Archive for category Astro4Business Management Tips

Saturn Retrograde – 10 Tips for Success

Hello, everyone.

As Earth (blue) passes a superior planet, such as Saturn (red), the superior planet will temporarily appear to reverse its motion across the sky.(Source: Wikipedia)

Tonight Saturn begins a 4 ½ month period of retrograde motion.  This period of retrograde motion occurs every year as it is a product of the angle between the Sun, the earth, and the retrograde planet.  Whenever the Sun approaches the opposite sign as the planet, the planet appears to move backwards against the backdrop of the stars.  Fully 1/3 of the year is spent with Saturn in retrograde motion.

The Face of Saturn

Saturn represents the intensity of one’s ambition, the inner pressure to become or accomplish something.  Saturn also indicates the Achilles heel, the mind-set in which doubt and fear or an overly conservative attitude works against success.  When Saturn is strong in a businessperson’s chart, they run a tight ship with an authoritarian management style and excellent administrative abilities.

In business, Saturn describes systems and procedures, controls and policies.  It can also indicate outside rules and regulations such as tax and housing codes and the general level of difficulty the business will experience with outside authorities.  It rules audits and reporting, bureaucracy and bylaws.  It also shows the area where good hard work and persistence will pay off and where inner and outer limitations can spark real growth and accomplishment.

Saturn Retrograde

When Saturn is retrograde we have the opportunity to examine whether our standard modes of operation truly spring from our own values, or have been imposed upon us by authority figures or societal norms.  It’s a time when our regular structures of support and stability may be withdrawn and we have to rely upon our own creativity and self-discipline to achieve our goals.

Saturn becomes less direct and overt when in retrograde motion which can relieve stress and struggle.  Yet as business managers we may see that our authority becomes undermined as others break free from outer rules and regulations too.

10 Tips for 4 ½ Months

Here are 10 tips to get the most out of Saturn retrograde:

  1. If you run into difficulties with authority figures, examine your actions from another point of view.  Have you given your power over to another authority?  Are you blaming something or someone external when you need to bring a more mature attitude to the situation?
  2. This is a great time to examine historical practices to see if they still add value.  Undertake a study of some aspect of your processes and procedures to bring new efficiency to a stale operation.
  3. Your normal sense of lock-in weakens during Saturn retrograde.  Often we are so habituated to the way we think about a problem that potential solutions are not even considered.  Explore options you would normally consider too risky.
  4. Saturn retrograde is a great time to undertake a major restructuring effort.  Resistance to change is lowered during this time.
  5. You may be thwarted in your role as an authority figure in your business during Saturn retrograde.  If so, share authority, be willing to listen, and promote those who act with good judgment and teamwork.  Expose others to the reality of your business situation and demand that they step up into more responsibility.
  6. Play with improvisation.  You might even bring in an expert to lead your management team through an improvisation workshop to practice creativity, collaboration and innovation.  Be willing to entertain “business as not-usual.”
  7. With Saturn in the back seat, your timing may falter if you adhere to too rigid schedules.  Provide room in your meetings and to-do lists for the unexpected.
  8. List your major responsibilities, both in your business and in your personal life, and examine if they are in balance.  This is a great time to bring a sense of proportion back to your activities.
  9. Your normal support staff or mentors may falter.  You may need to support others more or rely upon your own creativity and self-discipline to get the job done.  This is a great opportunity to develop support for your supporters.

10.  If there is a shift in a business alliance, ask yourself, “How can I exploit this change as an opportunity for my organization?”  More profitable alliances are most likely waiting in the wings.

And a Reminder

Remember, Saturn rules common sense and this quality may be lacking while Saturn is retrograde.  Be more vigilant than usual as you weigh your options and potential projects.  Your practical wisdom is there; you just need to take more time to access it.  Have fun, but no off-the-cuff decisions, please!

To explore more about Saturn and its current passage through Libra, see these posts:

Welcome to Saturn in Libra

Saturn in Libra – the Letter of the Law

Welcome (Again) to Saturn in Libra


To read more about retrograde motion, see these links:

Elegant Stillness

Retracing Your Steps – Retrograde Motion

What did you miss?


Have you seen my new blog? Discussing all things astrological, for anyone interested in real-life astrology, check out Ellen Longo’s Astrology Blog.

