Archive for category Philosophy

A4B Today – October 26 Sun friends Pluto

Source:Wikimedia Commons

Good Day!

As I mentioned in this week’s forecast, Scorpio is a prevalent energy this week and today is no exception.  The Sun in Scorpio forms a harmonious aspect to Pluto in Capricorn.  The Sun represents the most outer and controllable part of ourselves, our ego and our ability as leaders.  Pluto, the planet most closely aligned to the sign Scorpio, represents the most unconscious and uncontrollable part of our lives.  The most apparent outer part meets with the most hidden inner part:  what will be the result?

Pluto in Capricorn represents the upheaval and transformation we are seeing in the massive structures in our world:  government, religion, the economy, industry, and the military, to name a few.   In a most interesting part of astrological philosophy, these most outer and distant edifices in our lives are seen as a projection of our most unconscious inner lives.  Under this philosophy we can never blame our difficulties or reversals of fortune on the wide world out there because any conflicts there are reflections of conflicts inside of us.  If we are having trouble with our board of directors or the IRS or changes in our industry, this is actually the result of deep and transforming adjustments going on within ourselves.

The opportunity of a day like today (and really this is strong enough to influence the whole week) is that this aspect can bring to our conscious minds a recognition of the part we are playing in our own troubles, and the determination to change ourselves and thereby change our fortunes.  And if you’ve reached this point of recognition it’s probably not the first time this year you’ve seen it.  You may have seen a similar pattern which keeps emerging time after time – today is the day you can resolve it.

And here’s a hint for where to look:  conflict.  Many of us subscribe to conflict avoidance – it is one of the most common characteristics of business culture.  Most people want to be liked and don’t want to create tension with people they interact with day after day.  In comes the blessing of Scorpio.  I’ve never known a person strongly influenced by Scorpio who was afraid of conflict.  It’s like the Scorpio energy has a penchant for digging up whatever is uncomfortable, secret, or dysfunctional and laying it bare for all to see.  And this is exactly what is needed and what is offered under today’s aspect.

So how do you keep it friendly and productive?  I’d love to hear your suggestions but I offer the following:

  • Get rid of blame.  When a company culture supports feedback without blame, fewer conflicts are shoved under the carpet, to collect there and erupt later.
  • Be honest with your employees and associates.  Your honesty will elicit others to be frank and above-board, warding off nasty surprises.
  • Be aware that the energy of conflict can evoke radically different solutions than may otherwise have been recognized.
  • As the leader, it’s your job to force disputes to the surface because of the valuable insights which can be gained.  One study found that “conflicts over seemingly technical issues such as procedures, schedules, and lines of authority were in fact proxies for underlying conflicts about values and norms.”  (Ronald Heifetz & Laurie Donald, Harvard Business Review)

So let’s celebrate this week’s Scorpionic environment by taking advantage of its revealing and purifying side.  There’s a lot to be gained and this honesty can lead to another area ruled by Scorpio:  profits!

Do you have a question about your business for Ellen? See the “Work with Ellen” tab at the top of this site for my Straight to the Point Response service.

For an overview of the week, see the Weekly Forecast – October 25-31

For an overview of the month, see the Astro4Business Month Ahead – October 2010

For more info on the business descriptions of the planets mentioned today, see

The Sun


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Saturn Cycles (Redux)

Dear Readers – this is a reprint of an earlier article published on this site. As I’m travelling this week, and in keeping with Mercury Retrograde, I’ll be posting articles of interest from the archives each day this week.

Saturn (Source: NOAA)

Saturn (Source: NOAA)

Let’s talk a little more about cycles. What exactly do we mean by a cycle, especially in the context of astrology and business? Let’s define a cycle as a rhythmic pattern through time that has a beginning phase, a phase of building toward a vision or goal, a culminating phase where the fruit of the prior effort is evident, a waning phase when the accomplishment starts to wither or lose its glow, and an ending phase when the achievement disintegrates and creates the conditions for the next cycle.

Cycles like this are obvious; we’ve all experienced them. The seasons are an example of course but there are many more experiences that can go this way: love affairs, interests, exercise regimes, economics, political ideas, empires.

I was thinking about cycles because a client called the other day hoping astrology could shed light on a difficult period she is having in her career. Bethany is in her mid-fifties. She built a successful career in business for herself. With a background in marketing, she spent many years freelancing, developing marketing plans for small and mid-size businesses. She was successful financially and she liked the work a lot. She eventually went to work for a large organization running their marketing department. After several years she cut back to half-time; her heart just wasn’t in it anymore.

