Archive for category Introduction to Astrology for Business

4 Ways to Benefit from Mars retrograde

Apparent retrograde motion of Mars in 2003. (Source:Wikipedia)

Apparent retrograde motion of Mars in 2003. (Source:Wikipedia)

“Three steps forward; two steps back”:  sounds like Mars in retrograde motion.  This coming Sunday, December 20th, Mars appears to stand still for a few days and then begins retrograde motion.  Retrograde motion is when a planet appears from the earth to be moving backward in the sky.

Mars entered the sign of Leo (see category at right) in mid-October and has zoomed through 19 degrees of that sign.  (Each sign has 30 degrees.)  Now it will begin to backtrack, moving all of the way back to the beginning of Leo before it stops and begins moving ahead again in March.  Three steps forward, three steps back!

Mars represents our energy, effort, and will.  It is the urge to take action, to pursue our goals, to make it happen.  It represents the part of us that is competitive and motivated.  In the business world, it shows how effective we are in setting goals and achieving them.  Here are four ways to get the best from Mars retrograde.

1.      Revisit and review

With Mars in retrograde motion, retracing all of the ground it covered since mid-October, we can expect to revisit and review all the progress we’ve made since then.  This is an opportunity to take another look at our goals; are we accomplishing what we intended?  Although it may feel like stepping back or treading water, it’s a chance to recheck our direction.  Have we compromised our original intention?  Are we on the right track?  It’s a time to pause and consider whether new information has become available that should cause a course-correction.

2.      Set new productivity goals

In the chart of a business, Mars represents operations, productivity, and the skills of the second tier of leadership.  These may falter over the next couple of months.  The line managers and supervisors you’ve come to rely upon may experience a setback and productivity may fall.  This is in the natural order and serves the same purpose as above:  are you on the right track with your staff?  Are your expectations for productivity reasonable?  Are people working on the right projects, tackling the important assignments?

3.      Pull back and regroup

Mars also represents your competitive nature and the nature of your competitors.  If you feel you are losing ground during this period, it’s best to pull back and regroup rather than trying to overcome the opposition.  Remember, Mars is in retrograde motion for everyone, including the competition.  Use this time to plan your next move so you’re ready to act when the time comes.

4.      Experiment

Mars rules our own personal productivity.  You may feel lethargic and less than enthusiastic during its retrograde period.  Or you may persistently feel you are falling behind.  If so, take it as a sign to focus on inner work rather than outer accomplishment.  Retrograde periods are usually very useful for delving deeper into an endeavor, even though it may look like very little is being accomplished on the outside.  Explore new tools and techniques and new styles of working.  Experiment with alternate ways to maintain your productivity, such as working from home, outsourcing, or additional delegation. 

With Mars retrograde, it may look like three steps back.  It may especially feel like three steps back.  But used well, it is a fertile preparation time for renewed motion and solid gains come March.

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Astro4Business Week – December 7, 2009

Phases of the Moon, as seen from the Northern Hemisphere. The Southern hemisphere will see a mirror image of this phase. (Source:Wikipedia)

Phases of the Moon, as seen from the Northern Hemisphere. The Southern hemisphere will see a mirror image of this phase. (Source:Wikipedia)

Hello, everyone.

This week should be pretty smooth, once we get past Monday.  No planets change sign, we’ve got a waning Moon, and Hanukah begins on Friday at sunset.

Monday

Monday features two transits to Mercury.  The first is Mercury’s annual conjunction of the planet Pluto.  We’ve been examining Pluto in Capricorn a lot in this blog – turmoil and renewal in the business, economic, and governmental structures of our lives.  (For more on Pluto in Capricorn, see category at right.) With the Mercury conjunction you may finally understand the extent to which this Pluto transit is affecting you.  Serious conversations could ensue regarding the nuts and bolts of your business:  controls, inventory, sales, and IT could come under scrutiny. 

Late on Monday Mercury in Capricorn will square Saturn in Libra.  This will bring even more mental focus into your day.  You may be required to compromise as you look to business relationships and alliances for the systems and structure you need.

