Archive for category Businesses in the news

Cisco Systems Update: Uranus in Aries

Hello everyone.

Some time ago I wrote an article in this blog about Cisco Systems.  I thought Cisco had a really interesting business model and also was an excellent example of a management structure that reflected Uranus in Pisces.  Here’s the link in case you want to revisit the article: Uranus in Pisces – Cisco Systems.  I also wrote that we would watch Cisco Systems as Uranus headed into Aries and see how they would weather that transition.

Today I read on Rosabeth Moss Kanter’s excellent Harvard Business Review blog that Cisco has restructured its operations due in part to two consecutive quarters of disappointing results.  The bureaucracy inherent in their former management structure had rendered them unable to take advantage of some opportunities, causing them to lose ground to competitors.

During the last decade, Cisco Systems instituted an operating structure truly in line with Uranus in Pisces. In order to stimulate innovation they developed an intricate system of councils and boards, some of which functioned without a formal leader.  As I mentioned in my former piece, while this strategy actually rescued their business by capturing cross-functional ideas and insights, there have also been drawbacks.  Fully a fifth of Cisco’s senior executives have left the company, unable to thrive in this kind of flat and complex management structure.

Uranus in Aries is a very different energy than Uranus in Pisces.  The committee/matrix structure that was effective with Uranus in Pisces will no longer work with Uranus in Aries.  Under this transit, business innovation will come through the efforts of the lone-wolf, the entrepreneurial-minded contributor, rather than the holistic, cross-functional team.

Trajan's Column (Roman Soldiers Building a Fortress) (Source:Wikipedia)

One of the commenters on Moss Kantor’s blog perceptively states that maybe we shouldn’t see Cisco’s reorganization in terms of failure, but rather simply change and evolution.  He lauds Cisco for recognizing the need to change and evolve and I agree.  Whenever there is such a massive planetary movement as Uranus passing from the very last sign of the zodiac, the sign of complete immersion in complexity, to the very first sign in the zodiac, the sign of simplicity and individual action, there is going to have to be a reworking of structures throughout society.  As Cisco’s chief executive, John Chambers, said, “It’s time to simplify the way we execute our strategy.”   It has nothing to do with failure; it has to do with natural processes –as natural as the earth transitioning from winter to spring.

This is simply where we are now.  As leaders and managers we should take advantage of this new energy and reform our operations.  We should give more credibility to individual contributors, agitators, spirited, independent-minded employees, people whose self-sufficiency sometimes makes it look like they’re not team players.  These are the people that ingenuity will flow through with Uranus in Aries.

No matter how collaboratively we’re inclined to run our business operations, we have to allow room for individual contributors at this time.  Some people thrive in environments of intense cooperation; others thrive in competition.  Some love to be immersed in a borderless environment while others do their best work when they’re left alone to pursue their own creative ideas.  Watch for this now.  It’s much more likely now that the rebel is the one who is truly inventive, channeling defiant Uranus in Aries and bringing real progress to our businesses.

To read more about Uranus in Aries, see

Uranus Flashes through 2011

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.

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.

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Looking Ahead to Jupiter in Aries

Hello everyone.

Jupiter, the planet of enthusiasm, expansion, treaties, politics, and law, will end its long sojourn in Pisces on Saturday and enter the sign Aries.  Let’s take a look at Jupiter in Aries and discover how best to use the next five months to capitalize on the opportunities it will surely bring.

As I was listening to NPR this morning I heard a story about how American Airlines is withdrawing from its participation in sites such as Orbitz and Expedia.  Since Jupiter rules the airline industry and all things related to travel my ears perked up.

American Airlines and Jupiter in Aries

Zeus (Jupiter) battling the Typhon. 1811 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The story strikes me as a perfect example of Jupiter moving from Pisces into Aries.  Pisces is a sign that favors unification and lack of differentiation; Aries is a sign that singles out the aggressive, warrior spirit.  American Airlines specifically cited that their reason to differentiate their product was to show the public what is unique about their company.  They no longer want to be viewed as one more flying bus, but as a boutique service that grants their customers access to various exclusive options. These unique options are not apparent when customers use middleman sites like Orbitz.

American Airlines said they want to connect directly to the customer rather than through another entity.  This move is expected to foreshadow a much more fragmented industry, with each player eventually withdrawing from the consolidated sites and approaching customers more directly.