After spending a couple of years gardening, cooking, and generally laying low, Bethany hit upon an idea she thinks could make a splash on the internet. She’s been working diligently for about a year now and the project just isn’t coming together like she wishes it would. She asks, “Is it just not the right idea?” She beginning to feel filled with self-doubt and a sense of wasted time. Her outlook is bleak.

Can astrology help? Yes! Just listening to her, I could sense a Saturn cycle in play and checking her chart, it was true. Saturn’s cycle around the sun is twenty-nine years and it’s one of the best indicators for the progress of business and career development. Saturn’s influence has a natural affinity with business, especially with the disciplined effort it takes to really make a business take off. There’s a fascinating progression of Saturn through a person’s or business’s natal chart that outlines

  • the beginning point of a business endeavor when the idea is just a kernel taking shape,
  • the building phase when nothing but hard work is apparent,
  • the culmination phase when the endeavor receives public acclaim and financial rewards,
  • the waning phase when it’s still happening but the thrill of success is starting to fade,
  • the ending phase when the person sells or otherwise ends the business and begins looking for something new.

In this almost thirty year cycle, Bethany is in the first couple of years of something new. She is old enough to have been through it once before and she wonders why her previous success can’t be replicated. It will be; it is just too soon. Bethany is in the phase where she can build her business brick by brick: slowly build a client base, test and codify her ideas, get some education if she needs to. She has planted the seed, it has germinated, but it will be some years before it looks as dazzling as her previous success. It’s not that there won’t be small victories along the way. With Bethany’s talents there are certain to be, but Saturn’s message is patience, keep at it, build a strong foundation.

As we spoke about this cycle and discussed the last time she’d been through it, she remembered clearly those early lean years, the times she only had one or two steady clients, when she was working out of her home because she couldn’t afford an office yet. She was able to connect the dots from that time to her very profitable years later in the cycle, and she remembered why she had lost interest in the prior work. Her new work expresses the businesswoman she has become and takes advantage of today’s trends.

With the help of astrology, she could clearly see the cycle she was part of, and she left determined to continue the effort and keep laying the groundwork for her future.

For another example of this cycle, see this post on Julia Child:

Julia Child and Saturn

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What to do about Pluto in Capricorn (Redux)

Dear Readers – this is a reprint of an earlier article published on this site.  As I’m travelling this week, and in keeping with Mercury Retrograde, I’ll be posting articles of interest from the archives each day this week. 

You may be thinking, OK, very interesting theories, but what should I do about this trend of Pluto in Capricorn?  That depends on how this trend is affecting you; where you and your business stand in relation to the cycle.

To a certain extent, your individual horoscope will determine the timing of the impact of Pluto in Capricorn on your business life.  And for a more personalized and specific answer to this question you can visit an astrologer that you trust and discuss the cycle as it relates to your chart.  (Or you can contact me for a consultation.)  But there are a few general comments that apply to all of us, because whether or not this cycle is affecting us personally yet, it may be affecting our customers, colleagues, and employees.  And our turn will come soon enough, so we may as well prepare now.

Since Pluto hastens and intensifies the processes of endings and new beginnings, it will bring about the ending of our business pursuits that are no longer suited to our growth and personal evolution.  Whatever has been slowly leaking vitality will go ahead and die at this time, including old business models, practices, and products.  (Note:  the U.S. auto industry)  But an interesting clue regarding Pluto comes from its link with the mythological phoenix, the bird that periodically goes up in flames and then is reborn from its own ashes. 

If you’re undergoing the very dramatic death of a cherished business idea or idea of yourself as a successful businessperson, start digging through the ashes for your next incarnation.  Remember, the phoenix is resurrected from the ashes of its former self.  (One of my clients had been a very successful plumbing and heating contractor who, through no fault of his own, found himself in a bankruptcy situation because of a client’s bankruptcy.  He renamed his business Phoenix Mechanical and built an even bigger and more successful business that was on much more solid footing because of the lessons he had learned.)

So dig in those ashes.  What was valid from the past?  What were the strengths you and your key employees brought to the process?  What innovations did you make that really worked?  Don’t assume that everything about the endeavor should be scrapped.  There are valuable resources in that scrapheap.  While the next new idea will not look exactly like the old one, it may bear more similarities than you expect.

