Blissed out on cooler mornings and breaks of breeze, the Northern Hem Virgo Season prepares its golden goodbye from Summer to Autumn. Reminiscent of childhood’s grade year beginnings, eager to learn, a love of books and (admittingly) routine, we make plans for our favorite season, bracing for the occasional hellish hot days that try to hang on. Dabbling in a new project (very Virgo), we present the first of our Femme Film Astro Archetypes, set in the swelter of Australia following students of an orderly, perfectionist academy. We look forward to our ongoing exploration of astrological and elemental symbolism in movies of yore! Note that the text ahead will contain some spoilers for our Virgo film pick.
In the fade, as the weather makes its change, the words of Sarah Helen Whitman resonates:
“When summer gathers up her robes of glory, And, like a dream, glides away.”
Picnic at Hanging Rock is an ethereal and enigmatic tale about a group of schoolgirls seduced by the strange powers of Earth, an environment becomes a character of its own.
Based on the novel published in 1967, Australian author Joan Lindsay had a strong connection to the real-life geological anomaly Hanging Rock in Victoria, poising the events as a true story. Once a place of spiritual significance for multiple tribes driven away due to colonization, Jason Tamiru explained that “the mystique and spiritual essence of the Rock has contributed to the story of our Dreaming, which binds my people to our creator spirits and country.” Though the traditional occupants are not mentioned in the film by Peter Weir, the enigmatic flute that plays throughout the gauzy scenes alludes to an Earth connection humans had to the area before the horrors of colonization. Though there are suggestions of human violence as a culprit to the disappearance of three girls and one teacher from Appleyard College, as the story unfolds, it is clear a much stronger power compelled the women to climb the Rock in a trance-like…