Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Organizational Astrology

By Fern Feto Spring

If you think astrology and business don't mix, think again. Over the centuries astrology has been used by kings, leaders and other powerful figures to help guide the timing of major political and financial decisions. J.P. Morgan famously said, "Millionaires don't use astrologers, billionaires do." Morgan was known for routinely consulting his famous astrologer Evangeline Adams for advice on both his business and personal life. Adams also counted Charles Schwab, J. Paul Getty Sr. and Joseph Campbell among her clients, and she was well known in the early 1900's for her high profile and successful astrological practice.

So how can astrology be useful to businesses in the modern era? Astrologers today consult with record labels, production companies and hedge funds. Providing advice from everything ranging to the timing of record releases, to the best new hire, modern astrologers are continuing an age old tradition of offering advice and counsel based on their knowledge of the cycles of nature, and the relationships of these cycles to our personal and professional lives.

Like the use of the Enneagram, astrology can also help to identify and isolate personality traits in individuals that lead to a greater understanding of how and why they work the way they do. The astrological chart shows both the potential of an individual, event or business, and also specific characteristics and patterns that will emerge over time.

In my own practice working with businesses and organizations, I have been called on to analyze the charts of new and potential hires, lead workshops at staff retreats, and analyze communication patterns amongst staff based on their astrological charts.

When explaining my services to new clients, it's often necessary to do a certain amount of educating about how and when astrology can be helpful, and explain the difference between "sun sign" astrology, and the more in depth astrology that I use in my practice. Most of us are familiar with "sun sign" astrology. Based on the sign your sun was in on the date you were born, certain characteristics and qualities associated with that sign are said to describe who you are. Newspaper horoscopes and books about sun signs abound, and depending on their quality, can be either surprisingly accurate, or wildly off base.

But to say sun sign astrology encompasses the complete art of astrology is like saying that looking at the sun everyday will tell you everything you need to know about astronomy. It leaves out much that makes astrology relevant, and ignores a huge body of knowledge that can be practically applied not only in the world of business, but to life in general.

Besides the sun, there are traditionally nine other planets that astrology considers when casting a chart: the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Some astrologers also work with the asteroids, Chiron is the most commonly used, but other asteroids can yield useful information as well. The sign that was rising on the horizon when you (or an event or business) were born is called the "rising sign", and this is also taken into account when casting a chart.

Each planet or asteroid represents a different sphere of life, a different quality, gift or challenge. The rising sign shows how we approach life, the way that we appear to other people, and the manner that other people most easily understand us on a first meeting. In analyzing individual's charts for work related issues, I usually look first at the placement of the planet Mercury. Mercury rules or governs the arena of communication. Writing, speaking, listening, learning, teaching. You name it, if it has to do with verbal, written, sung or signed communicating, you can bet Mercury is involved.

So often, conflicts at work, as in most relationships, center on issues of communication. By looking at the sign that Mercury is in, it is possible to gain instant information about that person's style of communication. Mercury in Aries for example would be blunt, confident and impatient. Mercury in Cancer is imaginative; feeling based, and has a remarkable memory. Combine the two in a work setting and you're looking either at constant conflict, or the opportunity to harness some of the tension and energy that could lead to conflict, to create something new and untried.

An astrologer can explain and describe the qualities unique to each Mercury sign, and help to find ways that the different signs might connect, and interact in beneficial rather than challenging forms. I've had many useful strategy sessions arise just from facilitating groups in a discussion of the sign and house of each person's Mercury, and how their style of communication supported or hindered the work of the group as a whole. Besides using the chart to troubleshoot the personality dynamics of the workplace, astrology also stands out as a tool for what I like to call "wise timing". Just as our ancestors, and many modern farmers, used the cycles of the moon and the stars to decide on the best time to plant, weed and harvest, astrology can guide us in the right time to launch new projects and proposals.

By analyzing the current cycles of the planets, it's possible to note what the daily, weekly and monthly planetary weather is, and plan accordingly. Traditionally speaking, the new moon is a good time to plant the seeds of a project, the full moon is the time to see both flaws and benefits, and the waning moon a time to both reap any harvest, and cut back what is no longer working.

When we apply the cycles of nature to our work in the world, we find that we are participating more harmoniously with the natural flow of life. Astrology offers one more tool to more intimately integrate the rhythm and pattern of the natural world more closely with our daily lives, creating a unique partnership between humans and nature, one that is more necessary now than ever before.

Though it may seem unconventional to some to marry the worlds of astrology and business, past experience shows that there is merit in this union, offering potentially unlimited opportunities for new growth and understanding. By allowing ourselves to draw on the wisdom of the past, we can create new models for a more successful future.

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