Even if nothing so dramatic is happening now, it’s a great time to work with these energies to remove dead wood.  Believe it or not, old ideas and structures that you may have abandoned but not gotten rid of can absorb a great deal of psychic energy and seep decay into the environment.  Clean out those closets!  Rearrange files.  Close bank accounts that are inactive.  Sell those vehicles you no longer use.  Preempt the Pluto in Capricorn lesson.

On the positive side, write a long-term business plan.  Have a succession plan in place.  Save money!  Work toward a business structure that will outlast your own involvement.  Improve your management skills.  Empower and promote the deserving.  Invest your time and energy in a fair work environment that offers advancement for your best people.  All these things take advantage of the times and let the universe know that you intend to glide with the current, rather than try to swim against it.

Let me know what you’re going to do in the comments section below.

For another article on Pluto in Capricorn, see the link below.  This was written when Saturn was in Libra, which it will return to after retrograde motion on July 24.

Are you Irrationally Pessimistic?


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Neptune in Aquarius – Let’s Get Connected (Redux)

Dear Readers – this is a reprint of an earlier article published on this site.  As I’m travelling this week, and in keeping with Mercury Retrograde, I’ll be posting articles of interest from the archives.  This was the first in a series of articles on Neptune in Aquarius.  There are links to the others below.

I found a great quote by Mikal Gilmore in the Rolling Stone Commemorative Issue on Michael Jackson.  Although he wasn’t describing Neptune, these words are particularly descriptive of Neptune’s energy:

In my mind, Michael Jackson, [Elvis] Presley and the Beatles all shared one virtue:  they bound together millions of dissimilar people in not just a quirk of shared taste, but also a forceful, heartfelt consensus that spoke to common dreams and values.”

This is a perfect quote for the activity of Neptune:  a forceful, heartfelt consensus that speaks to common dreams and values.  (To see my post on Neptune, use this link Neptune/) Neptune has been transiting the sign of Aquarius (Aquarius/) since 1998.  What are the common dreams and values that are inspiring us with Neptune in Aquarius? 

The Aquarius common dreams and values are

  • the equality of the common man;
  • responsibility to the group;
  • the ascendancy of man based on knowledge, rather than other types of power;
  • the right of humans to progress technologically;
  • the right of each person to contribute to the base of knowledge. 

Neptune in Aquarius – connecting, binding together through the dissemination of knowledge and information.  Aquarius is an air sign, so it’s through the realm of thinking and ideas that the Neptunian urge to merge takes root in the world. 

What does this search for connection look like?  Think of internet dating.  This hugely popular and successful way to connect to other people is done entirely through databases of attributes – bits of knowledge about other people matched electronically with bits of knowledge about you.  Mind to mind connection.  The bits of knowledge may be about your likes and dislikes, your beliefs, what makes you smile, how you feel, all little pieces of information that you choose to key into the screen – effectively turning your need for connection into bits of information.  No physical contact, no physical environment for meeting and yet thousands of successful matches. 

How else do we search for connection these days?  Facebook has become a phenomenon during Neptune’s transit of Aquarius, becoming more and more ubiquitous every day.  It has become unnecessary for any physical contact to keep up with friends and family and in fact this electronic connection has allowed more contact with a wider group than ever before.  No need even for telephones to transmit our personalities, we can just reach out and touch each other virtually.  And it really does feel like connection, more connection than ever.

Blogging is also a very Neptune in Aquarius activity.  The right of the common person to contribute to a base of shared knowledge across countries and cultures is a trend that has never been seen on this scale.  And twittering, blogging in fewer than 140 characters, is changing and some would say redefining our communication skills to match the lighting pace of our world.  The right to change centuries of grammar and punctuation rules with the abbreviations and short bursts required for text messaging is a purely Aquarian liberty.  Revolutionize!  Break the rules!

I’m interested in hearing from you.  How are you including these trends in your business plans?  In the comments section below, let’s begin sharing ideas about aligning with Neptune in Aquarius, a very Neptune in Aquarius thing to do!

See the rest of the series in these posts:

Neptune in Aquarius – mind to mind connecting

Neptune in Aquarius – Inspired Minds

Neptune in Aquarius – Free

Neptune in Aquarius – Free, the Radical Price

Neptune in Aquarius – How to Compete with Free

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Too much of a good thing?

