Starry Eyed And Laughing
               Michael Wackford

October 25th 2017
We were devastated at the loss on this day in 2016 of MICHAEL WACKFORD, our fantastic and extraordinary drummer.
He was a unique and passionate human being.

Michael Wackford
A service to Celebrate his life was held at Worthing Crematorium on November 15th 2016, and these are some words by his many wonderful friends from the local, musical and astrological worlds that he graced with his piercing and sometimes fierce passion for what it means to be a human on this planet at this time.

February 6 1953 - October 25 2016

A Photo tribute to Michael on Youtube
- click to hear 'To Try For The Sun'

Obituary in ASTROLOGY WORLD by Sharon Knight

"Outside of the astrology, Mike was a Drummer. Not just a drummer, but a brilliant Drummer. The energy he had, the timing, the rhythm, the intensity, he was spellbinding in his heyday. ln the 70's he was in a band that had considerable commercial success. That band was Starry Eyed and Laughing".

On Tuesday 25th October, someone, who probably isn't that well known in today's astrological community departed to play a big gig in the sky.

Mike Wackford was a technical astrologer par excellence. He was self taught, something of a loner and a bit of a maverick.

I first met him at the Astrological Lodge in London back in the '80's. He stalked up to me and said, where do I know you from? I looked at this cadaverous figure, dressed in black with the ubiquitous black leather jacket, quite attractive in an unusual Aquarian way, very obviously a musician, and said haughtily, you don't know me! He kept on insisting he did. Eventually, we found out we were both from near Brighton. My father was a musician. Had he played with my father? No. Had I seen him at any gigs in Sussex or elsewhere. No! After some time of him barking questions at me, we discovered he knew my sister through her husband and was seeing her in me. Mystery solved. We agreed to meet up next time I was down in Sussex. Which we did, and so began a friendship through astrology that lasted up until now.

Mike could be a difficult man. He was strongly opinionated, with an incisive mind who always wanted you to prove your methods. He was, in spite of his rather forbidding demeanour, a caring man who always made an effort to keep in touch. We would not speak for some time and then would come the call. So? What do you mean so? Well, look at that Saturn doing its business to your Mars? What's happened? Oh, that was last week. Yeah so! What happened? Well I hit a wall at speed in the car. Thought so! Bye. And that was how he kept in touch via the stars.

He was not afraid to air his opinions on any subject and would track down various astrologers who had written something he either did, or did not agree with and which he wanted to take further. One of his "opinions" was on Polar and Topocentric Houses, (The Topocentric house system was developed by Wendel Polich and Tony Page in the 1960s, and became very popular in the UK in the 1970s). Mike noticed some inconsistencies in the maths used to create the house cusps, tracked down Tony Page, and questioned him about them. Mike was right.

Many house systems give strange results in polar latitudes. Mike insisted that if you imagined yourself standing near the north (or south) pole, and watched the behaviour of the ecliptic on a sort of mental movie, you would soon understand what was really going on. His articles in Correlation on this topic, accompanied by excellent diagrams that he drew himself, solved the problem forever. This article appeared in the AA research journal, Correlation 19/2 (2001) and can now be found on the Skyscript site.

His ability to visualise things in 3-D, especially the movement of the sky, led him to experiment with transits which were measured by celestial latitude as well as longitude. The technique had fallen out of astrological practice in the nineteenth century. As Mike always said, horoscope houses are not slices of cake but segments of an orange, curved rather than straight. His predictions for events conesponding to transits often seemed to be several days before or after the date that the ephemeris might suggest - but they were also astonishingly exact.

He was great friends with the late Dr Margaret Millard and would discuss medical astrology with her. lf memory serves me conectly, she even gave him access to her personal papers and research as she valued his input. She had known Maurice Wemyss (the pen name of Duncan McNaughton) who wrote The Wheel of Life. Maurice was an outsider to the establishment of Charles Carter, etc, and had some very interesting ideas, including a few extra planets, long before things like Pluto or Sedna were discovered. I think Mike liked him because he, too, was a maverick thinker.

