Posts Tagged Aquarius

Neptune in Aquarius – Free, the Radical Price

Back to Free, The Future of a Radical Price, the book by Chris Anderson.  I heard Chris speaking with Terry Gross on NPR (Listen) and it was so intriguing I listened twice and started reading the book, which, of course, is free.  His idea/observation is that free can be a profitable business model and the first new business model based on the internet.  And the model is this:  making lots of money charging nothing. 

Free is not new as a business marketing strategy.  It’s long been known that giving away one thing free can create demand for something people are willing to pay for.  But in this internet kind of free, 99% is given away and a tiny majority pays for everyone else.

One example Chris cites is the Wall Street Journal.  Their website is free and is full of useful information.  But the archives and more specific data are only available to those who pay for it.  Google is another example.  Google’s services are available almost completely for free and yet the company is making a huge profit.  How is this possible?

There are some standard economic principles that play into this equation:

  • In economics 101, you learn that the entire supply and demand cycle is based on having to make choices in the face of scarcity.  Not in the freeconomy.  Free is driven by abundance.  Abundance of what?
  • Bits, digital goods.  Moore’s law says that the digital world gets cheaper, 50% each year.  (Actually, Moore was talking about transistors, but his basic axiom has become applicable to the digital world.)
  • Marginal cost – unlike atoms, which are inflationary, based on the scarcity principle, bits get cheaper and cheaper until the marginal cost of producing products digitally becomes zero.  Take this blog for instance.  Does it cost me anything more to have 10,000 people read it than 1 person?
  • Barriers to entry – when marginal cost is zero, standard barriers to entry into a market are virtually zero.  Not that long ago, a writer would have either had to self-publish at considerable cost or spend many, many hours submitting manuscripts.  Now, publish on-line, for free.

So, with marginal cost of production down to zero, anything that becomes digital will become free, or available in a free version.

What does this mean for us as business people?  If your product can be digitalized and you don’t make it free, someone else will.  As Anderson says, either you’re giving it away for free or you’re competing with free.

One of my regular readers commented on the Neptune in Aquarius trends.  Some excerpts:

My work (commercial art, illustration) has been seriously affected by the internet, both positively and negatively. Over the past decade or so the computer has allowed me to reach clients all over the world, has introduced me to markets I couldn’t have even imagined, and has streamlined the research I do in preparing my graphics.

On the other hand, competition has gotten more and more fierce, availability and quality of “stock art” has gotten progressively better, and my asking prices are being driven down by this culture of “free.” In the arts, which is the area I know about, the internet has created a situation where “professionals” and “amateurs” can compete on almost-level ground. For example, there was recently a Superbowl ad done for free by an amateur. These usually cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and the sponsoring company in this case basically got the work for free. So we who have been considered professionals in the arts are suddenly threatened by throngs of amateurs, do-it-yourselfers who have access to technology that enables them to make a fine looking product that in the old days only a pro could produce.

So what’s an old pro to do? As you mentioned in your last post, we’ve got to find a way to distinguish ourselves beyond just craft. We have to have better ideas, or a better ability to address the real needs of our clients, or … I don’t quite know what. That’s the problem!

The downside of free.   Have you experienced the downside of Neptune in Aquarius?  Let us know in the comments section below.

More on Free, tomorrow.

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Neptune in Aquarius – Free

I’ve been thinking about Free lately, as in Chris Anderson’s book, Free:  The Future of a Radical Price.  Chris is the Editor-in-Chief of WIRED magazine, my favorite monthly read.  He is also the author of the megahit, The Long Tail and was previously the U.S. business editor at The Economist.

I did my own research on the word free and found that it has many different meanings.  I’ve decided  to personally append the following meanings to the sign Aquarius.  From the Encarta Dictionary:

  1. Costing nothing, a free meal
  2. Not restricted in rights, a free country
  3. Self-ruling, a free people
  4. Not regulated, free to choose
  5. Not attached, the free end of the rope
  6. Disregarding traditional limitations, free verse
  7. Not blocked, free flow of electricity
  8. Giving something readily, free with advice
  9. Open and honest, a free manner
  10. Favorable, a free wind

And then there’s freedom, free will, free lance, free trade, and the newer freemium, and freeconomics.  This word free has some big shoulders!

