Got a problem (Part II)?


The key to working with astrological Mercury is to remember that mythical Mercury was a thief and a trickster, a quick and light and slippery kind of guy – an amoral salesman, bartering and selling to the highest bidder.

Astrologically, Mercury represents our way of thinking, our opinions and ideas. He also represents our train of thought and as such, if not properly managed, can easily (and quite happily) derail us.

Since the beginning of November, Mercury has been retrograde (i.e. apparently back-peddling against the sky). During that time, your focus was on researching, reviewing, re-editing, and/or renegotiating a problem along with its potential solution.

Now that Mercury has finally turned direct, it’s finally time to take that decision and join Mercury with moving forward again.


But what is the best way to accomplish this without getting awash in all the data and information that you’ve gathered and garnered?


Systematically and honestly, work your way through the following five questions [1]. This will greatly improve your chances of making a good decision, a decision with which you’ll remain happy five weeks, five months, and even five years later:

  • What are the net consequences of all potential solutions  – most problems are not black and white but clouded by shades of grey. Acknowledge and honor that, even when you feel pushed in our 21st century 24/7 whirlwind world.
    • Each potential solution carries with it real-world consequences that will affect the lives a wide-range of people, potentially in undreamt of ways.
    • Keeping this in mind, carefully and thoroughly consider the implications of each possible course of action. Who will be helped or hurt by each potentiality?
    • This is not about what you should do but instead what you could do; there could be a huge difference.
    • Do not mistake this as a simple cost-benefit analysis but instead treat it more like a leafy decision tree.
  • What are my core obligations – every day, we each play a number of important yet very different roles – parent, citizen, employee, spouse, and so on – no surprise then, that our loyalties feel divided.
    • But the more important the decision at hand, the more stakeholders involved and to do service to each of them, imagine yourself in their shoes, especially of those stakeholders who are most vulnerable.
    • Again, this is not a cost-benefit analysis nor is it just about money or even legality, although these are, of course, important elements of consideration.
    • Instead, it’s about at the end of the day, to whom are you (truly) the most obligated?
  • What will work the way things are right now – ultimately, you need a plan that will work, not tomorrow, but today.
    • Yes, this is a pragmatic (even cost-effective) consideration but not one that should be used as an excuse to choose the safest, most expedient solution when you know in your heart that is not right.
  • Who are we – Humans are social animals and so, to a large extent, our thoughts and ideas are shaped by a ready-made cultural mold.
    • At this stage in the decision-making process, it’s time to ask yourself what are the most important operational ideals underpinning the community at large in which you live and operate.
  • What can I honestly live with – imagine explaining your decision to a close friend, your adult child, your parents, or even a trusted, respected coach or mentor. How would that person react? Would you be comfortable with that? If not, why not, and what needs to change?

[1]  The number 5 has long been associated with power, domination, victory across a wide variety of conflicts and battles. 5 is the number of manifestation and thus channels energies that could be directed either toward useful, constructive enterprises or to wanton acts of destruction. Choose wisely and well.

Turn Down the Heat

‘Mars tells us how the individual uses his energy and makes his presence felt.’

Karen Hamaker-Zondag


Today, Mars moves into Scorpio where he remains for next six weeks.

Astrologically, Mars represents our assertiveness, our sense of determination. He also represents our desire to win. In Scorpio, Mars has a special mission, to distinguish himself from others, to stand apart from the crowd.

Yet in Scorpio, Mars remains uncertain of his prowess, his ability to make his mark, and so more than in any other zodiac sign, in Scorpio he is likely to become obsessive, overemotional, obstinate, and to overcompensate.


Consider Jackie, a member of a Fortune 100 company’s senior leadership team. For some months, she’d been challenging the CEO and her other colleagues on almost every point they tried to make.

For a time, this was tolerated. Jackie did bring some good ideas to the table. But when the CEO most needed Jackie on board to roll out a new strategic plan, the proverbial ‘s…’ hit the fan.

Just when everything seemed to be going smoothly and everyone else was on board, Jackie started to interrupt meetings with what seemed like one pointless detour after another. It didn’t take long for colleagues to conclude that Jackie was intentionally derailing the meetings in order to draw attention to herself. As the result, most members of the leadership team grew increasingly irritated and began to pay Jackie less and less attention.

This, in turn, prompted Jackie to turn up the heat. Her disagreements started to focus less on the issue at hand and more as a personal attack on another. It didn’t take long before every meeting turned into a battlefield on which the strategic plan had stalled.