Thursday

On Thursday, the Sun in Sagittarius trines Mars in Leo.  This brings motivation and problem solving capability.  If expansion is on your mind, today you will feel the urge to take action and make it happen.  The themes of the day are initiative, decisiveness, and accomplishment.

Friday

HanukahHanukah begins at sunset on this 25th day of the lunar month of Kislev in the Jewish calendar. This Festival of Lights commemorates “the miracle of the container of oil.”  From Wikipedia:

According to the Talmud at the re-dedication following the victory of the Maccabees over the Seleucid Empire, there was only enough consecrated olive oil to fuel the eternal flame in the Temple for one day. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days, which was the length of time it took to press, prepare and consecrate fresh olive oil.

If you celebrate Hanukah, have a blessed festival of lights.

 

Let me know how your week goes.

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Predator or Prey?

Today, the Sun enters the zodiac sign Scorpio.  When I think of Scorpio, I think of deep, intense, financially intertwined relationships.  These are not the mind-to-mind intellectual partnerships of the previous sign, Libra.  These are the “’til death do us part” kind, where the commitment is made deeply and emotionally.   This is the palm-to-palm blood tie that so mixes the energy of the two entities that they are irrevocably changed forever.  These are relationships that demand and require utterly trustworthy behavior and that can brook no betrayal.

Scorpius as depicted in Urania's Mirror, a set of constellation cards published in London c.1825. (Source:Wikipedia)

Scorpius as depicted in Urania's Mirror, a set of constellation cards published in London c.1825. (Source:Wikipedia)

These relationships show up in business too.  In fact, business is built on these kinds of committed and interdependent financial connections.  We may not ceremoniously mark them (and maybe we should) but they exist just the same. 

I was thinking about the Sun entering Scorpio when I came across a report by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) about opportunities for Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) in a downturn.  For those of us in small business, what they call M&A, we call buying a business or selling one. 

In honor of the Sun moving into Scorpio I thought I’d share some insights from the article with you as some of the points are relevant to small business owners, too. 

Predator or Prey?

M&A language makes use of the words “predators” and “prey” to convey the sense of the buyer looking for an advantage and the seller looking for their own advantage.  Instead of something dark and dangerous, a predator is someone with the financial and operational strength to purchase a business.  And prey is a self-identified state meaning a business that recognizes that it is ready and actually anxious to be sold, rather than liquidated.

Do these two words, predator and prey, make you uncomfortable?  They did me, especially as I was searching for an image for this post.  All of the Wikipedia images for “predator” were gory nature scenes of some larger or fiercer animal devouring a dying, helpless smaller one.  But let’s agree for our purposes that there is a mutual choice involved and a positive outcome for both parties.

Many, many companies have become prey as a result of the current reshaping of the global economy.  As the authors note, “The last two years have seen the biggest jolt to the global economy since the crash of 1929, which ushered in the Great Depression of the 1930s.”  Prey are businesses that have been hard-hit by the credit crunch – they are companies with immediate financing needs that cannot borrow the funds they need or can do so only by incurring unacceptably high costs.

Are you in this situation?  Has it occurred to you that instead of liquidating assets and laying off staff, you may offer your business to a predator for sale?  And that doing it now rather than waiting may be most advantageous? 

The BCG article delineates a difference between a prey and a liquidator.  A prey is a company with financial difficulties but it does not have operating problems.  This is a business that is not meeting its debt payments but is still profitable.  A liquidator is a business with financial problems and negative earnings.  A prey is a good target for a predator; a liquidator is on their own to sell off their separate assets.

The value of a business is based upon its capacity to generate earnings in the future.  The prey has much more value than the liquidator because it is still a profitable enterprise.  This is why it’s important to recognize your own situation before drastic measures to meet debt payments cause you to undercut your profitability, and therefore your value.

And what puts you into the position of predator?  Even in these times, many companies are still financially sound with strong balance sheets, high profitability, and sufficient cash to purchase another business.  The article notes that during the Great Depression, companies such as IBM and Procter & Gamble used acquisitions to place them in better competitive positions in later years.  If your situation is financially sound, this is an excellent time to purchase a distressed business.  According to the authors’ extensive research, “M&A is more likely to create value [for the buyer] in a downturn than in an upturn.”

