by Cindy Fadoir
As many of you know, I live in Traverse City, Michigan and, during the last week of July is the Traverse City Film Festival. I was so wrapped up with the festival, concentrated on films with female directors and writers this year, as well as about female struggles and triumphs, that I almost forgot to write my article! I’m glad, too, because on the last day of the Festival, I watched a movie titled Te Ata (TAY’ AH-TAH), a film about the extraordinary life of Chickasaw Nation citizen Mary Thompson Fisher (www.teatamovie.com). The film was written by Chickasaw historian, Jeannie Barbour, and directed by Nathan Frankowski. This film was not presented as a documentary, but as a full length feature film based on the life of a Native American woman who used her voice and stage presence to keep Native traditions alive by telling the stories through narrative, drumming and song. “I am Te Ata. And I am a storyteller” was a resounding phrase we heard often from the title character. The film covered Te Ata’s life from 1906 at age 10 through 1933 when she performed for President Roosevelt and his guests at his first state dinner. She lived to be almost one hundred years old, passing in 1995. Te Ata is said to mean “Bearer of the Dawn.” Some accounts say it’s a Chickasaw word and some say it’s a Maori (New Zealand Aboriginal) word for “The Morning.”
My article is not intended to be a film review, but that statement “I am a storyteller” struck a chord with me. I, as an astrologer, am a storyteller. Mary Thompson Fisher was born December 3, 1895 in Emet, Chickasaw Nation (now Johnston County, Oklahoma). This means Te Ata was a Sagittarian woman, a fiery, optimistic seeker of truth and teacher who chose to teach about her traditional culture through story and song. Sagittarians are also expansive, adventurous, playful. They like to commune with nature and animals. They love to travel, especially to foreign lands. They love to laugh, be entertained and will perform to have others join in the merriment. Also in Sagittarius is Te Ata’s Mercury, the philosophical communicator who craves intellectual challenge. The Sun and Moon in Sagittarius likely influenced her pursuit of higher education in theater and performing arts. Having attended a women’s college in Oklahoma, she went on to Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and eventually appeared on Broadway in New York. Throughout this time, she performed her Native Storytelling as part of a traveling Chautauqu show. For a while, she performed only at private events when U.S. Law would make it illegal to do so in public. She eventually performed in the White House and for the King and Queen of England during their visit to the United States. Shortly thereafter, the law was amended to eliminate references to the bans on cultural dances, such as Te Ata’s performance, as well as the sacred Lakota Sun Dance and other customary practices. The Te Ata’s Sagittarian yearning for foreign travel was met when the Queen of England invited her to perform in England. During her career, she also visited Denmark, Sweden, Estonia, Finland, Peru, Guatemala, Canada, the Yucatán and Mexico (per Wikipedia).
Te Ata’s Moon, Neptune and Pluto were all in Gemini, an intellectual sign of communication. Moon in Gemini meant she thrived on variety and change which may have been seen in her traveling and teaching across the country in new and varied locations. Neptune in Gemini allows imagination and spiritual issues to be channeled through logic and reasoning which can be seen in how Te Ata taught the Native ways through performance. Pluto in Gemini fosters regeneration through communication, which can be seen as Te Ata’s performances influenced the acceptance of native ways which had been suppressed in the country. Her Venus was in Libra which may be the key to her love of the arts, music and drama. Jupiter in Leo also supports her expression through drama and teaching in foreign lands.
Te Ata’s Mars, Saturn and Uranus are all in Scorpio. Mars in Scorpio results in drive and ambition. It also draws secrecy and formidable enemies into one’s life. Even though her performance of song, dance and drumming may have been seen as illegal by the U.S. Government (a formidable enemy), she continued to perform privately (in secrecy). Saturn in Scorpio can be seen by her bringing the native ways to light and in the open. Uranus in Scorpio is often compelled to bring about change through independence, emotion and intuition.
Astrology maps out the story of your life. Astrology lays out the basic characteristics but you choose which traits to emphasize. By knowing your astrology, you can consciously downplay your weaker, less beneficial tendencies and play up the stronger traits. In some ways, your birth chart lays out the path to your soul’s desires, the basic drives and direction. The story is written by the stars and the planets, with various potential plot twists and turns. But you are at choice. You are the storyteller. Let your story shine. Be the storyteller of your life!
I hope you enjoyed the look into Te Ata’s life through astrology. I did not have the time of day she was born so I could not see her rising sign, and therefore, her elemental balance or house structure, but you can see there was still much information to garner from her birth date and place. Until next month, may your waters be calm, your air be breezy, your fires be bright and the earth around you be blooming.
click here for more about Cindy Fadoir . . . .
This article will also appear in Star Nations online magazine at starnations.org