I went to my The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language because I couldn’t figure out how this same little word could contain meanings as diverse as costing nothing and self-ruling.  What I found was fascinating.  The word free comes from the root pri, which means love, beloved, belonging to the loved ones, dear, precious, peace, noble, joyful.  The etymology cites that the primary sense seems to have been “beloved, friend, to love;” perhaps from the terms “beloved” or “friend” being applied to the members of one’s clan – the people free to come and go through your territory at will.  The sense of free as “given without cost” was first seen in 1585, presumably from “free of cost” to members of your clan.

Isn’t Free a great concept for Neptune in Aquarius?  Neptune is the connector, the urge to merge with a beloved ideal, and Aquarius, the group, the extended clan.  The word free goes right to the root of our time in all of its senses:  costing nothing because you don’t charge your kin, the extended, global community; not restricted in rights, as in open-source software; self-ruling, like the agreements on how to use the social networking sites; disregarding traditional limitations, abbreviate those tweets; giving something readily, the law of reciprocity.

We have utilized this concept for ages, of course.  I don’t charge my son for tax or astrological advice; he doesn’t charge me for computer and internet advice.  He is my kin; we exchange our skills and talents freely.  What has morphed with Neptune in Aquarius is who we call kin: now people across the globe who we’ve never met in person support our endeavors and we support theirs.  There are forums in every imaginable subject in which people freely share with each other the best of their wisdom.  I can call on the community, the global community, to answer any question I have with a simple Google search.

My son uses this often in his work.  When he has a thorny technical problem to solve, first he looks on line to see if anyone else has resolved it.  He often finds the answer or at least a clue that provides the opening for him to successfully resolve it.  If the answer is not online, when he has resolved it, he posts it.  The next person that runs into the same issue can access his best thinking, instantly and free of charge.  Why does he do it?  Reciprocity, certainly, but also for the pure satisfaction of contributing to the advancement of shared knowledge.  This is kinship of another kind, Aquarian kinship, based on a deep understanding of who are our kin:  those who love the same knowledge as we and who share the desire to advance its frontier.

More on free in the next posts…

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Neptune in Aquarius – inspired minds

NEW AUDIO VERSION: Neptune in Aquarius – Inspired Minds

I can’t really write about Neptune without getting into some of her more subtle aspects and connect the dots from the urge to connect…to loss of ego…to dreams…to inspiration.  Certainly there are overarching trends that affect all of us as Neptune continues its passage through Aquarius and we will continue to explore them in the coming posts.  But there is an inner aspect to Neptune that I feel is also critical for any business person to master and there are particular ways this energy is making itself felt during these times.

My inspiration for this post came from thinking about the sign Aquarius and its connection to the realm of mind and ideas.   I’ve also been rereading Julia Cameron’s Finding Water, the third book of her Artist’s Way trilogy.  Julia’s advice includes what she refers to as Morning Pages, three pages of long-hand writing you do first thing in the morning.  Strictly stream-of-consciousness, mind to paper without stopping or censoring.

I think of this kind of writing as opening a direct channel from Neptune.  In this kind of writing I am absolutely freed from my ego because no one will ever read my thoughts.  While Julia encourages each of us to  write whatever we feel, no matter how petty or trivial, I notice that very quickly I tune into another channel, one full of new thoughts, good ideas, and unexpected wisdom.  The inspiration channel – better than TV!

For example, through this channel I designed an alternate way to present astrology charts to clients using a large surface, images representing the signs, and objects representing the planets.  Very visual, colorful, it gives a direct intuitive experience instead of a flat, two dimensional one.  This is not how I usually think – I am generally very linear and diagrammatic.  But when I open to the Neptune channel, in pours color, art, design.

I have used the Neptune channel for client financial issues, and for large accounting design projects.  There is brilliance in this universe that is not a product of my usual left-brain focus and it is generous.  In fact, the more I can allow the realm of my rational mind to open to the waves of the Neptune energy, the more inspired I am in my work and the better ideas I have for my business.  And then I feel I am part of a larger whole and that there is a place for me in the collective.