With this, CEO felt forced to ask Jackie to resign.


  • Whether at home or in the workplace, when Mars in Scorpio starts to misbehave step back from a personal reaction.
  • Instead, step back and specifically ask for his opinion and listen carefully when it is given.
  • Evaluate his opinion on its merits and give specific feedback regarding how it does and does not impart value and/or will or will not work.
  • It’s tempting to internalize any disagreement/opposition as personal criticism, especially when emotionally delivered. Resist temptation. Exercise self-management. Refuse to react negatively or ‘retaliate’ in kind.
  • Instead, demonstrate your willingness to accept criticism when properly delivered and then carefully draw the conversation back to the actual issue(s) at hand.

The Nostalgia Trap


With the Sun in Scorpio (brooding) and the Moon in Leo (self-centered), today and tomorrow are Six of Cups days.

On one level, this might manifest as pure and simple happiness of the type many of us enjoyed during childhood – when the days were long, the world beautiful, and life, like the summer morning, was something to be savored.

On another level, however, this might manifest as something altogether different, something deeper and, perhaps, more sinister.


It’s worth considering that in the tarot, first and foremost, the number six represents the centrality of ‘self’. Like the sun, we each become the central figure about which our entire world orbits. A healthy dose of positive self-esteem is important because without it, well, we might not even get out of bed in the morning.

But in some instances, the number six represents that central ‘self’ as having lapsed into a kind of stupor, a nostalgic longing for something from the past, fueled by frustration of no longer having access to it. At an individual level, the result is difficult enough; we lose faith in our future and may indeed struggle to get out of bed each morning. But when it occurs on a wider level, the situation becomes more dangerous.


The collective – over the past few decades, we have experienced a revival of this later form of nostalgia on a collective level, a societal longing to reproduce a shared, idealized piece of history. Those caught up in this phenomena identify solely with those with whom they’ve shared this ‘golden age’. This leaves those who are not part of this elite group as outsiders and intruders.

Recipe for disaster – since 1947, in America, each successive generation of young men have earned, on average, three times as much as had their fathers. But since the late 1970’s, the trend has reversed. Even before the Great Recession of the late 2000’s, the median real earnings of men aged 24-24 (with high school diplomas) has declined by 28%. Put that together with statistics demonstrating that even during periods of economic expansion, the top 10% of earners took 95% of income growth and we’ve got a recipe for disaster. Not only do the ‘good old days’ seem better, but in some very real sense they actually were.

The cure – shit happens – we can choose to view the difficult situation as a glass half empty but equally it might be viewed as half full. In this respect, research shows that we do ourselves a favor when we adopt the more positive approach. This is not the same as blind optimism, otherwise known as the Pollyanna Syndrome. Instead it is an affirmative decision not to blame others for whatever ills have befallen you and to take personal responsibility for making the situation better, as best that you can. The up-side of this approach is that you actually feel better straight away and from that you gain improved self-esteem on a daily basis. Who knows but that perhaps the optimism you project into the universe might soon enough become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

If you’re interested in learning more, read The Resilience Factor: 7 Keys to Finding Your Inner Strength and Overcoming Life’s Hurdles

by Karen Reivich and Andrew Shatte.

Surviving Scorpio

Mars (Ares), the ancient god of war, is the traditional ruler of Scorpio and this pretty much sums things up: astrologically, the planet Mars speaks to competition, a fighting spirit, and a ‘do or die’ need for victory. Mars also speaks to courage, bravery, stamina, and unwavering determination to achieve one’s goals.

If you want to make a favorable impression on your Scorpio boss, ensure you do not come across as sugary or submissive.

Be ambitious, always look him or her straight in the eye, and gain his or her respect by proving you’re strong enough succeed and survive. If you fail to do this, you run the risk of bringing out the natural  ‘bully’ in your Scorpio boss and if it is one thing of which you can be certain, that will not be nice. Scorpio can and will steam roll you straight into oblivion.

That brings us to yet another key point regarding the nature of Scorpio. Do not be surprised to discover Scorpio has a sharp tongue that packs a powerful punch. Mars, in myth, is associated with cutting, wounding, attacks, and knives.

For Scorpio, revenge is a favorite dish and one best served freezing cold.

Naturally, there’s a fine line between making that good impression on someone and overshooting the mark, hence stepping on their toes. This would be a dangerous line to cross with Scorpio. Consider the Scorpion, the symbol for this sign, a nasty little creature that might kill you for no other reason than it can.

