Posts Tagged Business planning

Astro4Business Month Ahead – December 2010

Hello, everyone.

Welcome to the Astro4Business Monthly Forecast for December, 2010.  What are the planetary influences this month and how can we work with them?

  • We’ll start with the most long-range and overarching influences, the planets Pluto, Neptune, and Uranus, which you will notice do not travel far from month to month but stay in the same sector of the sky for many years.  These form the backdrop to our personal lives, affecting matters on a global stage.
  • Then we will look at the mid-range influences, Jupiter and Saturn, which stay in the same sign for 1 – 2.5 years.  These planets represent our interactions with our societal environment, its rules, regulations, belief systems, and benefits.
  • We’ll look at the personal planets, Mars, Venus, Mercury, and the Sun which stay in their respective signs for much shorter periods and primarily influence our day-to-day lives.
  • And last we’ll look at the sign and dates for the New and Full Moon, as these mark the waxing and waning cycles in our daily lives.

Pluto in Capricorn

We’ve spoken at length about Pluto in Capricorn (see category at right), where it will remain until 2024.  In a nutshell, this long transit will bring upheaval and transformation to many of the structures we have come to rely upon:  government, religion, the economy, industry, and the military, to name a few.  This transit carries the energy of revolution and evolution and can be dramatic and at times overwhelming.  Pluto exposes what is hidden, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse.

Pluto hastens and intensifies the processes of endings and new beginnings, and in Capricorn will bring about the ending of our business pursuits that are no longer suited to our growth and personal evolution.  Whatever has been slowly leaking vitality will depart, including old business models, practices, and products.

This is formidable energy, and your best strategy is to tune in and work with it.  Find an area in your business life in need of renewal and begin the process before Pluto reaches planets in your chart and forces the issue.

Everyone with planets within the first three to nine degrees of any sign is actively dealing with this energy.  You’ve probably noticed a deeper and deeper probing and cleansing all year long, related to the issues mentioned above.  Try to open a large space within yourself for a whole new perspective; be willing to become new and to irrevocably let go of something that has become outmoded.  Pluto transits can be difficult, but when the work is done they are the most rewarding because we are permanently freed from a long-standing, but hidden, issue.

Neptune in Aquarius

With Neptune in Aquarius (see category at right) from 1998 to 2011, we’ve seen a growing global consensus regarding the equal value of all beings, shared responsibility for our planet, the distribution of technology to all corners of the world, and the right of each person to contribute to and further the base of common knowledge.

The best way to work with this energy is to allow yourself to open to waves of inspiration from the collective whole, from your local community to the global community.  Expect to be inspired by your neighbors and friends, both near and far.

If you have planets between 26 and 29 degrees of any sign expect to experience a subtle but powerful dissatisfaction with certain areas of your life and a yearning for a more meaningful connection to others.  Pay attention to non-intellectual sources of knowledge such as dreams and art.  Feel what is happening, listen for underlying currents rather than what is apparent on the surface.  This disconcerting influence can dissolve the forms in our life which have no real content for us anymore.  This can be disorienting and confusing while it is happening but once deeper connections are made, the benefits are rewarding and long-lasting.

Uranus in Pisces

Uranus is the final planet to regain direct motion this year.  After it comes to stillness and begins moving forward again on December 5 we will see a turnaround in all business matters influenced by the planet:  industry structures; innovation; new technology; invention; community impact; creative destruction; and rapid response, to name a few.

When the planet entered Aries last May, we began getting to know a new face of Uranus. Aries is the spark of entrepreneurial spirit, the initiating drive toward independence and individuality.  You may have noticed new ideas incubating and a spirit of bold entrepreneurship in and around your business.  But then Uranus moved into retrograde motion and there was probably a disruption in this full-speed-ahead current.  You may have felt ambivalent or dissatisfied with your new ideas and initiatives.

When Uranus moved back into Pisces in August there was another major shift. Yes, this was familiar territory; Uranus was in Pisces for most of the last seven years, since March 2003.  But it may have felt like stepping back in time.  From our new entrepreneurial spirit we re-entered the realm of collective ideas.  From forays into a new style of leadership, we fell back into flattened hierarchies and committee decision-making.  From enhanced independence we returned to collaboration and alliances.

Uranus continues through the last degrees of Pisces for the next few months.  With the resumption of direct motion you may experience a rush of pent-up desire for change.  And yet, until it passes into Aries again in March, we are finishing up old business in an old style.