It’s such an interesting time with Neptune transitting Aquarius because the non-rational (Neptune; right brain) is pouring into the earth through the rational (Aquarius; left brain).  The realm of thought and ideas has become today’s conduit for the creative.  Expect to be inspired.  Whether you feel stuck in your business or career, or you’re ready for something new, find a way to open to the energy of Neptune in Aquarius.  Some suggestions for luring the inspiration of Neptune in Aquarius:

  • Walk by the sea or any body of water with pen and paper or a digital recorder.  Look at the sky, look at the birds, the clouds, the water.  See colors and shapes.  As my acupuncturist tells me, Don’t think!  When inspiration strikes, record it. 
  • Make some sacrifice for your community.  This could be as simple as volunteering in the community garden to proofreading for Digital Proofreaders.  Sacrifice is particularly dear to Neptune and Aquarius rules community and the distribution of knowledge to all.
  • Record your dreams and learn dream interpretation techniques.  Dreams are one of the languages of Neptune and the effort to explore their meanings invites her wisdom.  I have been studying with Judith Schafman, PHD ( and have recognized several business ideas in the symbols of my dreams.
  • Keep pen and paper by your bed and pay attention to early morning musings, just in the space between sleep and awake.  This blog was a gem I found in that space.
  • Go to Julia Cameron’s website,, and download the PDF on Morning Pages.  Try it for a week.  I promise you’ll be amazed.


Neptune is available to everyone at any time; she doesn’t hold back.  She just needs an empty space to fill.  Think of her as leaping over from your right brain into your left brain and finding a quiet space there to settle in and chat.  She is an endless source of energy and inspiration, more than all of us put together can hold.  We can all enjoy inspired minds while Neptune is in Aquarius.

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Neptune in Aquarius – mind-to-mind connecting

For previous posts on Neptune and Aquarius, use these links: Neptune-in-Aquarius Aquarius

How’s your mental telepathy? I read back on predictions by other astrologers pre-1998 for the period when Neptune would be passing through Aquarius.  There were some who predicted that mind-to-mind telepathy would be a feature of this time; that man would develop the ability to communicate over vast distances through the mind alone.  This was virtually accomplished through the internet and the various applications like Facebook, blogging, flickr, twittering, and many others .  Second Life and similar environments have created spaces where we can meet with people we know from across the globe or meet and get to know others, attend events together, live and play in an electronic community that can become as real as your first life, depending on your definition of reality.  In Aquarius, reality is an experience in the mind.

I’m not making a judgment here although I do tend to get excited by new ideas and directions.  I’m encouraging all of us as businesspeople to recognize what is happening.  Certainly there are many activities that are not conducted in this way, but the internet has captured the time and minds of many millions of people.  If we are competing with the internet while Neptune is in Aquarius, we need to recognize it and be sure we are offering services and products that cannot be had for free in the internet medium.  People used to use accountants to do their taxes; now they can be done for free on line.  People used to use travel agents; now free on line.  People used to use stockbrokers; free or almost free on line.

And the knowledge that is free and available on line is astounding.  Need medical advice?  Go online.  Need lawn care advice?  No longer do you run down to the hardware store.  Want to try that new restaurant?  Check it out online, where you trust the opinions of others because there are so many contributors that there is a leveling out, a consensus that can be achieved.

Neptune in Aquarius isn’t just about the internet.  The urge is to blend by forming groups and communities.  Of course there are many communities online from Geekdads to , yes, lawncare tips.  But the urge is happening outside of the virtual world too.  What do your employees and customers want under this influence?

  • People want to contribute to the whole
  • People want to form groups of like-minds
  • People want to connect to others
  • People want their ideas acknowledged

So what are we saying here?  Recognize the impact of Neptune in Aquarius – people want to meet based on shared interests and are willing to meet purely through the realm of the mind.  If your business is bricks and mortar, how can you use this trend?  More on this in the coming posts, including another Neptune in Aquarius business concept – Free.