Hello, everyone.

I’ve often noticed that as I begin exploring a subject I start running into information that helps me to continue my learning.  Call it synchronicity or simply noticing what I would have missed before for lack of attention, but this has happened time and time again.  And it just happened again.

I’ve begun exploring in these pages my theory that when a business owner finds him/herself in crisis, we can explore the transits of the five outer planets to both define the crisis and to design the solution out of the crisis.  In my post “What flavor your Crisis?” I began to outline the types of crises you are likely to experience when under the influence of each planetary energy.

The Trap

This morning an article came through from Harvard Business Review called “The Acceleration Trap.”  This article insightfully describes a situation when a business takes on more than it can handle.  Often sparked by an exceptional burst of opportunities, the company increases activities and exceeds prior performance but doesn’t know when to stop.  If the activity level turns into chronic overloading, employees’ motivation will flag and the company’s focus will be scattered in various directions.  This can confuse customers, threaten your brand, and lead to burn-out, exhaustion, and resignation (maybe even yours.)

Sounds like a Jupiter crisis!  In my previous post, I described a Jupiter crisis this way:  a Jupiter transit indicates a business crisis caused by too many opportunities.  Risk-taking could be leading to overexpansion.  The focus has become too scattered and lack of follow-through causes projects to be invested in and then dropped before completion.  There can be lack of judgment on the part of the owners and extravagance and dissipation of resources.

The HBR article adds to my research by describing three patterns that can emerge from this situation:

  1. Employees are overloaded with too many activities.  This is when workers don’t have the time or the resources required to do their jobs.
  2. Companies ask employees to do too many kinds of activities, what the authors call “multiloading.”  This leads to workers being unfocused and activities misaligned.
  3. Companies get into the habit of constant change, or perpetual loading.  This deprives workers of any hope of recharging their energy. 

Of course in a micro-business with only the owner, or the owner with one or two employees, these patterns can certainly emerge too.

The Solution

How does a company break out of the acceleration trap? 

Another part of my theory is that you have to fight fire with fire.  If, due to the natal chart of the company or the owner, there have been and continue to be a string of Jupiter transits, then the energy that led to the situation must be called upon for the solution.

Here are some suggestions, culled from the HBR article, and modified according to what we know about Jupiter:

  1. Ask your employees for ideas about what to stop.  As employees bring their wisdom to the situation and enjoy the trust you place in them to resolve the crisis, it brings the best of Jupiter to bear.
  2. Make sure you have defined a long-term strategy, that everyone in the organization knows what it is, and that every project supports that strategy.  Jupiter is the king of looking ahead and planning for the future.
  3. Have a way to make hard choices.  Ask each manager (or yourself), what is the single project you want to complete above all others?  Setting one supreme goal brings out the Jupiter spirit in people.
  4. Call an end to ceaseless turmoil.  Declare it over.  Jupiter understands the power of words and proclamations to shape the present moment and the future.
  5. Create a ceremony to acknowledge what is stopping.  The HBR article highlighted the need for a “burying” culture.  People have invested time and energy into projects you may be halting.  Gather people together to formally acknowledge the end of a project so that everyone can grieve and let it go. 
  6. Work to change the company culture.  Slow down.  Relax.  Indulge.  Institute regular time-outs and be sure to stick to them.  No one likes fun more than Jupiter.


To read the initial article in this series see:

What Flavor your Crisis?

For more articles on Jupiter see:

Astro4Business Basics – Jupiter

Ready for Opportunity?  Jupiter Direct

Don’t forget. If you have an astrology-related business question (or a business-related astrology question) send it to me at I’ll answer it in these posts, anonymously of course, and we can all learn from each other’s experiences. I look forward to it! Have a question now? Email it and let’s get started!

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Birthing a revolution – Pluto in Capricorn

Hello, everyone.

This is the second part of a series examining the current position of Pluto in Capricorn and comparing it to the time of the American Revolution, the last time Pluto was in Capricorn.

We’re not to the point of revolution yet.  If we compare the actual position of Pluto now to that historical period it is related to the years 1762 to 1765.  During those years Pluto was transiting back and forth from about 0 degrees Capricorn to 5 degrees Capricorn, just like it is now.  When the actual Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776, Pluto was at 27 degrees of Capricorn, which it will reach again in 2022.