If you have planets between 26 and 1 degree of the next sign it’s time to let yourself be excited by something new; branch out, experiment, try new things.  Support a cause you believe in and invest your time in societal change.  This will positively channel the excess nervous and intellectual energy Uranus can bring.

Saturn in Libra

In July, Saturn entered Libra where it will stay until October 2012.  Saturn is exalted in Libra which means it has a special affinity to the sign and if you’re willing to do the work, there is a promised payoff.  See the category to the right on this important transit, but in a nutshell:  what is the work of Saturn in Libra?  To develop patience, persistence, responsibility, and humility in relationships.  What is the payoff?  Cooperation and mutual support.

Last August, Saturn formed a difficult aspect to Pluto in Capricorn (see above.)  The stress of this aspect revealed the decay beneath structures in our businesses (and our world.)  Now the Saturn energy is building the Libra values of equity, parity, diplomacy, collaboration, and cooperation on the ashes of the past.  Saturn brings a serious and responsible attitude to this time, especially in the areas of partnership and business relationships.

Jupiter in Pisces

Let’s review where we’ve been with Jupiter, so we can tell where we stand now.  In June, Jupiter, the planet of opportunity and expansion, entered Aries.  Aries is an initiatory sign and Jupiter thinks big.  Your former goals may have felt too limiting and you may have experienced a passion for growth, expansion, competition, and claiming new territories

Then Jupiter began retrograde motion in July.  You may have found your enthusiasm flagging for your new products and plans.  The forward momentum you’d been enjoying may have reversed, and you felt more restrained.  This has been an important phase for realistically assessing how much we can get done, to curtail overdoing and over-committing, and to take the time to slowly grow a project to completion.

In November Jupiter resumed direct motion.  You’ve probably felt enthusiasm and forward momentum returning to your workplace.  You can begin to think big again and the energy of Jupiter direct will support your efforts.  Take the promotion, take the risk, buy that lottery ticket!

Mars in Sagittarius/Capricorn

On December 7, Mars, the planet that represents our drive, energy, and will enter Capricorn.  Capricorn is a fantastic position for Mars.  Mars in Capricorn is focused, patient, and unrelenting in the pursuit of goals, especially business and career goals.  Mechanics and engineering are supported when Mars is in this sign as Capricorn gives entrepreneurial Mars the patience to devise and revise until a product is perfected.

Since Mars in business represents your second tier of leadership, expect your managers to step up and willingly take on more responsibility over the next few weeks.  In fact, they may demand it!  If you’re planning promotions, wait until after the 7th and then move ahead.

Venus in Scorpio

Venus re-entered Scorpio on November 29.  Venus represents pleasure and in Scorpio, happiness is found in emotional and material security.  You may worry more than usual about the balance in your cash accounts and focus your energy on stabilizing your finances.  However, you could go overboard if you are too passionate in your pursuit of security.

Be careful with this one:  permanent alliances can be formed when Venus is in this sign but irrevocable separations can be just as likely.  Long-lasting contractual or financial agreements can be gained at this time but may contain an element of intrigue and the possibility of betrayal.  Review everything carefully and if there are unspoken emotional undertones, make sure you get them out on the table before you commit.

Mercury in Capricorn/Sagittarius

Mercury entered Capricorn on November 30.  Mercury in Capricorn is ideal for planning and strategy, so if you still have your 2011 business plan in front of you, set time aside to work on it between now and December 18th.  From the free-wheeling Sagittarius energy we’ve entered a much more serious frame of mind.  You’ll see a heightened ability to concentrate and deliver on promises.  Watch out for a tendency to lose your sense of humor just when you need it most!

Mercury spends from December 10 to December 30 in retrograde motion.  In Astro4Business we understand the value of retrograde motion and welcome this time of review.  In fact this is a great time to look back over the year and analyze what worked and what can be improved.  See the links below for good information on how to handle retrograde Mercury.

Due to retrograde motion, Mercury will slip back into Sagittarius on December 18 which will be great for the holidays (as long as you can smile through travel snafus) but not as good for serious planning.  When Mercury is back in Sagittarius we may miss the details of the present because our minds are captivated by the future.  Try to count to three before making any snap decisions.

Sun in Sagittarius/Capricorn

Geometry of a Lunar Eclipse. (Source:Wikimedia Commons)

The Sun begins the month in Sagittarius.  This is a friendly, outgoing, optimistic time, the beginning of the holiday season.  In fact, we may tend toward over-exuberance as we know we are sliding into the Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere.  Increased sales are favored under Sagittarius and a generosity of spirit with employees and coworkers is a great use of this energy.