Does this sound like Jupiter in Aries?  You bet.  This short story demonstrates some of the key features of Jupiter in Aries for business:

  • Consolidated efforts characterized Jupiter in Pisces.  In Aries, opportunities will be one-on-one; may the best person win!
  • There will be increasing product differentiation.  Businesses with unique or instant qualities will garner opportunities.  Stressing similarities was oh, so, Pisces.
  • Customers will expect individual contact rather than being treated as a herd.
  • Direct customer contact will become more important than relying on middlemen.
  • Industries will fragment, each vying to communicate the unique value of their product.

The Square and more Jupiter in Aries

Another story caught my ear as a foreshadow to Jupiter in Aries.  This story featured the “Square”, which allows micro-businesses to accept credit card transactions through a mobile phone, then you can also seamlessly operate two separate WhatsApp accounts on one phone, look no further than to see how that’s done. This handy resource not only provides virtual numbers, but also shares a detailed guide on how to effortlessly set up and manage both numbers..  On the spot credit card payments allow small business owners to forego the usual expenses of billing and collecting, allows the customer to pay immediately, and the fee for the service is less than most common credit card processing charges.  The two men featured in the story were construction workers who had lost their jobs and were running a lawn maintenance business.

What are the marks of Jupiter in Aries in this story?

  • Micro-businesses and small businesses will increase in number as large conglomerates begin to break into smaller companies and people continue to build businesses in lieu of employment.  (This is also a feature of the coming Uranus in Aries transit.)
  • As the number of micro and small businesses increases, there will be an increased demand for products and services to help them run their businesses.
  • On the spot, cut to the chase transactions will become common as the desire to do more, quickly, emerges as a response to the continued weakness in the economy.
  • Back offices will become dismantled as devices become available which allow overhead to be reduced.

Aries, the “first” sign

These two simple stories tell so much.  Aries is a fundamentally aggressive mind-set, whether in the form of the lone-wolf entrepreneur or the established global company.  It brings a desire to take on the competition, expand into new territory, and develop new markets.  Aries is challenged and excited by a little risk, and the Jupiter in us loves an adventure.  These two together bring to mind “frontier leadership,” a term I use to describe the spirit of bold expedition into unknown lines of business.  And these two don’t mind “ramming” things through either; they’re certain a good bump in the right direction is just what someone may need to see the light.

Competition will feature strongly over the next five months, and this competition could be directed against others or against the limits you’ve reached in the past.  There’s a lack of restraint to Jupiter in Aries, some may say a foolishness, which endeavors against all odds to win.  There is a feeling of wanting it all and wanting no one to stand in the way.  And this independent spirit has led to amazing inventions and innovations in the past:  Jupiter in Aries witnessed the first electrical telegram, the first diplomatic agreement between China and the U.S., the First Baptist Church, and the first solo, non-stop, transatlantic flight.  In these examples you can see Jupiter acting through the sign of new beginnings.

In fact “first” is a good word to contemplate.  Aries is the first sign of the zodiac and Jupiter’s ingress on Saturday marks the beginning of a new twelve year Jupiter cycle.  Jupiter likes to think big!  Can you think about the next twelve years and being “first” in some aspect of your industry?  Over the next five months, as Jupiter wanders through Aries, it’s time to take a new plunge.  Can you look at the bulleted points above and find something that resonates for your business?


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 this week, see


Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.

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Astro4Business Weekly Forecast – September 13

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

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

Good day, and welcome to a really interesting week.  In this post I’ll give you an overview of the week as a whole, and then in the daily blog we’ll go into each of these topics more thoroughly.  There’s not a lot going on but what is going on is a lot!

Overall, we’ve got the waxing Moon and the general energy of growth and reaching for the potential we recognized at the New Moon last Wednesday.  We also begin the week with Mercury standing still (at least it looks that way to us) and then resuming direct motion.  Both of these indicate that “the time to hesitate is through.”