Mike really was a brilliant astrologer, ready to share his knowledge if you asked him. He would not push himself forward to air his knowledge and had a short fuse with those he considered ill informed!

Outside of the astrology, Mike was a Drummer. Not just a drummer, but a brilliant Drummer. The energy he had, the timing, the rhythm, the intensity, he was spellbinding in his heyday. ln the 70's he was in a band that had considerable commercial success. That band was Starry Eyed and Laughing.

Some of the band members got together for a gig to celebrate Mike's 60th birthday a couple of years ago. Despite suffering from pain in his joints, once he got on the skins, the years fell away and we all saw the young drummer behind the arthritic facade. lt was a wonderful poignant evening. Bernard Eccles came up from the West Country, Marie brought Mike Edwards along, (who happily was in the moment) and I think, for the four of us, the years fell away and we were back to when life was in front of us and astrology was our fix. Today I look at the Speculum which Mike drew up for me all those years ago and reflect on how lucky I was to have known him.
May he be drumming in peace amongst the stars he knew so well.

A Thank you to Wackford: Nov 2016 from Marie and Mike Edwards

l'm speaking today not just for myself, but also for my dear Starry Mike Edwards, to say 'thank you' Mike for being such a really good friend and a brilliant mind for star-talk.

You two Mikes matched in so many ways - and no I don't just mean being, shall we say, of strong mind and opinion! - How the two of you would discuss, argue, explore, enjoy and ultimately, write and publish what had been so thoroughly thrashed out in discussions, either in that minute room in Davigdor road, or all those hours on the phone....

The patterned movements of the stars, the ways they can be represented to us, the huge possibilities that open to those who study 'the grammar of Light.' You spoke a wonderful technical version of that language Mike and to the uninitiated your papers seem like the workings of theoretical physics - or perhaps a musical score.

... Your thinking was spacious and patterned with complex rhythms, yet on a daily basis you were so interested in the minute details of starry movements and their correlations with little personal events. Astrologer Sharon writes about this in her fine obituary .... lt's sad that the astrological world had to lose you so early.

For myself, I want to thank you for all your kindnesses to me ... all the more welcome, coming abruptly out of that piercing gaze and sometimes gruff exterior..... What an old softie you were at heart- as kind and sentimentalas they come. When Starry Mike was an emergency heart case up at St Thomas's - ten days in intensive care with me drifting hopelessly around the grounds - you not only phoned each afternoon with a daily horoscope, but later I saw how tactfully you'd interpreted it to help me cope.

You loved our cats! You complemented me on my cooking! A casual mention of never havlng seen more than a few episodes of a TV sci fi series brought you to the door next time with a huge stack of DVD recordings copied specially for me. l'm sorry I never watched them Mike, but maybe l'll give it a go now.

When you reconnected with dear Barbara over in America it was a delight to your friends to see you both so happy. l'm remembering some wonderful dinners and visits, full of dreams and plans, and l'm speaking now for Barbara who yesterday asked me to bring these little purple wildflowers. She says, 'We talked about having those flowers in our hands at our wedding - and the music would have been our special song the Beach Boys'All l Wanna Do.' She says she is thinking about all the beautiful memories and holding them in her heart.

We are too Mike - the troubles and illness that took over your life cast its shadow, but the glorious gigs, the legacy of your writing, and those loving memories remain.....

.... I have to say there also remain a rather large number of house plants of yours which you rather unexpectedly brought me last year... a boot-load of dried-out, hopeless-looking plants to look after, explaining that some were aloe vera, very good for the skin.... l'm smiling now Mike because today l'm following your example, and l've brought loads of them along to give to your friends as an unexpected gift from you. Happily they are flourishing like mad and it's some of the babies l've brought... I like to think that when you take a moment out from that great gig in the sky, you'll approve. ... Love and Light be yours Mike, and thank you. Mariex
More words to come ...