Political cartoon by Benjamin Franklin

Political cartoon by Benjamin Franklin

Birthing a revolution




The years between 1762 and 1765 were called by John Adams, an American statesman, when “American independence was then and there born.”  Great Britain had just concluded what American historians refer to as The French and Indian War.  While Great Britain did not expect the American colonists to pay for all of the costs of the war, it did begin to require them to pay for ongoing colonial defense.  It also began to enforce certain mercantile laws that were in place already but had not been enforced strictly until this time.

These laws with their additional taxes were met with great resistance in Americans who believed that monarchs could tax people only with their consent.  The resistance to this tax created a loose coalition among the various colonies in the region, colonies with fundamental differences and mistrust of each other, but a common goal to resist what they deemed as unfair practices by the British government. 

Civic and religious duty

During the years leading up to the Revolution there was a fervor developing for “Republicanism.”  In those days, Republicanism meant that men were required to put civic duty ahead of personal desires – that people should develop “a positive passion for the public good”, in the words of John Adams.  And as Thomas Payne expounded in “Common Sense”, a very popular pamphlet that circulated just before the Revolution, it was also a part of every man’s religious duty to fight tyranny.  He based this on the Bible’s exposition that men are equal to each other at creation; therefore there is no distinction between kings and subjects.

Revolution today

What are the correspondences to the Pluto in Capricorn of today?

I’ll name three that I see and I hope you’ll add to the list:

  1. We are at the very beginning of this Pluto in Capricorn cycle.  The American Revolution occurred at the end of the prior one.  Already we are witnessing the stirrings of a global overthrow of governmental and business structures.  The Tea Party movement is an example of a similar sentiment to the colonists prior to the Revolution.
  2. Coalitions of people are forming who are historically distrustful of each other, yet united in their fervor to fundamentally restructure some aspect of society.  This can be seen in some of the unlikely alliances in the Republican Party today.
  3. The religious duty to overthrow tyranny forms the basis of some of the most important global movements in our time.

Will this be BIG?

Are you wondering whether there will be an enormous societal change with this passage of Pluto in Capricorn like there was in the last?  Yes, I think so.  Capricorn as a cardinal sign wants to initiate something big and concrete, and Pluto is always birthing the evolution we need to progress as a whole. 

What will it be?  I’m not sure yet.  John Adams didn’t recognize the birth point of the revolution until many years later.  And this is a feature of Pluto, whether it is operating in a birth chart, a business chart, or the times as a whole.  Pluto’s transformations are so massive it takes many years before we can look at what happened and say, yes, I understand it.  Right now we’re deeply immersed in the throes of its activity – like the American colonists about twelve years before declaring independence.

If you see other correspondences between those times and now, let us know in the Comments section.

For more posts on Pluto in Capricorn, see the category at the right.

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The Tiger – good for business!

Hello everyone.

I’m sure you know that the Chinese New Year began on February 14, and this year is the Year of the Tiger.  I’m not an expert, nor even an amateur, at Chinese astrology, but I ran into some interesting information that applies to our business lives related to the Year of the Tiger.  Rather than trying to convey the essence of the information to you, I thought I would pass it along directly. 

Lynn Hayes is an astrologer that I read regularly.  She writes about many subjects – you may enjoy her work too.  In this entry, she quotes another astrologer, Marvin Artley.  I am less familiar with his work but will definitely return to his website again.

From Lynn’s post, “Happy Chinese New Year!

As if Valentine’s Day, the Aquarian New Moon, a Venus/Jupiter conjunction and the conjunction of Chiron and Neptune weren’t enough, we also have the Chinese New Year! 


Source:Wikimedia Commons

Source:Wikimedia Commons

This is the Year of the Tiger in the Chinese astrological pantheon; it is the year of Metal Tiger, which is great for wealth, but it is also the year of the White Tiger because of the association of the color white to the element of metal.  The White or Metal Tiger has the potential for power, but also for destruction and social disorder and change.


It’s an interesting synchronicity that Uranus (revolution and change) will enter the sign of Aries (war and agression) this year, bringing about a similar tendency towards chaotic social disorder and change that Chinese astrologers are predicting with the Year of the Tiger.   

Astrologer Marvin Artley writes:  

It is said that when the Emperor rules with absolute virtue, the White Tiger will appear. The White Tiger is one of the four sacred animals in Chinese astrology. It rules over the western direction and is symbolic of strength, daring, commercial prowess, the competitive spirit and willingness to fight for beliefs. Of course, the White Tiger referred to here is not the sacred, or heraldic, animal but the same principles apply to the Tiger as one of the twelve zodiacal signs.