Then we’ve got a whole lot of Pluto/Scorpio energy in the mix this week.  This new emotional tenor began last week when Venus entered Scorpio and we can see a perfect example of this influence in the big blow-up between HP and Oracle.  In case you missed it, in brief it is a story of two long-time collaborators and competitors in conflict over confidential trade secrets.  It includes a spicy understory with a sexual harassment suit, intertwined technologies, a highly public firing, a shareholder suit, and an inappropriate personal relationship between a Wall Street darling company president and a former actress.  Is that enough Scorpio for you?  If there is time, I’ll unpack this story for you in astrological terms over the next couple of weeks.  It’s a great case study of the impact of Scorpio in business.

This week there is likely to be more of the same, both in the public sphere and within our own businesses, with the planet Pluto resuming direct motion.  Pluto has been in retrograde motion since April 6 and resumes direct motion on Monday.  When a planet becomes still in the sky just before changing directions, its power is said to be increased.  Since Pluto represents the collective survival instinct and the willingness to annihilate anything that threatens that survival, we can expect some very intense illustrations of this energy this week.

And to throw fuel on the fire, Mars, which represents our personal instinct for survival and conquest also enters the sign Scorpio this week.  Mars is the ancient ruler of Scorpio and is very strong and comfortable in that sign, so one more dose of Scorpio energy!


Toward the end of the week we encounter the second of a series of three Jupiter/Uranus conjunctions, which is an equally powerful though not so confrontive configuration.  Jupiter represents expansion and Uranus represents innovation, but they are both in retrograde motion and have moved back into the prior sign of Pisces.  This could be an extremely creative time of seeding the next breakthrough in your business and we’ll certainly speak more about this later in the week.

More Mars/Pluto/Scorpio

There’s no respite over next weekend either.  On Saturday, Mars and Pluto are in harmonious aspect, and with these two in harmony, the rest of us had better run!  It reminds me of the bully and his sidekick in The Christmas Story, a movie I love and watch at least once each year at the holidays.  We may feel like a helpless child when up against these two as allies, and again we’ll unpack this more during the week.

And then on Sunday, the Sun and Neptune reach a turning point in Neptune’s retrograde cycle.  This point indicates a need to adjust to unseen powers or the sacrifice of a cherished goal.

So, that’s enough, right?  A lot of this will be acted out on the bigger stage but some of it will no doubt intersect with our own lives.  Try to be an observer of the energies.  I have a feeling we will all learn something important as this story unfolds.

Be sure to check back in each day as we investigate this interesting time.

Do you have a business question for me? 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 – September 2010

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

The Sun

The Moon








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Google throws the Gauntlet

Hello, everyone.

Several weeks ago I wrote a post entitled “Google and China – Heading for a Divorce?”  In that post I compared the astrology charts of the two giants to examine the underlying factors in the relationship.  I was curious as to what astrology could reveal about the long-term prognosis for a continuing partnership.

It looked good.  My conclusion in that post was that “there are many benefits to both parties and strong Saturn connections that lead to permanence.  It depends on how they handle this juncture, though.  If they let it devolve into a battleground, they can be formidable opponents.”

The Gauntlet is thrown

Yesterday, Google threw down the gauntlet.  Quoting from their official blog:  

“Earlier today we stopped censoring our search services—Google Search, Google News, and Google Images—on Users visiting are now being redirected to, where we are offering uncensored search in simplified Chinese, specifically designed for users in mainland China and delivered via our servers in Hong Kong. Users in Hong Kong will continue to receive their existing uncensored, traditional Chinese service, also from”

Of course the People’s Republic of China (PRC) responded, defending its internet censorship laws and playing down any effect this move may have on China-U.S. diplomatic relations.

What is happening astrologically? 

Both Google and the PRC are experiencing a major Neptune transit and in each case it is virtually the only major activity in their respective charts during 2010.  Neptune crises bring to a business (and a country) trends that sweep over the entity and cause it to lose its footing.  Lines of business dissolve, not in response to competition or new technology, but because of a sea change in consciousness of the public. 

In Google’s case, Neptune is opposing its natal Venus, which rules social instincts, long-term professional relationships, public relations, markets, and money.  In PRC’s case, Neptune is squaring the highest point in the chart, the Midheaven, which indicates the country’s reputation on the world stage, and their growing position as a major player in the world markets, “too big to ignore.”