But how do you identify the right deal?  The first success factor is to be financially and operationally healthy yourself and to choose a target that is still operating efficiently and profitably.  Another interesting success factor is to choose a business outside of your own core competency.  Why?  Because if you are overconfident in your own industry, you will be more likely to overpay for the acquisition!  You also may be able to see opportunities in another industry that insiders cannot spot.

Due Diligence

Of course, it’s highly critical that you take the time to do proper analysis of a potential purchase.  You must thoroughly and rigorously examine the company you are considering so that you’re not left with undisclosed problems after the deal is completed.

But it’s a perfect environment to take a realistic risk.  And whether you are predator or prey, you can create a win/win situation for each party.  If you sell your business as a whole, you are much more likely to receive a value greater than the sum of the assets sold.  And if you are a buyer at this time, you may be able to pick up a better bargain now than at any time in the future, in addition to helping a struggling business person cope with the undeserved fallout from these economic times.

Have you considered buying or selling?  Have you bought or sold a business in the past?  Share your insights with all of us in the comments section.

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The Creativity of Business

Hi, everyone.

For many years I didn’t link the word “creativity” with the word “business”.  I had creativity firmly in one camp, meaning all those activities that my artist friends engaged in – writing, painting, clay, film, music.  And business was what I engaged in – operations, management, accounting, marketing, training, mentoring, planning. 

As someone with many planets in the house of creative self-expression in my horoscope, I kept waiting for the time I would be able to express my creativity, whatever it was!  I knew it must be there because my horoscope said it was, but I thought it must be waiting for sometime in the future to reveal itself.Celestia_sun

When planets are in Leo I think a lot about creative self-expression, because Leo is the sign of letting our own light shine, exhibiting our own talents and unique place in the world.  It is also a sign of perseverance, of not giving up, of retaining enough confidence in our ability to achieve our goals that we keep applying our energy to the task.

Now I’m looking back on my long years in business and my present efforts to start anew after a ten-year hiatus immersing myself in my spiritual life.  From this vantage point I recognize the immense creativity that is required of any business person in any field.

Just thinking about my current clients I can see how each day they bring their full creative selves to their businesses.  I think about one client who is a Real Estate Broker, how she constantly must think of new and creative ways to market her inventory, especially in this environment.  Or another client who, after years as a nurse, is embarking on realizing her dream of starting a sustainable farm.  The hot-dog vendor who expanded her business into a thriving delicatessen.  The physical therapist transitioning her business to teaching and writing.

In fact, I had a client tell me the other day that she had spoken to an astrologer who had admonished her for not pursuing a more creative career.  As a successful businesswoman in a major industry she said to me, “What made him think there isn’t creativity in developing teams, and strategies, and business plans, and in figuring out how to remodel organizations?”

All of these are creative acts.  And acts of courage, which is hand in hand with creativity and another aspect of the sign of Leo.

In astrology the house that rules creativity is also the house of children:  children of the mind, children of the body, children of the soul.  For every business person, our business is like our child, an entity we created out of our own fervor and passion and that we constantly guide and protect as it grows.  It is our work of art, and we continually shepherd it through outer and inner cycles of change.

Creativity, courage, perseverance, inspiration – these are the qualities of any business person.  Let’s own our art – the art of risk-taking, innovation, recognizing opportunity, and developing talents in others.  The art of pursuing day after day our own vision of what can be.  The art of finance and honing our own field of knowledge.  The art of leadership.  The art of conversation and negotiation.  And all the myriad other creative acts that are part of our daily business lives.

Toot your own horn.  Let us all know in the comments section how you express your creativity in your business.

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Seven Classic Skills for Innovation

A personification of innovation as represented by a statue in The American Adventure in the World Showcase pavilion of Walt Disney World's Epcot.(Source:Wikipedia)

A personification of innovation as represented by a statue in The American Adventure in the World Showcase pavilion of Walt Disney World's Epcot.(Source:Wikipedia)

Hi, everyone.

