Greetings, O my desolate abominations! With lugubrious Saturn laying tragic tracks in the sign of lackwit Leo and your solar twelfth house, your destiny will be writ by the most damnable of damning fingers, one badly manicured and stained with the grime of ages. For lo, I, Asperitus, the prophet of piffle, say unto you that Saturn is a miserable old bastard and the twelfth house is a tearful and wretched domain! It is the dwelling place of thieves and the lair of liars! It is the abyss wherein addicts will surely fall to their doom. It is the realm of savage sorrows, dastardly self-undoing and generally tragic naughtiness, the worst that ever was made on the map of any unfortunate planet adrift in this benighted universe ruled by insane gods. Well, that's all the good news there is!
Now, we must get on with the vile and bitter prognostications for savage September! Pin back your ears, Virgo loons! Listen attentively while I tear your lives, prospects and character to shreds! And listen well, for there will be questions at the end! Last time, you were on an aircraft and flying to Tibet to harvest a rare and precious flower, the 'mariphasa lupino lumino'. It is by means of this flower that you can cure the world of the lunacy of lycanthropy, the 'full moon' madness you have visited upon it. And, as you were sitting in your aircraft seat, trying not to worry about crashing and wishing desperately that you had not gone to see AIRPORT 23 - THE AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER'S REVENGE, you decided to distract yourself by thinking of your favourite herbs. After a time, you began to list them, in order to choose the best. This, of course, would be the one deemed most useful to humanity. You were even thinking of taking a survey among the passengers on this matter.
Anyway, you had reached number four hundred and seventy-three (each with the genus identified and proper Latin name) when you were taken aback by a startling turn of events. A mysterious person claimed to be hijacking the jet. Great gods alive and dead, that's a bit grim! And so, I suppose I'd better get on with the tale, in case things have worsened in the nonce. We wouldn't want to miss that now, would we! Jolly Jupiter does something or other disgusting with vamping Venus which doubtless means you have been calculating how much you saved on your air ticket and will have worked out a budget for accommodation, food and western toilet tissue. But it's a budget that's about to be blown, as the hijacker makes a startling announcement.
As a New Moon comes in your loathsome sign, clashing with Uranus, the idiot god, you are told the plane is to be flown to a secret encampment somewhere outside Hull. There is of course an immediate tide of complaint from the other passengers, mostly focusing on the dreadful prospect of British food. This is soon silenced as the hijacker raises a gloved hand and cries, 'I have a foxglove and I'm not afraid to use it!' Though there are confused murmurs from other passengers, you yourself instantly realize the import of this threat. The villain is wearing a mitten obviously soaked in the dread poison, digitalis, the application of which would soon lay senseless any poor soul that was taken in the venomous grip.
Though you are concerned for your safety and the safety of others, your interest is also roused. You find yourself fascinated by the prospect of a trip to Hull to see just who it is that would use such daring and yet alternative methods in the ancient art of stratospheric buccaneering. Of course, all this takes place with a raft of ghastly planets, all farting in nasty aspect and polluting the cosmic winds! Chief among the flatulent offenders is marauding Mars who pokes his rudest bits into the private parts of jolly Jupiter and dark Pluto (eek), creating a foul configuration, known to astrologers throughout the ages as a thing of unspeakable horror.
It's a yod, tiny virginal ning-nongs! It's the Finger of God, pointed at you. As mischievous Mercury grapples with dark Pluto, lord of the underworld, your craft is spirited to the Island of the Mighty, as the daring hijacker holds in thrall the entire complement of passengers and crew with the threat of his dangerous foxglove! As you wing your way through the clouds, a Full Moon comes in tear-stained Pisces and the hijacker reveals all. Eek!
He says he is a member of a secret order of monks and nuns that practice the ancient art of herbalism and have done so since the days of yore, handing on their traditions from one generation to the next. However, in the modern era, they have taken on a new mission in a desperate attempt to oppose the degenerate chemical practices of this benighted world ruled as it is by insane gods. Your hijackers are the Herbicidal Hoodlums, a radical group sworn to overturn the oligarchy of the pharmaceutical corporations or die in the attempt. 'Aconite not aspirin!' is one of their radical slogans! Gadzooks, little virginal ninnies and rulers of small and brightly coloured flowers! This seems right up your alley, so to speak!
But what's this? Great gods alive and dead, is there no mercy in the universe? Nay! There is not for the great Sol Invicti now creaks and grinds his way into loathsome Libra, foisting the horror of another Equinox on an already over-burdened world. Thus, other highjackers join the first, each wearing the dangerous foxglove on the left hand while with the right they collect money from the passengers, not stolen so much as donated to the great cause. There goes the western toilet paper budget, my nitwit analysts! But perhaps the shops of Hull are unlikely to be under-supplied in that department and Tibet may soon prove to be a distant dream as you're actually being taken as a hostage to Britain. As vamping Venus makes improper advances to narcotic Neptune, the presence of daring and dangerous herbal outlaws in the aisle of your aircraft gives you shivers that alarm and yet excite you, both in the mind but also in regions that may be described as 'nether'.
Now, as I promised, there will be questions at the end. What lies in store for you in the secret camp of radicals just outside of Hull? Will you give up your quest to cure lycanthropy and join in with the Herbicidal Hoodlums? What is your favourite herb? I expect answers to all these in writing when I return next month. There may be a prize for the best presented entry. We shall have to see with that one. In the meantime, ave atque vale, my witless ning-nongs!