Both parties confused

Often Neptune transits indicate that a company’s leadership is confused about exactly how to address the crisis.  A move of Google’s search functions to Hong Kong seems more like a symbolic statement than a solution.  The Chinese government has already indicated it will assert its filtering functions to keep banned information from entering China.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said that no harm has been done to China’s image, but this indicates the delusion that is so common during a Neptune transit.  Both internally and externally, China has again made it clear to the world that they don’t trust the individuals of the Republic to handle uncensored information in a way that is supportive to the state.  In fact, China’s censorship policies have increased in quality and scope over the last few years as it’s opened its markets to foreign investment. 

The impact of Neptune in Aquarius is sweeping through the entire world and China is not immune.  This influence represents a global desire to connect with each other on equal footing through Aquarian means:  electronics, virtual space, airwaves, social media, and innovation.  These developing social media serve an essential role in the ongoing development of our world and China won’t escape it for long. 

We’ll keep watching Google and the People’s Republic in their not-too-elegant dance.  I still think the compatibility indicated in their charts will pull them through this crisis, once all the dramatics simmer down.  But both need to take the lesson of Neptune, which is to focus on what is the same rather than what is different, and to listen for underlying currents rather than what is apparent on the surface.   Their relationship has benefits for each other and the world.

For further insight on Google and China, see this post:
Google and China – Heading for a Divorce?
To deeply explore Neptune in Aquarius for business, see the sidebar at the right, or get started with these posts:
Neptune in Aquarius – Let’s Get Connected!
Neptune in Aquarius – Free

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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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Google and China – heading for a divorce?

People's Republic of ChinaGoogle

Hello, everyone.

I’ve been on a fascinating adventure today.  It started with an email from a friend urging me to support Google in their January 12 declaration about reviewing their business operations in China.  Google had discovered huge security breaches of Chinese origin on their computers, tied to surveillance of Chinese human rights activists.  In Google’s post. A New Approach to China:

These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered–combined with the attempts over the past year to further limit free speech on the web–have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China. We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down, and potentially our offices in China.

Google has been operating in China since January 2006, submitting to censorship requirements from the Chinese government.  Google could lose $600 million in revenue per year by leaving the Chinese market.

When a story really peaks my interest I like to look at the astrological charts involved to see if there is more to the story.

Google’s date of incorporation is a matter of public record and easily available on the web.  The inception of the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) is also available.  So I constructed both charts in my astrology software, Solar Fire.

How do they really get along?

Just for fun I ran a synastry analysis between Google and PRC and this is when it really got interesting.  Synastry compares two horoscopes and outlines the strengths and weaknesses in a relationship based on the positions of the planets and how well the charts interrelate with each other. 

Below are excerpts from the report from Solar Fire.  They are really revealing about Google and PRC, and as you read, think about whether you think there will truly be a split between them.  I have edited some of the statements to take out text that doesn’t apply to the business realm.  Other than my edits, these comments come straight from the program.

Google’s Sun is conjunct PRC’s Saturn

  • This combination indicates that Google and PRC both view thier association seriously and are committed to it.
  • As the relationship develops PRC feels threatened by the force of Google’s presence and takes a superior attitude in defense.  As a result Google feels threatened, disliking the authoritarian side of PRC.
  • It is vital that both Google and PRC work at developing a stable basis for communication and understanding in this relationship.

Google’s Mars is sextile PRC’s Sun

  • This combination is a positive one for a working partnership that calls for concentrated effort on a joint project.
  • There’s never a dull moment; they love and fight with energy.  They are hard working and energetic, achieving more together than they can on their own.
  • PRC feels that Google provides the impetus and drive to help PRC achieve its full potential.
  • Google is excited by PRC’s power and is inspired in its ambitions.

Google’s Jupiter is trine PRC’s Venus

  • An ideal combination for a rewarding relationship.
  • Together they enjoy good fortune.
  • PRC is enchanted by Google’s knowledge, experiencing a sense of being led into new and exciting territory.

Google’s Jupiter is sextile PRC’s Jupiter

  • A bountiful relationship, shining good fortune.
  • PRC and Google share common goals and the impetus to explore these goals together, including adventures into other lands.

Google’s Saturn is square PRC’s Moon

  • Both can suffer from discontent and insecurity within this union.
  • Google may feel that its attempts at diplomacy are misunderstood and met with over-reaction from PRC.
  • Much work needs to be done to understand each other.
  • Both are committed to resolve difficulties; therefore there is a strong possibility of staying in this relationship on a long-term basis and reap the rewards of a stable and secure union.