I’ve been doing a lot of research lately on innovation.  I’ve been interested in this because Uranus, the planet that represents innovation, is moving from Pisces into Aries next year.  I’ve often found if I can thoroughly understand the present, I can usually predict the future. So I’m committed to understanding what has unfolded in business innovation in the last seven years so I can advise my clients about what to expect when Uranus moves into Aries.

One of the books I’ve been studying is Rosabeth Moss Kanter’s SuperCorps:  How Vanguard Companies Create Innovation, Profits, Growth, and Social Good.  Moss Kanter outlines seven classic skills for innovation and I thought I’d restate them in astrological terms.  See if you resonate more with one or another.

1.     Tune into the broader context:  see needs and opportunities through firsthand experience with the wider world

What’s wrong in our world?  What needs fixing?  Some of the best ideas come from firsthand experience, situational awareness, of the world beyond the borders of our businesses.  To increase this awareness, some companies send their employees into actual customer situations.   Proctor and Gamble sent a high-ranking manager to live with a low-income family with two babies for a week to get a feel for the real lives of their Brazilian customers. 

In astrology, a strong Jupiter influence indicates a leader who wants to explore alternate ways of being, thinking, living, and learning – someone who can recognize need and opportunity.

2.     “Kaleidoscope thinking”:  turn conventional wisdom on its head and find creative approaches that let a new pattern form

I love this image, “kaleidoscope thinking”, don’t you?  Where you take all of the factors and everything you think you know about them and then splinter them into new pieces to let a new pattern emerge.  Sounds like taking the wisdom of the known (Saturn) and putting it through the looking glass of innovation (Uranus) and creativity (Neptune).

3.     Articulate a compelling vision:  formulate an idea people can believe in and sell it effectively

Sometimes a compelling vision comes from deep in the leader’s creative heart (Neptune) and sometimes from the ground up, from the people around us (Uranus).  Formulating it into an idea (Mercury) that engages people at their core (Neptune), we then need to communicate well and effectively (Mercury).

4.     Build a coalition of committed backers and supporters:  engage stakeholders whose support is necessary to move forward

This point is about keeping everyone with an interest in the project up to date and informed at every step of the way.  Dropping that email to a colleague, reporting on progress to a potential client, building a relationship with a blogger who can let their contacts know what’s coming.   And often you don’t know which supporter will be important at some step in the future, so the impetus must come from a genuine sense of inclusion.  Stakeholders, backers, supporters, these are all represented by the Moon and all that communication takes a strong and active Mercury.

5.    Develop and support the working team:  motivate people to work hard for a common goal 

Where does the common goal come from?  It may come from the leader (the Sun) but these days it is more and more a product of the working team, through their deep understanding of the needs of the end user, the customer.  And how do you develop and motivate the team?  Development comes from training and exposure (Jupiter) and motivation is a process of understanding and meeting people’s needs (Moon) and aspirations (Mars).    

As Moss Kanter says, “A vanguard company is only as good as its leaders’ ability to attract, motivate, and retain skilled people and enable them to self-organize and collaborate.” 

6.     Persist and persevere through the difficult middle stages when innovation is still fragile

Many innovative ideas are hatched in a piecemeal fashion and it’s not until they are implemented that fundamental challenges are uncovered.  When persistence and perseverance (Saturn and Mars) are working together there is willingness to keep on keeping on until all of the underlying issues are exposed (Pluto) and resolved.

7.     Celebrate success by making everyone a hero

This is where the leader steps aside and celebrates everyone in the organization.  And that means everyone.  Celebration of each milestone is extremely important to everyone in the company and fosters a spirit of ongoing innovation and enterprise.  Celebrating (Jupiter and Venus) all of the workers (Moon) leads to creative innovation.  You never know where the next inspiration will come from! 

Did any of these classic skills resonate more with you than others?  It may be you have more of that planet’s influence in your chart.  Keeping all of them in mind and working on developing one or two will keep innovation fresh in us and in those around us.

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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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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.