The year of 2010, starting from Valentines’ Day, will be marked by revolutionary tendencies, advances and accidents in transport, attempts at imposing draconian legislation, advances in media and a resurgence of the working classes. Metal (White) Tiger years typically see antitrust legislation and insurrections in the political arena. The sudden reversals and consequent engendered insecurity that we saw in the Rat and Ox years just passed (2008, 2009) have set the stage for overhauls of political and economic systems that are oppressive or do not work, with a consequent reactionary front from those who would rather keep those systems in place. The so-called War on Terror will take a decisive turn in 2010, with expected military action against recalcitrant regimes. Iran and North Korea come to mind. The Korean War started in the White Tiger year of 1950.  

On the social front the explorer’s instinct and entrepreneurial spirit will be to the fore. New products come out in White Tiger years that tend to become ‘old standards’ later, such as peanut butter, Pepsi Cola, the sewing machine, corrugated boxes, hamburgers and beloved comic strips (‘Peanuts’ and Beetle Bailey’), so put on your thinking caps and see what you can come up with.  

The Tiger in Chinese astrology represents majesty, dignity and sternness, daring, power and passion and anyone who has those qualities in their nature will fare well in 2010. For those who are more sedate then those same Tiger qualities may just be awakened this year. It is said that the Tiger has no special magical properties. Tigers work best ‘in the trenches’ and in motivating others to get things done. It will be a great year to start an enterprise, work at self-improvement, prevail upon the boss for that raise you so richly deserve, do something daring and completely out-of-character, push your own and others’ boundaries, get over that fear of public speaking or just generally make a bold statement about your life. In all, find whatever stirs your passion this year and the Tiger in you is sure to come out!  

Some Chinese astrologers warn that the year is good for business, but there is danger in becoming too greedy (the same can be said of the conjunction of Jupiter to Uranus in Pisces coming up in March through May of 2010).   

Thanks Lynn and Marvin!

Don’t forget. If you have an astrology-related business question (or a business-related astrology question) send it to me at I’ll answer it in these posts, anonymously of course, and we can all learn from each other’s experiences. I look forward to it! Have a question now? Email it and let’s get started!

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Your questions – cycles within cycles

Anonymous Flammarion woodcut (1888). (Source:Wikimedia Commons)

Anonymous Flammarion woodcut (1888). (Source:Wikimedia Commons)

Hello everyone.

The following question comes from a reader with a good understanding of astrology.  Please don’t get discouraged by the technical terms – her question posts an issue that applies to all of us and allows me the chance to spell out some fundamental astrological principles.

She writes:

How does a personal astrology chart interact with the bigger astrological influences?  I’ve wondered this often, and my current situation brings it up again.  In my chart I have transiting Jupiter conjunct natal Saturn in my 10th house.  My understanding of that, is this is a great time to make things real in the material world – particularly as it relates to my career.  And since I own my own business, for my company.  Jupiter is within 1 degree of my natal Saturn tomorrow.  But, Mars is in retrograde and there will be a void Moon tomorrow afternoon.

I can’t tell you how often this is the case.  One part of the astrology says “go”; another part says “no”.  Life is like that, isn’t it?  It’s a complex undertaking, not often reducible to black or white.

Our World of Cycles

When we are born, we enter a world in the midst of cycles.  The moon may be waxing or waning, the sun may be heading into the northern or southern hemisphere, some planets may be retrograding, others are in the signs they rule so are very strong, others may be weakened by aspect, etc, etc, etc.  And we step in to all this motion, stamped indelibly by these first impressions, or if you prefer, aligned perfectly with the needs of our soul’s journey. 

These cycles don’t stop.  Within a few moments after your birth, planetary positions have shifted and the degree on the horizon which indicates your rising sign has changed.  The cycles zoom ahead – all of the way to the present moment.

The moon completes a full cycle every month, the Sun every year.  Each planet has its cycle, with the outer planets taking so long they don’t complete a full cycle in our lifetime.  Some cycles repeat themselves over and over in our lives and some don’t have time to repeat at all.