Google’s Uranus is trine PRC’s Sun

  • The relationship brings something new and original to PRC and Google.
  • The relationship may run a somewhat erratic or unorthodox course.
  • Google helps PRC see life in a new and different manner, freeing PRC from past inhibitions.
  • Together PRC and Google may explore something unusual, such as new technology, metaphysics, science, electronics, and humanitarian or environmental concerns.

Google’s Pluto is sextile PRC’s Sun

  • A relationship which is life-changing; it is as if they are both compelled to relate.
  • Power and wealth may result from this relationship.
  • They may become embroiled in a struggle for dominance, resembling a battleground from which neither emerges triumphant.
  • They can be either intensely loyal friends or formidable opponents.
  • Google is a powerful force in this union.

Googles’ Pluto is sextile PRC’s Moon

  • PRC is likely to feel transformed by Google.
  • It’s possible that Google has changed the way PRC feels about the world, making the country conscious of things that have been bubbling under the surface for a long time.
  • Life is not the same for PRC once it encounters Google.
  • This is indeed a passionate union.


Don’t you love it?

So, what do you think?  Will there be a divorce?  I would say no; there are too many benefits to both parties and strong Saturn connections that lead to permanence.  It depends on how they handle this juncture, though.  If they let it devolve into a battleground, they can be “formidable opponents”.  It will be intriguing to watch this unfold over the next few months.

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Signs of our Times: Energyville

Wind PowerHello, everyone.

Today I’m starting a new feature in Astro4Business Intersections.  I haven’t found the perfect name for it yet, but something like, Signs of our Times.  I frequently hear or see things that are perfect examples of some current astrological configuration.  If there is a compelling and long-term transit in the sky we should see it reflected in every part of society, and we do.  In advertising, theater, music, politics, education and every other aspect of life there are numerous examples that express the present time.  Rather than rely on wisdom from Chaldean or Medieval times, we can learn from current astrological examples.

I think this will have important business applications, too.  If we can recognize and really understand the times we live in, we can take advantage of this knowledge to gear our products and services toward these times.  It will also be interesting to begin to sight a major change in the sky in advance through the changes we observe in society around us.  I hope you enjoy this feature and that it helps you think about the current times and how we can best interact with them.

Energyville, from Chevron

Have you seen the ad on “Energyville, from Chevron?”  Billed as “An energy game developed by The Economist Group”, Energyville is an online game that stimulates and educates about how to meet the energy demands of a hypothetical city.  I usually cast a pretty cynical eye at advertising; I especially notice which heartstrings the company is attempting to pull.  But this advertisement and online game is an interesting example of the current Uranus transit through Pisces.

A tagline in the ad is “put your ideas to work”.  This is the realm of Uranus, the realm of ideas, innovation, and inventiveness.  This ad is full of text with no supporting photos of humans, animals, or other emotional content.  This is Uranus, too, the cold, rational process that searches for Truth rather than emotional connection.

Pisces is also apparent.  First of all, Pisces rules liquids such as oil and it generally rules the common needs of society as a whole, such as the need for a source of energy.  Pisces also rules the mature and transitional stage of the business life cycle, which is the stage all of the established energy companies are experiencing now.  In the mature stage of the business life cycle, the peak has passed and the company or industry has two choices:  innovate or terminate.

Uranus in Pisces Innovation

In a prior post we reviewed how Cisco Systems was using Uranus in Pisces type innovation through diversification, committee leadership, global connection, and terminating their internal hierarchies.  Now we’ve got Chevron using another type of Uranus in Pisces type innovation:  inviting all of us to help solve the energy problem through an online game.  In other words, they are attempting to make their mature stage business problem into our problem.  Of course, energy is our problem so I think it’s a brilliant marketing strategy that they are at least attempting to look like they are involving all of us in the solution.

And fundamentally, the approach is valid.  If everyone’s involved, if everyone’s thinking, who knows where the most brilliant solution will come from.  Uranus works in the group mind, often building a spectacular breakthrough simultaneously through many minds at once.  And perhaps making a game of it helps to bring the freshness and spontaneity that provides the ground for true breakthrough in a way that fear of scarcity and guilt about overuse do not.