 

Process

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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Mars in Cancer – the Pandavas in exile

The central figure is Yudhishthira ; the two to his left are Bhima and Arjuna . Nakula and Sahadeva are to his right. Their wife, at far right, is Draupadi. Deogarh, Dasavatar temple. (Source:Wikipedia)

The central figure is Yudhishthira ; the two to his left are Bhima and Arjuna . Nakula and Sahadeva are to his right. Their wife, at far right, is Draupadi. Deogarh, Dasavatar temple. (Source:Wikipedia)

When I was writing the forecast for this week and thinking about Mars moving into the sign of Cancer, I kept remembering the Pandava brothers from the Indian epic, The MahabharataThe Mahabharata is an awesome, complex story in which the righteous heir to the throne, Yudishthira, loses his kingdom in a game of dice to his evil cousin.  He and his four brothers are exiled from their lands for thirteen years with the additional condition that during the thirteenth year they must be kept completely hidden. If anyone located them, they would have to spend another 12 years in exile.

Yudishthira and his brothers were known far and wide for their stupendous skills as warriors and for their weapons which were forged by the gods.  One display of these famous weapons and their whereabouts would immediately be recognized.  So they stowed their weapons in a tall tree in a cemetery and went into disguise for the year.  Each brother adopted a different cover and dwelled in the court of a righteous foreign king. 

This story of the exile of the warriors and hiding of the weapons reminded me so much of Mars in Cancer.  For the next two months we will make very little progress toward new or competitive goals, so what should we do?  How can we avoid being frustrated by our lack of momentum?  I turned to the Pandavas to see what we can learn from them to apply to our business lives between now and mid-October – our “warrior in hiding” time!

The Disguises

Yudishthira, the eldest and most righteous brother, put on the garments of a mendicant, a philosopher, and an expert in the game of dice.  He offered himself to the king as his companion.

Bheema, the strongest brother and the one most prone to anger and temper, offered his services as the chief cook in the kitchen of the king.  Cooking had always been his hobby and he used this proficiency to his advantage during this time.  He also was put in charge of the king’s gymnasium where he trained youngsters in the art of wrestling.

Arjuna, the greatest archer of his time, had once visited his father, Indra, the king of heaven, and had been cursed by a heavenly dancing girl for refusing her offer of love.  She cursed the virile Arjuna to spend a year as a eunuch.  During their year of hiding, Arjuna took advantage of this curse.  Versed in the dancing, singing, and music arts, he offered to train the women in the king’s harem to be singers and dancers.

Nakula, the most sensitive and beautiful brother, was an ancient times horse whisperer.  He demonstrated his power to the king and the king put him in charge of the stables.

Sahadeva was the wisest and most diplomatic of the Pandava brothers.  He was talented at gently coaxing cows to yield the best milk.  Since the king’s chief wealth was his cattle, he offered these services to the king.

The Take-aways

Of course these classic stories are open to many levels of interpretation, but here is my take.  Generally each brother, upon relinquishing the weapons he normally relied upon, turned to another skill in their possession and brought it forward.  They set alternate goals to achieve success during the time.

Yudishthira became philosopher and teacher, and interestingly, taught the king the very skill, dice, that he had played so badly he had lost his entire birthright.  Take-away:  Use this time to hone a skill to perfection that has caused you trouble in the past.

Bheema offered a hobby he loved and also mentored young people in his skill as a warrior.  Take-away:  Focus on fulfilling an alternate pastime and use this time to mentor others in your primary skills.

Arjuna used the time to discharge a difficult karmic debt to his advantage by accepting the curse to become a eunuch and teaching music and dancing.  Take-away:  use this time to address a difficulty in your business that you’ve been putting off.  Find an area where you must acknowledge a debt and make it right.

Nakula brought his hidden psychic qualities to the fore and became head of the horse stables.  Take-away:  Embrace the passivity of the period and dream.  Bring forward and develop inner skills and qualities you can put to use when the energy thrusts forward again.

Sahadeva worked with the king’s cows to get them to produce the best milk.  Take-away:  Focus on one aspect of your business you usually don’t have time for, perhaps a research and development project, and see if you can really perfect the process or product.

Let me know how you plan to make the most of these next two Mars in Cancer months.  What alternate ways will you employ to keep you and your team motivated?