As I’m writing, my cat jumps up on my desk.  I stop to pet her silky fur and she perches next to me.  She loves paperwork and will always join me at my desk when I’m working.  She likes to knock over cups full of pens and snuggle into the paper tray of my printer.  Can I duplicate this online?  No, and yet I’m not likely to try to make a business out of it, either.

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Neptune in Aquarius – let’s get connected!

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!

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In the post and video on Neptune we examined some of the fundamental characteristics of the energy of the planet, Neptune.  To recap:

  • The urge toward unity and dissolution of separation between individuals, organizations, and for some, divinity. 
  • The search for underlying cohesive principles of reality, such as physics and mathematics.
  • Sacrifice of individuality in service to a higher goal
  • Compassionate support of other people’s aims
  • Imagination, dreams, inspiration, art, creativity
  • Interconnectedness, such as ecological systems
Aquarius pours water from a jar into the mouth of the southern fish, as depicted in Urania's Mirror, a set of constellation cards published in London c.1825. (Source:Wikipedia)

Aquarius pours water from a jar into the mouth of the southern fish, as depicted in Urania's Mirror, a set of constellation cards published in London c.1825. (Source:Wikipedia)

Since 1998 Neptune has been transiting the zodiac sign of Aquarius.  Before we look at this configuration, let’s spend some time looking at the sign Aquarius.  Aquarius is also called the water bearer, and is symbolized by an angel pouring water onto the earth.  But the water the angel pours is not liquid; it is the water of knowledge. 

The Greek myth related to Aquarius is the myth of Prometheus, known as the first rebel.  Prometheus had been given a mission by Zeus to inhabit the world with living creatures.  After creating all the other creatures, Prometheus fashioned a being made to resemble the gods themselves.  And as a gift, he taught his favorite creatures astronomy, mathematics, the alphabet, how to cure diseases, and the art of divination.  Defying Zeus’ orders, he stole a spark from the sun, fire, and gave it to humans, fire to warm their homes and become the seed of civilization.  From this myth, we see the rebelliousness of the Aquarian temperament as well as the desire to uplift the disadvantaged and establish them as equal to the gods.

In astrology, Aquarius is known as an air sign.  Air signs are concerned with the mind and intellect rather than emotions (water signs), spirit (fire signs), or the physical world (earth signs).  The glyph for Aquarius is the lightning bolt, signifying flashes of insight and brilliance.  Airwaves and electrical systems come naturally under the influence of this sign and also technological revolutions, such as the industrial revolution in the late 18th and early 19th century and the digital revolution in our time.  The sign is also associated with revolutionary ideas, such as liberty, democracy, anarchy, and socialism that topple traditional institutions and is also concerned with the nature of one’s responsibility and contribution to the group.  Aquarius includes an egalitarian vision, where each person is created equal to every other, and can make an equally valid contribution to the whole.

Aquarius Glyph

Aquarius Glyph

Some current examples of the Aquarian spirit operating in the world:

  • Craigslist which by providing a free or almost free classified ad environment on the internet effectively demonetized newspaper classified ad revenue, resulting in the demise of hundreds of  newspapers and causing a huge transfer of wealth from large corporations to individuals.
  • E-Bay which has become an extreme form of decentralized sales, where millions of items are listed, bought, and sold daily.
  • Google AdWords, whereby advertisers bid for the right to place ads next to Google searches.  Quoting a recent article in WIRED Magazine, “By turning over its sales process entirely to an auction-based system, [Google] removed human guesswork from the equation [of what ads would sell given a related query].”  Note, “removing human guesswork” means taking emotions out of the equation and basing business decisions on engineering, mathematical formulas, and data mining.
  • Free, or very low cost, access to knowledge and information over the internet.  Of course, there are prior examples of this in history, such as libraries, schools, and museums.
  • Wikipedia, the free, open content online encyclopedia created through the collaborative effort of a community of users.
  • Open source software which generally allows anyone to create modifications of the software, port it to new operating systems and processor architectures, share it with others, or market it.

No doubt you can think of many more.  We are living amidst a huge renaissance of the Aquarian spirit, supported by Neptune’s transit through the sign.  I’ll spend the next few posts examining this trend and exploring how to align with it in our business lives.

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