Rational Uranus.  We’re all in this global village together Pisces.  If you go to the site you can play the game yourself.  There is a feature at the top of the game that shows how many barrels of oil are being consumed in the time you are playing the game.  Now that’s something that does pull at the heartstrings.

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Oprah Winfrey – an Astro4Business Profile

Hello, everyone.

The recent news about Oprah Winfrey cancelling her daytime talk show in 2011 after twenty-five years started me thinking about Oprah.  Certainly one of the most successful businesspeople of our time, I thought I would examine her chart from the point of view of business.  Oprah’s early childhood challenges are well-known and well-represented in her astrology chart, and her personal charisma and creativity is also worthy of analysis, but since this is a business blog, let’s look at what her chart tells us about her as a business woman.  Maybe we’ll learn something we can use!

Profitable Relationships

You may be thinking, where does all her good fortune come from?  In her chart it is clearly shown in two ways.  First, Oprah was born with the Sun and Venus exactly together in the sign of the humanitarian, Aquarius.  This means that her basic drives and leadership style (Sun) are merged with her social instincts (Venus).  This translates into a business style in which she is happy to work with colleagues and employees and to maintain long-term professional relationships.  We can see this in her employee turnover rate of 10-15% and her top executive team average tenure of eleven years.  This ability to relate personally to her team lends stability to her business organization and allows her freedom for her creative and philanthropic work.

With the Sun in Aquarius, her leadership style is decentralized and collaborative.  She encourages input from her colleagues and staff and makes decisions by consensus.  And with Venus in Aquarius she is concerned about the happiness and well-being of her staff and associates.

Winfrey chartThe Sun/Venus conjunction also contributes to extremely abundant financial outcomes.  She established Harpo Productions at age 32, having recognized the potential to bring to market a commodity (Venus) based on her own identity (Sun).  Since 1986, Harpo Productions has grown to 400 employees from the original 8. 

Generosity and Opportunity

Oprah also has Jupiter, the planet of generosity, opportunity, and benevolence, at the top of her chart, in the sector of public recognition and public acclaim.  This is an extremely fortunate position – it’s like a guardian angel sits above her and shines its light on her life.  It provides very public opportunities for communicating, learning, and teaching.  This position of Jupiter is why she is known for her wisdom and trusted for her judgment.

With this Jupiter in the sign Gemini reigning at the top of her chart, she can capitalize on her multiple talents by taking her business in many directions.  There has been television, film, magazines, radio, writing, book publishing, online ventures, and most recently her own cable network,  “OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network”.  Jupiter does everything LARGE and has a penchant for travel and foreign locations.  The Oprah Winfrey show is broadcast to 145 countries all over the world.

Oprah’s Moon is in Sagittarius, opposite her Jupiter.  This indicates someone who, although comfortable in the limelight, has a genuine emotional need to be inspired and to inspire others.  She is independent and unafraid to rework her methods.  Comfortable with change and growth herself, she expects her employees to change and grow along with her.

Ambition and Privacy

Oprah has Saturn in Scorpio, in stressful aspect to the Sun/Venus conjunction.  It is challenging for her to share and be open about her business dealings with others and she has had to learn to trust her advisors.  She is extremely ambitious and probably began her business life with a strong fear of betrayal.  It is well-known that all employees must sign a perpetual confidentiality agreement as a condition of working for her.  But this also indicates absolute and heartfelt loyalty to those who are protective of her.  Saturn in Scorpio gives keen common sense to handling finances and though seeming generous, she is probably extremely careful and aware of the impact of her financial dealings on others.

Mars indicates energy and will power, and placed in Scorpio gives deep reserves of steady energy.  It is well known that in her earlier years she would work 16-18 hour days and not tolerate anything less from her staff.  She has had to learn that not everyone shares the same level of energy she has, and to let her staff abide by more reasonable hours.  Mars in Scorpio also indicates someone who has the drive to rise to any occasion, especially situations of crisis and high drama.

Communications and Tech

With Mercury in Aquarius she is extremely intelligent with a penetrating focused mind.  Deeply effective at communications, with this placement she is also comfortable with the leading edge of technology.   Diane Mermigas notes in her blog post, The Real Digital Drama Behind Oprah’s Move from Broadcast TV, that the real reason Winfrey is leaving her show is to put her “digital tech savvy” to work in cable TV by being the first to integrate interactivity and virtual communications.

