Yesterday morning I got up early to let my Facebook friends know I was putting up my new Astro4Business Week forecast.  That’s when I realized I was 14 hours late for my readers in Australia. 

A famous photo of Earth from Apollo 17 (Blue Marble) originally had the south pole at the top; however, it was turned upside-down to fit the traditional perspective. (Source:Wikipedia)

A famous photo of Earth from Apollo 17 (Blue Marble) originally had the south pole at the top; however, it was turned upside-down to fit the traditional perspective. (Source:Wikipedia)

As my world enlarges to include friends and clients from both the northern and southern hemispheres, some basic pieces of my worldview and my astrological knowledge have to be questioned and redefined.  A few years back I was speaking to a business colleague who runs a consulting practice in Australia.  She asked me, what makes you sure that your country is in the North?  In other words, why do I speak of the U.S. as “above” the equator rather than Australia?  That really stopped me. 

Of course she is right. In a universe that spreads in all directions, exploding from a point of infinitely dense matter and creating space as it progresses, how can one direction be called above, or north, and another below, or south.    On a round sphere like earth in a directionless space, who names what is up and what is down?

A cartographer could answer this for us, but why is the so-called Northern Hemisphere at the top of all maps?  Couldn’t equally valid maps be drawn with the so-called Southern Hemisphere on top?    Maybe I’m belaboring a point here, but if we’ve been trained with such a fundamentally biased world-view, wouldn’t this affect all of our business dealings too?

As I write the weekly Astro4Business forecast I’ve been thinking about all of my readers from all over the world, including New Zealand, Australia, and Brazil.  I want to explain the meanings of the current positions of all of the planets so we can use this knowledge to guide our businesses.

But when I was learning astrology, the various signs were explained as reflective of the seasons of the year.  So Aries, beginning March 21, was described as creative, initiatory, energetic like its sister season, spring.  And Leo was described as hot, fiery, and unwavering like the summer months of July and August.  But in Australia, Aries is the beginning of autumn, and Leo is in the dead of winter.  It feels like my astrological knowledge is doing headstands.

Southern hemisphere from above the South Pole. (Source:Wikipedia)

Southern hemisphere from above the South Pole. (Source:Wikipedia)

A little internet research reveals why astrology has been cast in such a northern-centric way:

There is no doubt, historically speaking, that astrology is predicated on a northern-hemisphere-centric body of knowledge. The cultures from which astrology was born—Babylonian, Egyptian, Hindu, Greek, Chinese, Tibetan—all derive from north of the equator. Thus, it isn’t surprisingly that traditional astrological symbolism is colored strongly by the progression of the seasons as lived in the northern hemisphere. (Cite: http://astrobarry.com/2003/dec1503.php)

 

Although there is a movement in Australia to reverse the signs to more closely correspond to the Australian seasons, even most Southern Hemisphere astrologers accept the northern-centric meanings.   They take the pure energy of the signs and adjust the meanings to their own seasons.  So Aries in the Southern Hemisphere, which corresponds to the beginning of autumn, becomes the energy to transition from the summer months, the energy needed to collect the harvest, the red autumn trees.  And the steady heat of Leo becomes the hearth fire in the cold of winter.  Just like these astrologers, I too need to adjust my thinking about the signs to a more pure and essential understanding of the cycles.

How does this apply to business?  As our reach becomes more global, so do our relationships.  I have personally made many mistakes from my unconsciously American organizational viewpoint while working with Indian businesses.  A Russian friend who works in London banking laughingly recounts her first few months of faux pas as she adjusted to the formal British culture.  Truthfully, even moving from the northeast USA to the southeast can cause missteps every day until you absorb the southern culture. 

And yet we can’t just avoid the issue, the economy is going global.  We’ve got to break through, break free from the conditioning we picked up from TV, education, government, and our families.  Or stay home.  I guess we could just settle into a little town and interact only with those like us.  Only those that don’t make us question which way is up.  That would be a small world, indeed!

I’d love to hear from you!  Any anecdotes from your attempts at going global?