Do you have a question 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 month, see the Astro4Business Month Ahead – January 2011

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

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.

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Astro4Business Today – June 10

Source:Wikimedia Commons

Good Day!

Today is all about the planet Mercury, and the sign it rules, Gemini.  Both Mercury and the Moon enter Gemini today, and form aspects with Jupiter and Uranus in Aries that support the flow of information and insight.

In the early part of the day (EDT), when the Moon is still in Taurus, there is sweetness in the air as the Moon forms an harmonious aspect with Venus in Cancer.  This is a good time to have that conversation with an employee or colleague that you may have been avoiding.  The Moon also makes an easeful aspect with Saturn which will aid you in remaining constructive in your feedback.  This aspect will also help the recipient respect your practical advice and point of view.

When Mercury and the Moon move into Gemini, conversation and networking become the order of the day.  Immerse yourself in knowledge and data, and the more sources the better:  books, magazines, news, email, social media, and face-to-face all yield important clues about where your business is heading and the steps to take to get there.

Sometimes this much Gemini energy can cause us to lose our focus or get lost in details.  Not today.  With that beneficial aspect with Jupiter and Uranus you’ll be able to take in the big picture along with the details to support it.  That’s not to say others won’t think you’re wasting your time.  There may be a conflict because someone responding to Mars in Virgo, which urges us to pursue a practical plan of action, may be impatient with you taking small bites from here and there.  That’s OK.  When the time for action comes, you’ll be well-armed with everything you pick up today.  And if someone wants to buckle down and categorize it, catalogue it, and preserve it for later, that’s good too.

Since the only thing Gemini likes better than a meeting is one that ends quickly, this seems like a good day to end with this Harvard Business Review Management Tip, “A Framework for Shorter, Better Meetings,” adapted from an article by Anthony Tjan.

“Tear up your complicated meeting agenda. Even large meetings with multiple objectives really only have three purposes: to inform, to seek input, and to ask for approval. Create meeting agendas using this simple three-purpose meeting rule. Start by identifying the things on which you need to bring people up to speed. Ask for input on any items requiring discussion. Then request approval to move forward with any outstanding issues, and outline next steps. This will not only create a more simple and understandable agenda, but will help keep meetings focused and short.”

Have an interesting day!

To explore this week’s Jupiter Uranus conjunction, see these links:

Astro4Business Week – June 7 – 13, Uranus Jupiter Conjunction

Astro4Business Today – June 8, Earth and Fire

A4B Today – June 9 Anticipation and Mountain Laurel

To explore Mars’ ingress into Virgo, see Astro4Business Today – June 7, Mars enters Virgo

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

For more info on the planets influencing today, see

The Moon







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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Ellen’s Guest Post on

Hey, everyone.

Check out my guest blog on Pemo Theodore’s site.  This link will take you to it.

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Flaws and Perfection – Handling the Saturn/Uranus Opposition

Hello, everyone. 

An Harvard Business Review Management Tip got me thinking about flaws and handicaps in our businesses. 

Now that Saturn has returned to Virgo through its retrograde motion, we may become more aware of what isn’t working in our businesses.  Virgo can take an exacting, unemotional look at situations and circumstances and Saturn’s tendency is to see the glass half empty:  what isn’t working rather than what is. 

Imperfections and aspirations 

We’d all like to be perfect.  We’d all like to have only strengths and not weaknesses, if for no other reason than to contribute the very best to society.  Especially now, with the approaching opposition between Uranus and Saturn we are probably painfully aware of our imperfections (Saturn in Virgo) and our aspiration for perfection (Uranus in Pisces).  Another way of saying this is we may feel torn between working the way we have in the past with all our imperfections (Saturn in Virgo) or breaking into a new pattern that we think will insure a more perfect future (Uranus in Pisces). 

The HBR management tip was along the lines of “turn your flaws into your unique distinguishing feature.”  It cited a hotel in India without AC or room service, plus mosquitoes in the bargain, which they successfully marketed as an “eco-hotel.”  Now there was a lot of flak in the comments of the original article about dishonestly covering up your weaknesses and passing them off as strengths.  This is not what I’m asking you to look at. 

Is it really a flaw? 

