded their part-live second LP, Happy Trails."




  * Mercury governs the nerve primarily controlling the dowser's L-rods &  pendulum. Still, Mercury extends beyond the simple nervous system and electrical sparks darting around in gray matter. The bi-polar format is basic at the foundational level of physical/material universe as the pace for the cardio-vascular system responding to the universal symphony... the heart beating in and out, the lungs breathing in and out. right, Hermes Trismegistis.

Perhaps this is behind what many musicians refer to as 'the gift' and 'the spark' when improvisation and music work hand in glove? Film structure also responds to this gift with great precision - the camera loves it, and you, if you can respect it. Mercury ruled signs with the edge on this special perceptive skill are Gemini and Virgo.

  ** The mystical triangle in San Francisco is outlined this page. More microcosm & macrocosm. Virgo rules both care and maintenance of the physical temple. Home/structure and natural surroundings where one resides. Article refs for East and West points.

  *** ‘The Dead,’ by Hank Harrison
Anticipated name changes to ‘The Grateful Dead’ are inherent in the composition of ‘The Warlock’ chart. The    Ascendant "I AM" house, relates the current opinion of the self as to the thought, appearance and behavior of the inquirer - the group as a whole unit in this case; its about how one appears when alone and ‘insulated’ from the outside world. The Warlocks maintained their identity so long as they were developing during pre-incarnate formations of their repertoire. Their symbolic jacket served them well during their early shows and the inevitable transitional move into The City. See charts @ Phil Lesh Day.

Since Aquarius and Luna dominated their definition of ‘self’ at the outset, an adaptive tendency was infused into their being at the moment of their inception; it always remained a part of their working formula for problem  solving, direct confrontation with unknowns, and Neal Cassady. The sixth house of daily work, with growth predictions, held their ultimate ‘professional name’ ~ used as a vehicle through decades of performance in the public eye - ‘The Grateful Dead.’

Jupiter (angelic intelligence, ‘covering of God’) and the Sun, the competitive urge positioned in Gemini, imply there will be two names because Gemini does everything in twos. Mercury and Venus, also lodged in the sixth house, are found the sign of Diana, The Huntress and form the aspect of leadership with the Moon in the Ascendant. The name would evolve, along with the possible level of The Warlocks’ innovative modification as time marched on. The sixth house generally refers to the rituals associated with the Ark of The Covenant and the Feast of The Tabernacles for those interested in correlating obvious metaphysical formats and ideograms.

   John Cipollina´s "Amplifier Stack" at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

    John Cipollina 1984, special songs

   Rare and real Mona in classic form: an outstanding outdoor performance in 1969 with a little something for everyone, from opening drumx, JC in buckskin jacket – an eastern nuance, fresh air, sunshine everywhere – what more could anyone ask for?




go to Nick Gravenites biography
John Cipollina and Man - 1975 and 1976
Memorabilia at Wolfgangs Vault
Quicksilver Messenger Service Smokestack Lightning Fillmore West [Live]
Quicksilver Messenger Service live Smokestack Lightning - 1968, flows into aeythers throughout with passage via Cancer Moon

Live rare unreleased Quicksilver Messenger Service performing "Dino's Song" circa 1967 Live at the Fillmore
Quicksilver Messenger Service: Dino's Song (live), Monterey Pop 1967 Footage includes original band member Jim Murray (rhythm guitar), who left the band shortly after the event.



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