Now it gets complicated

The position a planet occupied at the moment of your birth is always sensitized in your life.  The planet moves on from that point, but that point in the zodiac continues to hold meaning for you.  When another planet in its orbit passes that sensitized point or forms a mathematical angle to it, there is an opportunity to work with the issues described by the two planets, the original one and the one passing through.  Sometimes this is a purely inner experience, an awakening of some kind.  Sometimes the inner experience is reflected in the outer world and we learn more about ourselves in relation to others during the transit.

Now all of this can get very complicated, very quickly.  Just think of all your experiences and relationships even in the current point in time, all the roles you play, your interests, your feelings, your yearnings, what has gone before and your hopes for the future.  Every single facet of life is reflected in the cycles of astrology, so you can imagine how complex each moment is, astrologically speaking.

One thing is certain:  the experiences you came for, you will get.  My spiritual teacher once said that we came to this earth with something to learn and something to offer. You will have the opportunity to both learn and offer within the cycles shown in your astrological chart.

In this way, the unfolding of our personal astrology chart is part of and contained within the bigger astrological influences.  So if you are having an influence that lasts a few weeks, like the reader’s Jupiter transit of her natal Saturn, but Mars is retrograde at the time, the retrograde Mars is part of the unfolding of the Jupiter/Saturn transit.  That Jupiter/Saturn transit was always going to unfold that way, with Mars retrograde.  If you’re looking at transits ahead of time, they must always be considered in concert with the other cycles happening at the time.

Keep it simple

Like I said, all of this can get very complex.  So I appreciate the advice of my current astrology teachers, Darrelyn Gunzberg and Bernadette Brady.  They use the K.I.S.S. principle, which they say means, Keep It Simple, Student.  They advise us to pick two or three of the most important cycles unfolding in relation to our birth charts and interpret all of the lesser cycles in terms of these major ones.  In other words, if you are experiencing a major Pluto transit now, the theme of transformation through destruction and irrevocable change will be playing itself out in some part of your life.  The monthly lunar cycles, or Mars retrograde, or even a Jupiter transit to your natal chart must be interpreted within the meaning of regeneration shown by the Pluto transit. Everything will contribute to and become part of this overarching development. 

So, specifically in answer to the reader’s question, if Jupiter is bringing opportunities for expansion of responsibility and structure (Saturn) to her business (10th house), then retrograde Mars indicates that these opportunities will be found by looking back at ground previously covered, rather than initiating something brand new. In this way, the Mars retrograde becomes a helpful clue to discover the source of the Jupiterian opportunity.

Each moment is auspicious

There is more to be said regarding how to choose which cycles are the overarching themes, and the timing of the unfolding of experiences as they are revealed in the chart, but I think this is enough to digest for now.  I’ll just leave you with one other thought, something I have learned from my spiritual studies:  each moment is auspicious.  Each birth is auspicious because your Soul, the great Soul, has decided to enact a certain play in these cycles of space and time.  Your chart is a translation of the infinite light of the truth into everyday life in this world.


Don’t forget. If you have an astrology-related business question (or a business-related astrology question) send it to me at I’ll answer it in these posts, anonymously of course, and we can all learn from each other’s experiences. I look forward to it! Have a question now? Email it and let’s get started!

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Science or Astrology?

Hello, everyone.

I was speaking with a client the other day who had called about a business/astrology question.  After a fruitful conversation she said, “I almost didn’t call you.  I didn’t want the astrology to influence my thinking.”

It sounds odd, doesn’t it, to call an astrologer about a situation but not want the astrology to influence your decision?  Still, I understood what she meant.  It was a classic free will versus destiny dilemma, or free will versus nature.

I am the master of my destiny

This particular client has a very prominent Uranus in her chart, which represents a rational, even scientific way of looking at things.  She wants to believe she is the master of her destiny. 

The planet Uranus was first sighted during the 17th century, the same time that the scientific method was being developed into its modern form by Descartes and Galileo.  Science, as it has come to be practiced today, is based on hypotheses, repeatable experiments, and resultant theories.  What passes these tests is deemed real; what does not pass, is not real. 

Scientific Method

This scientific method has resulted in immeasurable changes to the way we live, and to the earth we inhabit.  It has ushered in marvelous advances in human society as well, as the old superstitions which could not be proven have died, like the superiority of man versus woman or one race over another.