When the Sun enters Capricorn we begin the season of renewal as we celebrate major seasonal change.  The Equinox marks the beginning of Summer in the Southern Hemisphere and the beginning of Winter for us Northerners.  It is a time of resolutions and annual planning, supported by the Capricorn qualities of patience, persistence, efficiency and practicality.

Phases of the Moon

The New Moon is in Sagittarius on December 5, waxing to full in Gemini on December 20-21 (depending on your time zone).  The Full Moon is also a total Lunar Eclipse, one of the two lunar eclipses each year.  If you look at the graphic to the right, you’ll see how the Sun’s energy is blocked at the moment of the Full Moon. This can curtail the normal cyclic fulfillment of projects and goals this month, a wrench in the works.  If it directly contacts a point on your chart its influence can be felt for about six months.  This month’s Lunar Eclipse is at 29 degrees Gemini.

Monthly Recap

A lot of Capricorn energy this month, with Mercury, Mars, the Sun, and Pluto all spending time in this serious, practical, and ambitious sign.  Business will be on our minds and we’ll have the energy to take our plans forward.  We’ll be supported by three planets in superb placement:  Saturn in Libra will give us responsibility in partnership; Jupiter in Pisces fosters a spirit if interdependence and cooperation; and Mars in Capricorn gives focus and direction to our drive.  And don’t forget to check your chart to see if 29 degrees is highlighted; if so, the Lunar Eclipse will be prominent for you.

In case you are wondering how to get the most out of this monthly forecast, check out this link.  Some time ago a reader asked about it and you’ll see my instructions when you follow the link.

Have a great month and let me know how it all plays out!

Key Dates for the Month

December 5                Uranus resumes direct motion; New Moon in Sagittarius

December 7                Mars enters Capricorn

December 10              Mercury resumes retrograde motion

December 18              Mercury re-enters Sagittarius

December 20-21         Full Moon in Gemini; total Lunar Eclipse

December 21              Sun enters Capricorn

December 30              Mercury resumes direct motion

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 tips on how to use Mercury Retrograde to your advantage, see

10 Best Practices for Mercury Retrograde

Mercury Retrograde – 10 Ways to Engage

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A4B Today – November 9 Preparing for Pluto

Source:Wikimedia Commons

Good Day!

Today the waxing Moon enters Capricorn, bringing a focus on systems and business proficiency.  Anything you can do over the next couple of days to bring your latest inspiration down to earth will pay dividends in the future.

Capricorn loves planning.  Capricorns know that all the knowledge and inspiration in the world is useless unless it is translated into deeds.  But before springing into action we need to plan our course.  There are any number of good business plan templates on the internet; it’s a great idea to download one of them and fill in the blanks.  Here’s the link to the SBA’s Small Business Planner.  Writing a plan does not have to be hard and it provides the first gate  to be sure your idea has wings.

Pluto visit

The Capricorn Moon joins Pluto in Capricorn today, an event which repeats itself each month.  These days are our opportunity to understand at a deeper and deeper level how Pluto in Capricorn is playing out in our personal and business lives.  The more we come to understand the presence of Pluto energy, the better we can prepare ourselves for its inevitable visit.  Everyone with planets in the early degrees of Capricorn has firsthand experience with Pluto and there seems to be an interesting pattern emerging.

After hearing from several clients it looks like Pluto has a penchant for putting someone on an unexpected pedestal and then bringing about a dramatic fall.  I’ve seen this so many times now I can’t ignore it.  First comes the surprise promotion, the fantastic new client, the coveted award; then the firing, the client desertion, and the humiliation.  And now that Pluto is in Capricorn, this seems to be playing out most often in business and careers.

Time after time, people don’t see it coming and don’t have a clue as to why it’s happening and what it means.  Since Pluto moves so slowly across the heavens, it can take many months or even a couple of years before the impact passes.  It becomes a test of endurance and equanimity, which are often in short supply.

Should you despair if you see a Pluto transit coming your way?  Not at all.  It is ultimately extremely rewarding and the more time passes, the more you will recognize the permanent gifts you received during the transit.  These gifts are usually along the lines of being freed from work environments or careers that were dead-end and making you miserable.

Do Pluto transits have to be hard?  Only if you still have an ego.  Most of us are quite sure we know what’s best for us and we fight and suffer as a result.  If you can resist the temptation to struggle against Pluto’s action, whether that’s losing a job, having to relocate, or needing to start completely over in your business, then you’ll be fine.  But that’s not easy.  We’re often unaware of what is making us unhappy.  Like Steve Martin says in the movie LA Story, “I was deeply unhappy but I didn’t know it because I was so happy all of the time.”