I’m saying, if there are flaws, handicaps, shortages you just can’t get around, look for ways these can become a unique feature about you and your business.   Or at least ask the question:  are these really flaws?   One person’s too narrow focus may be another person’s ability to delve deeply into a topic.  One person’s scattered attention could be another’s ability to see all sides of an issue.  And some customers may want to pay for the boutique or deluxe experience; others may prefer a simple, low-cost alternative. 

During an opposition of any two planets, we stand right in the middle of two energies pulling us in opposite directions.  But this middle point is the still point, the point of balance.  Now is the time to look to Saturn in Virgo to tell you what needs improvement, and to Uranus in Pisces to tell you how that liability can be an asset. 

The point of balance 

I’ll tell you a personal example.  I’m writing this from outside of London where I’m nannying my grandson for three weeks.  This suits Saturn in Virgo completely.  Part of me is perfectly happy serving my son and daughter-in-law and caring for a toddler, with his scheduled waking, eating, sleeping, and outdoor play. And more than these is the feeling of the continuity of service from my son to my grandson, a wonderfully affirming sense of grandmothering my grandson in the same way I mothered my son.  

And yet these activities, as much as I love them, take time from writing this blog on astrology for business.  With my mind so focused on family life, it’s hard for me to settle into a business frame of reference.  This little family is my connection with my past; my writing is my stepping stone to my future. 

But if I reach for the still point my perception changes.  I can see that this little family is my future too, and that authentic writing is built on every experience of the past, whether there is a direct connection to business or not.  I have the sense that I am standing at the point of intersection between the past and the future, the exact balance of Saturn and Uranus.  I guess you would call it the present.  

Do you perceive a flaw, a shortfall, a handicap, a shortage?  Can you change your perception so you see it as part of your business future?  Use these last couple of months of Saturn in Virgo to root out your feelings of imperfection and let Uranus in Pisces show you a potential that includes the past, the present and the future, the whole you. 

For posts related to this topic, see the categories on the right – “Saturn in Virgo” and “Uranus in Pisces”. For the basics see these:

Astro4Business Basics – Saturn
Uranus – An Introduction

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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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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Turn business challenges into core values – like Zappos!

Hello, everyone.

Today I was packing up a box to return to Zappos, the online retail shoe store, when I noticed on the side of the box “Be Humble:  Core Value #10”.  This intrigued me so I went to their website where their 10 Core Values are listed.

Zappos Headquarters

Zappos Headquarters

I decided to do a little study of their business chart.  I thought I could pick up some good ideas for business terms that relate to various astrological aspects by comparing the text of their core value statements to their chart.

Turning obstacles into values

It was a very surprising study and the unexpected upshot is this:  their company core values, rather than reflecting the strengths in their business chart, seem to be designed to overcome multiple obstacles to success in the chart.

I’ll give you a few examples: 

  • Core Value #2 is “Embrace and Drive Change”.  This is a fairly common business value.  But Zappos has several aspects that resist change, even though the placement of their Moon in Cancer indicates constant change in the company.  But with the Sun in Capricorn and an influential Saturn, there is comfort in tradition and the status quo:  embracing constant change would be a struggle.  So they made it into a core value. 
  • Another core value is “Create Fun and a Little Weirdness”.  Now this is a great value and those of us with a lot of Fire or Air, or maybe a strong Uranus or Neptune influence, would love this.  But for Zappos, Venus, the planet of fun, is in Capricorn, very traditional and certainly not weird; the Sun is in Capricorn, so company leadership tends to be very serious and focused on success.  They add the caveat in the text, “We’re not looking for crazy or extreme weirdness though.”  Good qualification and one that expresses the Capricorn energy perfectly.  So again, very serious and traditional creates a core value of fun and weirdness. 
  • There are many, many examples like these.  I’ll just cite one more.  One of their core values is, “Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded.”  Their text says, “at Zappos, we think it’s important for people and the company as a whole to be bold and daring (but not reckless).”   You can feel them trying to address that conservatism that comes with the planets in Capricorn and the Moon in Cancer.  The chart also has Mars in Libra, in its weakest position for boldness, and Mars is opposed by Saturn in Aries, which can hold back and even put out the fire of adventurous spirit.  Again, they’ve taken an inherent weakness and turned it into a core value.