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Astro4Business Week – August 24

Phases of the Moon, as seen from the Northern Hemisphere. The Southern hemisphere will see a mirror image of this phase. (Source:Wikipedia)

Phases of the Moon, as seen from the Northern Hemisphere. The Southern hemisphere will see a mirror image of this phase. (Source:Wikipedia)

Hello, everybody.

This week is dominated by an opposition between Pluto in Capricorn and Mars in Cancer, which is in play all week and exact on Wednesday.   Many astrologers are making dire predictions about these two planets opposing each other in the sky, everything from earthquakes and tidal waves to terrorism to further economic collapse.  But let’s look a little deeper at these energies and how they might affect our business lives this week.

Mars in Cancer

Mars is the energy of the warrior, the part of each of us that protects and defends what we think is ours, and takes what we desire from others.  Mars is self-referential, and procreative, strong, fiery, willful, and aggressive.  If Mars doesn’t like something, he says so; if Mars sees injustice, he defends; if Mars is challenged, he responds with force.

There is a time, though, when every warrior retreats back to the tribe, back to home and hearth for rest and rejuvenation.  This is Mars in Cancer, and this is the phase that Mars will enter this week, just before encountering Pluto in Capricorn.  Mars in Cancer, which lasts until mid-October, is the weakest time for the Mars energy.  The fire is out; our internal fighting forces are exhausted.  At this time Mars gathers the tribe around him and becomes passive and timid, depending on others to defend the home turf. 

It’s not that there can be no accomplishment while Mars is in Cancer; it’s that we all must figure out alternative ways to achieve our goals.  At this time, we cannot rely only on ourselves for courage, enthusiasm, and assertiveness; we must rely on the people around us.  Even though our individual competitive energy is weak at this time, the collective energy of the group around us is strong.  This means relying on others, our employees, our collaborators, and our team to accomplish what we cannot accomplish on our own.

This is not to say you will necessarily be content with this weakened vitality.  Some will welcome with relief a period of escape from the need to defend every challenge.  Others will feel bitter and resentful with their inability to overcome.  The worst feature of Mars in Cancer can be a passive aggressive stance where covert operations take the place of overt strategies.  And remember, this energy is just as likely to surface in yourself as in others.

Pluto in Capricorn

We’ve spoken at length about Pluto in Capricorn.  In a nutshell, this is a long transit which will bring fundamental change to many of the structures we have come to rely upon:  government, banks, industries, transport systems.  It is the energy of revolution and evolution and it can be dramatic and at times overwhelming.  It exposes what is hidden, for better or for worse, and usually now, at the beginning of the cycle, we become more aware of the worse rather than the better.

Mars opposing Pluto

When a personal planet like Mars crosses Pluto it opens a channel for the Plutonian energy to enter our personal and business lives.  Normally, when Mars and Pluto form a difficult aspect in the sky, the warrior in us fighting against forces of irrevocable change, immense conflicts can erupt.  But with Mars in Cancer, the warrior is at home.  He may have gathered the whole tribe to defend his territory, but he’s certainly not out looking for a fight.  When Pluto comes knocking, Mars may hand him a cup of tea and a fresh-baked sweet roll. 

So how can we respond to these energies?  There may be massive disruptions in your business this week.   External, even global, forces may impinge upon you, but don’t expect your normal levels of dynamic response and courage.  Put away your weapons:  reliance on and bonding with others is the key to success.  Anything you can do to bring about heartfelt connection among the folks in your business will be a stronger weapon than a direct fight.  You may even join with a competitor to challenge or resist a common enemy. 

An unexpected guest

And there’s a third character on the field this week, a mediator and a welcome guest.  Mercury, the planet of the rational mind, communications, and negotiations is leaving the sign of Virgo and entering the sign of Libra.  From its position in Libra, it forms an aspect to both Pluto and Mars. In contact with both sides of the battle, Mercury brings a message of reconciliation and a desire for win/win outcomes for all.  So look for the diplomat, someone who steps into the middle of the confrontation and helps to craft a workable solution.  There is a reasonable and tactful ally who can balance the incoming Pluto disruption and the passive Mars response.  It may even be you!

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