So be sure to pay attention on a day like today.  Every month the Moon and Pluto bring us a glimpse of what is outworn and in need of purging.  So go ahead and take some concrete steps to clear out the old and make room for the new.  That’s aligning with Pluto rather than being victimized by its energy.  The old skin has to go if we’re going to become renewed.

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

For an overview of the week, see the Weekly Forecast – November 8 – 14

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

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

The Moon


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Business Planning Retreat – Guest Post by Melanie McGhee

Dear Readers – I was intrigued by a comment businesswoman Melanie McGhee wrote, mentioning how she takes an annual business planning retreat.  I asked her to share her process and insights with all of us.  For today’s New Moon, here’s a new idea!  What do you think?

Melanie writes:

One of the members of my mastermind group, Sue Painter, recently invited me to join her and a small group of incredible people coming together for a business planning retreat.  I very much wanted to go.  After all, she is a master businesswoman and marketer.  But the timing isn’t right for me.  

Melanie's business

As my work is about the yoga of relationships, I’m clear on the value of staying in alignment and ease in my relationship with my business and see retreats as one way to do that.  I’m a big believer in retreats.  I’ve facilitated retreats for more than 20 years and have written an award-winning retreat book, An Illumined Life ~ A Personal Yearly Retreat & Reflection Guide.   

Given my appreciation for retreats, I was bummed that I couldn’t go on this retreat.  After spending a couple of weeks grumbling to myself about how much I wanted to go, I finally got back in touch with the seed of my grumbling, the pure desire and recognition that I am long overdue for a business planning retreat.  

I’ve taken these retreats in the past and find them enormously beneficial – just me, a couple of packets of post-its, some sharpies and my open mind.  When I take myself on this kind of retreat, I find a place to go that is pretty close to home, book a room or cabin and play in the field of limitless possibility and uncover clear direction and focus for the year.  

Though filled with blue-sky thinking, I find that with some structure, I have greater clarity and success.  Typically, my schedule includes meditation, yoga, walking and work time.  During “work time,” I create a plan for my upcoming year.  I do this by following a format that suits me best with questions and prompts that I have designed to help me focus. 

The areas of focus includes:

  • Reflection on the highlights and successes from my previous year
  • Identification of challenges I’ve faced
  • Insights & lessons
  • Vision for upcoming year in each area of my business.
  • Goals that fulfill that vision.  This includes addressing goals in the specific areas of my business.  For instance, after visioning in each of the following areas, I create goals for each of these areas:  promotion, money matters, client care, care and feeding of my team, events, continuing education. 

After my visioning and goal planning, I’m ready to create a prioritized plan.  Each step of the way, I take a few minutes to contemplate and make sure that my goals are aligned with my Spirit.  With all this in place, by the end of my retreat, I have a book that I’m ready to send off to a print on demand service and I have a spiral bound business plan with specific goals to keep me on track for the year.  Some people like a 3 ring binder, I prefer a spiral bound planner.  To each her own. 

After reading Ellen’s blog for a while, I think my next retreat might include an astrological reading for my business!  What about you, what might your business planning retreat look like?  If you need any help, check out my friend, Sue’s retreat, or get in touch with me.

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A4B Today – August 11, Planning your Next Project

Source:Wikimedia Commons

Good Day!

Yesterday with the New Moon in Leo, we talked about picking a new project, an audacious project to develop during the coming month.  Did you pick yours?  If not, later in this post I’ll give you some hints as to where to look.

Today the Moon progresses into the sign Virgo, continuing the emergence of the new inspiration born at the New Moon.  With the Virgo energy we can begin the transformation of our bold idea into a solid, useful product.  How?  Using the Virgo traits of analysis, practicality, and an orientation toward service.  The seed that sprouted at the New Moon just begins to take shape today and in order to continue to grow it needs the detailed planning that only the Virgo energy can bring.  It needs the systems orientation and the love of craftsmanship and simplicity.  It needs an organized approach.

The Virgo Moon also joins Mercury in Virgo today.  This is excellent for getting a plan or drawing down on paper; the beginning of a chronicle of your process to refer to and expand as the project unfolds over the next month.  This planning process will help you to recognize the resources and tools you will need to pull it off.  A cash flow projection will help you to recognize whether you have adequate cash on hand or whether you need to tap other sources of funds.  And a project budget will reveal the total costs involved.