As Mercury is the ruler of her Ascendant, Virgo, she is detail-oriented, practical and comfortable with facts and figures.  She thrives on the day-to-day aspect of work.  What some call the daily grind, she finds stimulating.  So she has been able to put in long hours with a sense of pushing into new territory and making a difference to people’s lives through her business.

What a business person!  Oprah has translated her business smarts into one of the wealthiest and most successful people in America.  Yet her common sense, perseverance, willingness to stay current with technology, and her belief in her team make her a role model for all people in business.

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When you wish upon a star – Walt Disney

Ellen at Epcot

Ellen at Epcot-with Pluto on my right (the dog!)

A couple of days ago I went to Epcot Center for my birthday.  Epcot Center is a part of The Walt Disney World outside of Orlando, Florida.  I started thinking about Walt Disney: who was he astrologically speaking?  What I found was a complex man, a bit different from the popular conception.


His chart is multi-faceted, immensely creative, but also dark, brooding, and troubled.  With his Sagittarius Sun in the third house he thirsted for knowledge and once he had mastered a technique, he was anxious to share it with coworkers.  A third house Sun can also indicate someone whose siblings are very important in his life.  Walt Disney’s brother, Roy, was the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company.

Walt Disney’s Sun was conjunct Uranus, the planet of innovation and originality.  This is the mark of a rebel, such as when Disney insisted on producing Snow White and the Seven Dwarves against the advice of both his brother Roy and his wife Lillian.  Before it was released, this first animated feature length film was known as “Disney’s Folly”.  The other Hollywood studios were certain it was a colossal waste of money and would bring down the company.  When the film was released in 1938 it became the most successful motion picture of the year for which Disney received one full-size Oscar and seven miniature Oscar statuettes in honor of the seven Dwarves.

Creative and Troubled

Disney’s Sun also opposed Pluto.  This is a life of crisis and renewal.  The positive side to this aspect can be seen in his continual transformation of his business from one powerful era to the next.  A business life that included both failures and successes, his life covered many different aspects of business:  from artist to adman, animator, producer, television personality and amusement park designer and creator.



The Pluto/Sun opposition also indicates some of Disney’s darker profile, a feeling of “me against the world” which played out in a childhood marked by poverty and abuse, betrayals by his animators, and set-backs and bankruptcy in his early years.  He was also a founding member of the Anti-communist Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals, in which he branded three of his former animators as Communist agitators before Congress in 1947.

Independent and Competitive

Disney’s Moon was in the first house which gives a need for autonomy, independence and a tendency to withdraw in times of stress.  Disney was famous for retreating to develop blueprints for a miniature live steam railroad for his backyard, with loops, overpasses, gradients and a 90-foot tunnel underneath his wife’s flowerbed.

Disney’s Venus was in the 5th house, which is connected to fun, creativity, and children.  This is also a very artistic placement for Venus and since his Venus was sextile Mercury, he was able to take advantage of the technology of the time to express his creative nature.

Disney’s Mars in Capricorn is a very hard-working placement and with a conjunction to Jupiter he was energetic and competitive.  His long career was constantly pitted against the other studios. After the early success of Mickey Mouse, he contended with Betty Boop and Popeye the Sailor in the 1930s, and Warner Brothers’ Bugs Bunny in the 1940s.  Mars was also conjunct Saturn which again indicates high ambition and a willingness to persevere to reach his goals.

In tune with the times

Disney had both Neptune and Pluto at the top of his chart indicating his openness to and ability to capitalize on the trends of his time.  He was inspired by the burgeoning field of animation and recognized the desire to escape the Depression and World War II by developing a world of fantasy.  His work spanned and spoke to several generations.  The same children and teens who watched Steamboat Willie in 1928, took their own children to Snow White in 1938, Old Yeller and Lady and the Tramp in the 1950s, and to the opening of Disneyland in 1955.  These same folks then joined their grandchildren to watch Mary Poppins in the 1960s.

Inspiration, innovation, perseverance, and creativity – a recipe for a legacy that lives to this day.