In the darkness of night, wanderers

Astrology is the ancient study of the cycles of nature.  Many people who don’t believe in astrology have not imagined what life must have been like before the introduction of electricity.  We are well aware of the cycles of the Sun which cause the seasons, and some of us are aware of the cycles of the Moon because they influence the tides.  But before electricity, the night was darker and if you ventured outside, you noticed these bright objects that wandered across the sky.  At times they would disappear entirely from your night sky; at other times they would seem to join other objects or be swallowed by the Sun completely.

In an age of less entertainment, these objects and their travels occupied a much bigger place in our psyches.  With the discovery in the last 300 years of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, and the advances that have led to the industrial age and now to our information age many of us are less and less aware of the cycles of nature, including the cycles of the planets.

The study of astrology is to take a stand and say, the cycles of nature are still influencing our lives.  And further to say, if I understand these cycles I can live my life in tune with them.  When it’s time to sow, I will know it.  When it’s time to reap, I will know it.  But desire is possibly the most powerful force in the universe and yes, it is free to use as we want.  We don’t have to plant in spring anymore; with greenhouses, heaters, grow lights, fertilizer, and automated watering systems we can plant a crop whenever we want.

To plant with ease, plant within season

What astrology says is, to plant with ease, plant within season.  The planets don’t compel.  As they move through space they mark times of increase and times of decrease.  They plainly show the natural cycles of activity and rest.  And these cycles stamp us at the moment of our birth, some cycles waxing, some cycles waning.  But whether we follow these rhythms is entirely up to us.

There are advantages and disadvantages to each belief system.  If you follow the cycles, you have to admit that we have retained our instinctual selves and our activities are a product of natural cycles, just like everything else on earth.  If you ignore these cycles, this ignorance sets you free to attempt to master your destiny, based on your personal will and desires, and to ignore your connection to and impact on all other things. 

And there seems to be room for all of us, at least so far.  A more Neptune-ruled person will tend to feel connected to the cycles of life.  A more Uranus-ruled person will tend to feel more independent and in control of life.  And some people are an interesting mix of the two, which makes them call an astrologer, but not want to be influenced by what they hear.

Which one are you?  Weigh in by leaving a comment above.

Don’t forget. If you have an astrology-related business question (or a business-related astrology question) send it to me at I’ll answer it in these posts, anonymously of course, and we can all learn from each other’s experiences. I look forward to it! Got a question now? Email it and let’s get started!

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Retracing Your Steps – Retrograde Motion

Hello everyone.

In the last post, I related an anecdote about watching a flight of geese, and how I noticed that retrograde motion is a natural part of life.  There are periods when we’re just meant to slow down, retrace, and take another look.  In this series I want to look at whether we can discern, through the lens of astrology, the purpose of these “do over” times.

Retracing Steps



When a planet goes retrograde it retraces its steps.  Think of it like a backpacker who covered a certain portion of a trail, then turned around and retraced her steps to a point, and then turned around and headed out again on the same trail.  As she backtracks, she is walking the same trail but looking at it from a different direction.  And when she turns around and heads forward again, she will be covering the same ground she hiked the first time.  Then at some point she begins to forge new trail again.

This is how a retrograde planet behaves.  Taking the example of the current Mercury retrograde period, Mercury travelled from 5 degrees of Capricorn to 21 degrees of Capricorn between December 9 and December 26.  It then went retrograde and backtracked to 5 degrees of Capricorn, covering the same ground but in retrograde motion.  On January 15 it will resume direct motion, again covering the same ground until February 4.  After February 4 it steps into new territory.  Over a period of two months Mercury traverses from 5 degrees of Capricorn to 21 degrees of Capricorn three times:  the first pass in forward motion, the second in retrograde motion, and the third pass in forward motion again.


But this is the important point:  even though Mercury has been retracing the same steps, dilly-dallying as the nuns used to say, the other planets have been moving forward for two months.  Just as the season may have changed for our backpacker as she went back and forth on the trail, by the third time Mercury covers the same ground, the environment can be quite different due to the changed position of the rest of the planets. 

Can you think back to December 9 and identify a Mercury-related issue you were grappling with then?  Mercury-related issues are connected to thinking and perception, processing and disseminating information, and communication, commerce, education and transportation. Industries ruled by Mercury are sales, writing, public relations, advertising, publishing, document delivery, and transportation.  See if you can identify a matter you were working on from December 9 to the day after Christmas, and which seems to be delayed now.

In the next post we’ll see if we can identify the purpose for the delay and how to move forward with confidence when the time comes.

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