This is the kind of analysis that Virgo loves, things with initials like ROI and EBT.  Today is the perfect day to get your project plan in writing.  You can do it yourself or bring your team in to help, pulling the pieces together over the next couple of days while the Moon is in Virgo.  The Virgo energy will give you excellent attention to detail so that as the month ahead unfolds you’ll have a firm foundation on which to build your work and delegate assignments, knowing you’ve considered every angle right from the start.  And if you realize you missed something as you go along, add it to the plan so it’s in place next time you begin a new project.

Hints for your new project

In case you didn’t catch your next project idea, here are some hints based on where the New Moon in Leo emerged in your chart.  The New Moon was at 17 degrees of Leo on Monday night.  Simply look at your natal chart or the chart of your business for the house that contains 17 degrees of Leo and read the hints for that house below.  See if these keywords spark the new idea that’s waiting to be discovered.  If you don’t have your birthchart, see the sidebar for how to request one from this site.

1st House – apparel, make-up, ornamentation, the body, fitness.

2nd House – money, personal finances, investments, jewelry, gemstones, soil.

3rd House – learning, teaching, news, books, writing, transportation, tools, telecommunications.

4th House – land, real estate, housing, domestic products, property, the elderly, parenting, ancestry.

5th House – fun, recreation, sports, romance, art, children, humor.

6th House – health related matters, diet, food, pets, human resources, gardens, employment, customer service.

7th House – partnerships, legal affairs, relationships, conflict resolution, contracts, negotiations, coaching, culture.

8th House – taxes, inheritances, insurance, banking, venture capital, shareholders, conception, birth, death, legacies, metaphysics.

9th House – adult education, publishing, global matters, law, medicine, travel, religion.

10th House – Leadership, self-employment, honors, parenting, executives, hierarchies, boards of directors, heroes.

11th House – Community, team sports, social networking, politics, corporate responsibility.

12th House – Hospitals, nursing, institutions, military, charitable organizations, the underserved, trends.

Have a wonderful day and please share your new project idea with all of us in the comments section.

For an overview of the week, see the Astro4Business Weekly Forecast – Aug 9 – 15

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

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

The Moon


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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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Learning from the Behemoths

Cover Image, The Economist, August 29, 2009.

Cover Image, The Economist, August 29, 2009.

The August 29th issue of The Economist featured a cover story called “Big is Back:  The Return of the Corporate Giant”.  The magazine cover pictured a huge whale with a tiny person bouncing around on the jet issuing from the whale’s spout – I guess that’s you and me, small business owners.  I was in the airport when I saw it and I had to grab the magazine:  the whale is a key symbol of the sign Pisces. 

With Uranus in Pisces and moving into Aries soon, I’ve been thinking a lot about innovation (Uranus) in companies at the end of their life cycle (Pisces).  What did they do to embrace the energies of Uranus in Pisces?  And how will they transition themselves into the kind of entrepreneurial companies that will survive the transition to Aries?  What innovations are they bringing in now that will carry them over the cusp into the new part of the cycle?

The end or the beginning?

During the Pisces stage of the business life cycle, the business has gotten so big it has begun to come apart at the seams.  At this stage of the cycle, there are so many “hands in the pot” so to speak that the company runs the risk of dispersing in all directions.  The company needs to focus on how to transition from the dissolution stage (Pisces) into the next stage of the cycle, the entrepreneurial stage (Aries).

But The Economist is saying these businesses are not nearing their end but staging a comeback! 

With Uranus having been in Pisces the last seven years, there has been innovation in this part of the cycle that has allowed certain companies to thrive while others have collapsed.  So what innovations have these large companies made that earns them an “end of cycle” feature on the cover of The Economist and an exhaustive study in a major new business book, SuperCorp: How Vangaurd Companies Create Innovation, Profits, Growth, and Social Good ?  How have they been able to survive?  What will become of them as we move into Uranus in Aries?  And most important, are there lessons we can learn that will help us make the transition as well?

Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Professor at Harvard Business School, sums it up this way in SuperCorp:

The best of this breed aspire to be big but human, efficient but innovative, global but concerned about local communities.

Sounds a lot like Pisces to me.

What can the behemoths teach us?

Uranus will be in Pisces only a few more months.  During 2010 it progresses into Aries for five months and in 2011 it leaves Pisces permanently (well, about 80 years) and enters Aries where it will stay for the next seven years.  If we can anticipate the movement into Aries and how it will differ from the last seven years in Pisces, we’ll have a leg-up on the changes and innovations we’ll need to bring to our business in order to stay in touch with the current times.