Good job, Zappos

As a whole, each one of Zappos core values addresses a very difficult configuration in their chart.  Now I’m not criticizing this at all.  They have created their core values around what they are striving to become. I think there is a very valuable lesson in this for all of us. 

I’m always looking for ways to advise clients around the obstacles in their natal or business chart.  No chart is free of challenges.  And I’ve been particularly concerned about my clients who are starting their businesses this year, under the Saturn/Pluto* square.  But what Zappos has done can be an inspiration to all of us.

If we can identify the challenges that can potentially halt our business success, with clarity and honesty, or with a little discriminating hindsight, we can craft business statements that address and will eventually overcome these difficulties.  Like affirmations, keeping these statements at the forefront of our minds and our business culture has the potential to completely transform them over time.

Who wouldn’t want to be as successful as Zappos?  Let’s take a lesson from them and craft some core values for ourselves.  Not about what we understand and do well, but addressing our honest challenges instead.

Thank you, Zappos!

*(For more on the current Saturn/Pluto Square, see the category at the right.)

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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Management Tip – Growth or Control?

Hello everyone.

Today’s tip from the Harvard Business Review (HBR) Management Tip of the Day caught my eye because it highlights some of the conflicting planetary configurations we are experiencing in our business lives these days.

The HBR Tip is:  Trying to Grow?  Give up Control

Whenever I see “grow” and “control” in the same line I think of Jupiter (growth and expansion) and Saturn (control).

The conflict, astrologically speaking

Saturn is exalted in its current sign Libra, which means it functions very well and brings its best face to the table.  Jupiter is the ancient ruler of its current sign Pisces, which means it is very comfortable in that sign and can further its aims unimpeded.  These two titans are each powerful these days.  But Libra and Pisces couldn’t be more different, astrologically speaking, which brings issues of growth and control into conflict in our businesses these days.

Saturn in Libra knows that in theory, we should share responsibility with others.  But when Saturn shares, one hand is open and one hand is firmly closed on the reins.  This is the leader who believes in empowering employees or subcontractors but then micromanages them every step of the way.  This leader fears the mistakes that inevitably happen when you allow others to make decisions.  And in today’s business environment, mistakes will happen no matter who is making the decisions; this year will be particularly full of conflict.  There’s no way we’ll get through it without mistakes.

Jupiter in Pisces has full faith in people and wants to push decision-making down or out to the periphery.  This leader wants everyone and everything to grow and for people to create environments to cultivate their own growth.  Jupiter in Pisces relies upon intuition, imagination, and fantasy and assumes that no matter what happens everything will turn out OK.

So here we have the conflict.  Saturn in Libra wants to believe in sharing but is fearful of the consequences if things get out of control.  Jupiter in Pisces wants to live in the fantasy that everyone is trustworthy and has your business interests at heart.  And even if you don’t have employees, you may recognize a similar vacillation happening in yourself these days.

Three tips

So the HBR tip says, if you want to grow, give up control.  That’s like saying, if you want Jupiter, give up Saturn.  Let’s see how we can take their recommendation, but satisfy both Saturn’s need to control and Jupiter’s need to grow.  HBR gives three tips:

  1. Push decision making down.  This addresses the familiar situation where all decision-making rests in the owner or leader resulting in a bottleneck of frustration.  This can affect your customers, your employees, and your colleagues.  Summon that Jupiter faith in others and, taking small steps, hand over a few key decisions to the lowest level possible.  Once your confidence grows, delegate larger and larger decisions.
  2. Accept that mistakes will happen.  Now here is where it gets tough, because especially in a very small business, mistakes can impact your sales and reputation for long time.  This is where some Saturnian “rules of engagement” come in handy.  Make sure, when handing out responsibility, that your expectations are very clear, and that your employee or sub-contractor has the tools they need and a clear context for the situation.  And have a contingency plan in place so you can react quickly if something goes wrong. 
  3. Build your bench.  I love this one.  When you first begin to delegate decision-making, you will have to invest a lot more time than if you just make the decisions yourself.  But if you are willing to invest in your employees in this way, over time they will make better and better decisions.  They will be happier and more productive and you will have more time to handle other facets of your business, like growth and profitability.

How well do you delegate?  Let us know in the comments section.  And if you’re the sole person in your business, what “growth versus control” issues do you encounter?

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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