Disney Theme Song

When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you

If your heart is in your dream
No request is too extreme
When you wish upon a star
As dreamers do

Fate is kind
She brings to those who love
The sweet fulfillment of
Their secret longing

Like a bolt out of the blue
Fate steps in and sees you through
When you wish upon a star
Your dreams come true   (Disney)

Most of the information in this post was adapted from Wikipedia.

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Uranus in Pisces – Cisco Systems


AUDIO VERSION:  Uranus in Pisces – Cisco Systems Audio File

Cisco Systems is a name we all know, but few of us know exactly what they do.   During the dotcom boom Cisco was the supplier of most of the gear that guides data through the internet, like switches and routers.  In March 2000 it was considered the most valuable company in the world. Then during the dotcom bust in 2001 much of its stock market value was lost.  In the last seven years, it has responded not only by diversifying its businesses but also reworking its organizational model to meet the new realities of today.

Branching out

A company in the Mature Stage of the business life cycle,  by 2001 Cisco’s core business had already peaked and would never again reach the annual average growth rates it once had.  So the company has developed a strategy to move quickly into new businesses, businesses that can capture the higher rates of growth that are expected at an earlier point in the business life cycle.  This branching out has become institutionalized in the company culture in the last seven years.

The company calls new areas of growth “market adjacencies”.  The CEO of Cisco, John Chambers, gives an interesting clue for this kind of diversification.  Of the thirty or more market adjacencies the company is exploring and investing in, he says he hopes that at least half will be successful.  (Clue #1 for small businesses:  don’t expect everything you try to pay off.)

Cisco’s biggest current bet is on video communication, which it believes will increase tenfold by 2013.  (I believe so too, with Neptune moving into Pisces in 2011, but that’s a different post.)  And Cisco’s not waiting passively by for someone else to develop the technology.  It is planning to push its own video communication tool, TelePresence, into homes, and give “match-day experience” in people’s living rooms. 

Cisco’s TelePresence utilizes high-definition screens, spatially sensitive microphones, custom video-processing technology and networking equipment.  Cisco already uses the TelePresence technology at an impressive rate in its own business, turning videoconferences into approximate face-to-face meetings, 5,500 times a week.  These updated, upgraded videoconferences offer the nuances of body language and tone of voice, allowing coordination and cultivation of relationships among employees across the globe.

“Welcome to the human network”

In addition to and really more fundamentally innovative than diversification into adjacent business lines is Cisco’s restructure of its management process.  Cisco has continually restructured internally, first operating in divisions according to lines of business, then changing to a functional structure.  (The company has a Sun/Uranus conjunction in its chart which indicates its leaders, symbolized by the Sun, are engaged constantly with change, Uranus.) 

Now Cisco has developed an elaborate system of cross-functional committees to bring new products to new markets.  Some of these committees function without a formal leader although there is documented “replicable processes” for how groups are set up and how decisions are made.  Jay Galbraith, a noted management consultant, calls Cisco’s system a “culture of collaboration”. 

There have been drawbacks to this though.  Some people can flourish in a structure like this; lone wolves, as talented as they may be, cannot thrive, and loss of talent ensues.  A fifth of Cisco’s leadership has left the company. 

But Uranus in Aries is coming!

So what do we see here, from an astrological point of view?  This is an excellent example of a company using innovation (Uranus) during the mature and transitional stage of the business cycle (Pisces).  Natural Pisces attributes abound in the story:  diversification to deal with new market forces, committee leadership, and collaboration, as well as global connection, dissolution of structures, termination of hierarchies.

And the risks to this strategy?  If I were their astrologer I would tell them, good job!  You used the Uranus in Pisces time well, taking the last seven years to restructure your business innovatively, both in products and internal culture.  But Uranus in Aries is coming!  The innovation during the next seven years will come through the start-up phase, of the business cycle, from the efforts of the entrepreneur, the lone wolf that you just forced out.  The committee/matrix structure will not lead to ongoing innovation.  And the diversification strategy which worked so well with Uranus in Pisces will need to find a single overriding focus as Uranus moves into Aries during the next year.

Over the next two years, we’ll watch Cisco as we go through the transition between Uranus in Pisces to Uranus in Aries.  My hunch is that the current management will not be able to be weather the shift in focus under the weight of all those committees.  They will be forced to segment the company into smaller units to retain innovation and competitive edge.

We’ll wait and see…

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