And since, as The Economist states, “the most successful economic ecosystems contain a variety of big and small companies”, let’s see if there is some synergy we can develop between our small businesses and the behemoths.

Happy whale.  (Source:Wikipedia)

Happy whale. (Source:Wikipedia)

In coming posts we’ll look at some of these behemoths and how they have managed to stay viable through innovation.   A thorough look at this phenomena will yield insight into the coming times, beginning next year.  And let’s keep in mind the innovations we have brought to our businesses in the last seven years and how we may need a paradigm shift as Uranus enters Aries.

We’ve all been through this phase, either in our businesses or in other areas of our lives.  The Pisces to Aries transition is marked by dissolution of something that has gotten large and unwieldy and eventually finding that spark of your own individual self that allows you to start over with only your own resources to guide you – your inner pioneer.

So what have we seen in the last seven years with Uranus in Pisces and what is coming when Uranus moves into Aries?

To be continued…

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The Zodiac and the Business Life Cycle – Growth

Business Life Cycle

Business Life Cycle

Today we’ll continue looking at the zodiac and the business life cycle.  In the last post we examined Aries, Taurus, and Gemini and the start-up phase of the business life cycle.  Today we’ll look at the next phase, the growth phase.


At the Cancer stage, which corresponds to the solstice point in nature, we reach a major “make or break” point in the business cycle.  No longer in the start-up phase when we’re intent on fulfilling our own dreams, in order to grow our business  we have to begin to respond to the needs of our customers in order to generate additional revenue.  We may revise our original business plan based on feedback from our clients and customers to develop into areas that serve the customer and are profitable to us.  We may hire new employees to meet the demands of the business and this presents a major test in the business.  When employees begin to represent the business to others the business begins to develop a separate identity from the owner.  The Cancer qualities of receptivity, flexibility, and response to the needs of others are important at this stage.


In this phase we’ve made it through the first growth crisis and have arrived at the point where a more formal structure of leadership is needed to consolidate and perpetuate the growth of the business.  It is time for a leader, presumably the owner, to take charge and structure the business to deal with increased sales, customers, and employee issues.  With growth comes the challenge of steady profitability and at this stage there is a constant array of challenges bidding for time and money.  Effective leadership is critical to make decisions and stay on course.  In the Leo phase, the traits of courage, leadership and vision are important to pilot the business to success.


At the Virgo stage the company needs to professionalize management and develop consistency, training, and customer service.  More administrative elements are necessary and more complex accounting and management systems need to be set up.  Leadership should focus on training and delegation to free them to plan and prepare for the expansion to come in the next phase.  Formal business analysis is necessary to make sure the business is on the right track and can sustain itself without hands-on guidance from the owners.  To increase efficiency, documentation of business processes, policies, and procedures is important at this stage.  The Virgo’s penchant for analysis, order, organization, and detail are critical to the business in this phase.

We’re now half way through the zodiac, and ready for the next transition in the business cycle.  In the next post we’ll take the next step and move into the expansion phase.


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The Zodiac and the Business Life Cycle – Start-up

Hello, everyone.

Writing to you from outside London, in Sevenoaks, Kent.  I’m staying in an apartment with a sweet back yard full of flowers, apples, and plums, lush, green, and about 20 F degrees colder than Georgia, USA!  Change of scenery, change of pace, Mars in Cancer still working its way through my life.  How about yours?

In recent weeks we’ve looked at long-term influences correlated to the slower-moving planets with an eye to understanding current and future conditions that will have a bearing on our business plans for 2010.  We’re getting there!  We’ve looked at Pluto in Capricorn, Neptune in Aquarius, Saturn in Virgo, and we’ve begun looking at Uranus. 

Before we examine Uranus in the sign of Pisces, I want to give an overview of the cycle of the zodiac and the standard business life cycle.  The progression through the zodiac is a map of the natural cycles of development and change that all life goes through, including the life cycle of a business. Over the next few posts, we’ll look at these natural cycles and how they are also reflected in business life cycles.


Business Life Cycle

Business Life Cycle

In Aries, a fire sign ruled by Mars, the spark of life is new.  In business, this is the pre-start up phase, when the idea has just formed.  This is a highly entrepreneurial* time, when the owner is evaluating his or her personal reasons for going into business, making the decision to begin operating a business, and deciding what type of business he or she will begin.  This is also referred to as the “seed stage” in the business life cycle and the focus is on perceiving the business opportunities at hand and matching them with the owner’s skills, experience, and passions.  *(Entrepreneur in English is a term applied to the type of personality who is willing to [begin] a new venture or enterprise and accepts full responsibility for the outcome. Source:Wikipedia)

Whether a new product, or an established product or service in a new location or market, this is the initiatory phase, the spark has ignited but it has not burst into form yet.  At this stage the Aries traits of courage, independence, and enthusiasm are apparent.


This is the stage of business development when the spark of Aries begins to take a form.  Taurus is an earth sign ruled by Venus, and as such, is concerned with manifesting an idea in the physical world. At this stage the business owner chooses and registers the name and opens a bank account in the business name. There may be research and product development, obtaining financing, and setting up the legal structure for the business.

This is the phase when products or services begin to be in production, and when there begins to be a customer base and market presence.  Hopefully at this phase the business begins to create cash flow.  The Taurus traits of practicality, persistence, and patience are needed at this stage.


Gemini, an air sign ruled by Mercury, brings to the business sales and marketing efforts, signing procurement contracts, setting up the bookkeeping, and obtaining the necessary licensing.  In this phase advisors such as accountants and lawyers are chosen and usually the form of the business, whether incorporated, limited, or sole proprietorship is chosen and legally established.  Producing sales and services to generate cash flow becomes a major focus for the business.

The Gemini traits of versatility, rationality, and communications ability are important to the developing business at this stage.

These are the signs that correspond to the start-up phase of a business life cycle.  Once these initial steps have been taken, more complexities come into play, as we’ll examine in the next few posts.

Mercury Retrograde Stories

Any Mercury retrograde stories?  I’ve got one.  My daughter-in-law Natasha went to the train station today to buy a monthly commuter ticket for her job that starts tomorrow in London.  The very nice man at the ticket counter said that the computerized ticketing system had been down all day and they were trying not to sell tickets today because they would have to process them manually.  She had to patiently wait (she’s a Taurus) as the man repeated himself eight times that he was trying not to sell her a ticket.  Her Taurus persistence won out and she finally bought the ticket, although we’re hoping it is in the system by tomorrow morning at 6:30 when she has to catch the train.

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Uranus – Change Agent

Unpredictable.  Erratic.  Unforeseeable.  Disruptive.

When you read these words, how do you feel?

How about these?

Innovative.  Original.  Ground-breaking.  Unconventional.


These are all Uranian words, and all attributes of change.  It’s been said many times that the one certain thing in this world is change.  Change is possibly the most fundamental attribute of our lives. 

How does a business person respond to the inevitability of change and the fact that some changes are utterly unforeseeable?  What does “built to last” really mean?  Does it mean that we build a structure, an unchanging edifice for our businesses, and depend on it to always remain? 

Since denying, resisting, or avoiding change is ultimately futile, how then do we plan for, even welcome, the unpredictability of Uranian energy in our business strategies?

Business Management 101

In Business Management 101, we learn that our business success depends on anticipating and responding to change effectively.  The forces of change can be external or internal.  Some examples of external forces we are currently experiencing are recession, unemployment, the dominance of the internet, technological advances, government regulation, high cost of fuel oil, the global economy, and the proliferation of mega-stores, from Wal-Mart to the Starbucks opening down the street from your café.

Internal changes can include changes in employee attitudes and behavior, the loss of a key employee, training and education, your changing personal situation, temporary or permanent lack of motivation and drive, and many other factors.

“Force-field” Theory

HST image of Uranus showing cloud bands, rings, and moons. (Source:Wikipedia)

HST image of Uranus showing cloud bands, rings, and moons. (Source:Wikipedia)

What is the most effective way to work with change in our business?  An interesting theory to explore according to astrological theory is the “force-field” theory of Kurt Lewin.  It says that there is a constant interchange of driving forces and restraining forces.    Driving forces may be new technologies, new materials, new competitors, while restraining forces may be group performance norms, fear of change, and complacency.  An interesting thing about this theory is that an increase in driving forces causes a corresponding increase in restraining forces.

In astrological symbolism, Saturn is the restraining force.  As the furthest planet visible to the naked eye, for millions of years it represented for humanity the outer boundary of the known, the controllable, the foreseeable.  It symbolizes the wall we erect between our current status and the outer forces of change.  It serves to protect and preserve that which we have so carefully created.  Uranus, on the other hand, was the first planet to be discovered after the telescope was developed and represents societal forces for innovation and progress. 

Saturn as seen on Cassini Mission (Source:Wikipedia)

Saturn as seen on Cassini Mission (Source:Wikipedia)

But what happens when these two titans are pitted against each other?  According to the Lewin theory above, as one gets stronger the other will get stronger too.  So the stronger the pressure to change, the stronger the resistance will be.

In astrological theory, the outer planets, societal forces for change, will always eventually overwhelm the inner planets, our personal goals, desires, and resistances.  The power of the outer planets is impersonal and has to do with the evolution of life on earth as a whole.  People will change, technologies will change, global distribution systems will change, industrial methods will change, and the market will demand different products.

The Lewin theory suggests that since driving forces activate their own restraining forces, the most effective way to handle change is to work to decrease restraining forces. But in astrological terms we never want to diminish the Saturn force of protection and preservation too much – it is the edifice we build to contain and actualize change.  We must find the way to consciously open to the power of Uranus by easing, not diminishing, the power of Saturn.   

Strategies to work with Uranus

So how do we decrease the resistance to change in ourselves and our employees?  Here is a list of strategies that allow us to open to Uranus but work with Saturn too:

  • First of all, by understanding the inevitability of change. 
  • Secondly, welcoming, setting a place at the table for innovation.  Building creative innovation into our business plans. 
  • Actively projecting the probable future during the business planning process. 
  • Staying aware of the trends and issues facing society and actively engaging with them.
  • Making the unfamiliar, familiar through training. 
  • Appointing a change agent in our business, either our self or another, who takes the leadership role in anticipating and managing change.   
  • Actively seeking the counsel of our employees, especially younger and newer employees.  Taking on a mentor from a younger generation. 
  • Adopting and maximizing new technologies.


How do you stay open to the forces of change?  What techniques do you use to welcome innovation?  How have you successfully decreased your resistance to the new?  Please share your tips in the comments below.

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Business Planning Step 1 – the big picture

We’ve been talking about Saturn in Virgo, and how this is the perfect energy for business planning.  You may want to review those posts before beginning this Step.  You will find them under the “Saturn in Virgo” category in the column to the right.

OK, here we go.  Are you ready?  Let’s take the first step by looking ahead to 2010.  What will the general trends be?

Starting from the most outer planets, let’s begin with Pluto in Capricorn.  You may want to review the posts on Pluto in Capricorn under that category to the right before you begin. 

Pluto will remain in Capricorn for the next fourteen years, so little by little we will learn to take advantage of this trend.  The following are some of my predictions about how this energy will play out

  • Real estate will become a good investment again, in the way it used to be:  a solid, slow-growing asset that is the largest piece of most people’s financial wealth.  A dependable, if illiquid investment.
  • Conservation of the earth’s resources will be a major focus.
  • More and more people will go into business for themselves.
  • Body-based therapies will replace psychological and spiritual therapies.
  • People will be looking for new traditions and ceremonies to build into their lives.
  • A very strong materialism will be apparent, with a focus on the old-fashioned and traditional, such as antiques and conventional homes.
  • Services for the elderly will be more required as the baby-boomers start to get into retirement age.
  • Elderly people will be working productively well into their later years, by choice or not!
  • Consumers will be risk-adverse and will respond well to money-back guarantees, warranties, and service commitments.



Step 1.  Make a list of anything you are doing now in your business that takes advantage of these trends.

Step 2.  Review the list you made in Step 1.  How well are these initiatives working?  Write 3 specific actions you can take to improve, maintain, or stop the ones that are not successful.

Step 3.  Dream.  Think about the Pluto in Capricorn energy.  Hold it in your awareness and ask yourself, what can I do that would really capture this energy in my business?  Write down whatever comes to mind.  You may want to stop here and let this energy sink in.  Other ideas may come in the form of inspirations or dreams.

Step 4.  Pick one or more items from Step 3 and write 3 specific actions you can take to implement these strategies.

Step 5.  From Steps 1 through 4, pick 1 or 2 items to carry into the next phase of the process.  You may have to choose among several good alternatives.  That’s OK.  At each step in the process, you will have to narrow your options in order to create a reasonable, practical, achievable plan.


Good job!  When you’re finished, move on to the next step. 


By the way, I tried the process myself.  I particularly resonated with “more and more people going into business for themselves”, “real estate as a good investment”, and “services for the elderly”.  I’m as curious as you are about where the process will take me!

Let us all know in the comments below how you did with this first step.

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