Equally, however, do not underestimate the good will and commitment that Scorpio can and will direct in your favor. She is extremely loyal to those she loves as long as you give her no reason to doubt your own loyalty in return.

Scorpio is a water sign and as, so as you might expect, water signs absorb, blend, and dissolve. If it is one thing at which Scorpio excels, it is dissolving every boundary you could possibly erect to hide your deepest, darkest secrets. She can spot an inconsistency, something that doesn’t quite add up, a mile away and she won’t rest until she gets to the bottom of it, exposing all.

Needless to say, this lack of boundaries does not go both ways. Maintaining an unscalable wall of privacy and secrecy are second nature to Scorpio. Scorpio may go to great lengths to find out about you but she will be completely paranoid about you, or anyone else, doing the same to her.

Beware.  Scorpio may be a water sign, flowing where it suits her, but if it is one thing that she can’t stand, it’s change, especially when she feels it is thrust upon her from outside. This is because Scorpio is fixed water and FIXED is exactly how it sounds – resistant and immovable. Astrologically, each of the three fixed signs are magnetic, each in their own way, a centripetal force drawing energy inwards, toward the center. This is accomplished by attracting and controlling others.

Scorpio always brings commitment, passion, and drama to the table.

It is the job of the fixed signs to hold fast, preserve and stabilize. There is no sense asking Scorpio to entertain a new idea (or anything else) as long as she considers there is still mileage in that which has served her well for years.

If your love interest is Scorpio, here are a few words of advice.

If the interest in question is a man, do not try to dominate him in any way. It will backfire. Instead get up on your pedestal and let him adore you. However, under no circumstances are you to (consciously or not) make him jealous. If the interest in question is a woman, she must be able to trust you completely; loyalty is the name of her game. Ask about her philosophy of life. She’ll enjoy explaining it but do pay attention. If you’re the least bit insincere, all will be lost before it even begins.

Finally, if you have any doubts about what it takes to survive your relationship with a Scorpio, consider, carefully, the following:

‘I do not fight other gods, as you do, because you always want to see quarreling, pain and war. You have your mother’s unbending and intolerable obstinacy.’

The Iliad (Zeus speaking to Ares)

When Passion leads to Burnout


With the Sun in Scorpio (passion) and the Moon in Cancer (emotional well-being), today and tomorrow are Eight of Cups days.

This suggests sadness and disillusionment, a fall from the world of lofty hopes and dreams into one of bitterness, anger, and regret.

This card, the Eight of Cups, is ruled by water yet it refers not the open sea or even the babbling brook but instead to bogs and lagoons, the deep, stagnant waters that are the breeding grounds for all sorts of unpleasant, unhealthy things.


It’s worth remembering that the astrological element of Water corresponds to the Jungian function of ‘feeling’. This suggests not only getting bogged down in your own feelings but also your inability to access the opposite Jungian function of ‘thinking’, and hence plot your escape.

It’s the nature of Scorpio to be unrelentingly passionate about something or someone. In combination with Cancer, where emotional security is top priority, the result could be burnout when that which was once thrilling and engaging turns overwhelming and exhausting.


The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently included burnout in its International Classification of Diseases, IDC – 11, suggesting that it is a syndrome resulting when chronic (workplace) stress fails to be successfully managed.

The three elements comprising burnout:

  1. Constantly feeling exhausted or ‘empty’.
  2. Feeling distant, cynical, and/or negative about your job.
  3. Reduced productivity.

The Mayo Clinic suggests that these can go on to cause other issues like fatigue, insomnia, and extremely altered moods. In essence, burnout can affect both your mental and physical health on a major scale.

Suggestions to combat burnout:

  1. Manage your workload – whilst you definitely do need to ‘stretch’ yourself to further both professional and psychological growth, there is also limit to how far you ought to go.
    • Some believe cutting workload is the answer. But, research shows it’s more complicated than that.
    • Consider what is commonly referred to as the William James Formula: self-esteem = personal success/pretensions (aspirations).
      • For example, if I want to make $100 but only make $50, then my self-esteem is 50%.
      • But if I expect to make $20 and do make $20,  then my self esteem is 100%.
      • The natural conclusion is that I can cut back, make less, and improve my self-esteem and overall well-being.
    • However, this formula fails to consider the factor of time.
    • For example over time you can raise your self-esteem well above 50% by continuing to to push out of your comfort zone if at the same time you are taking affirmative steps to cope. Just like your weight-training at the gym, you’ll continue to increase your ability to undertake every-increasing workloads if you respect yourself and your body and don’t expect overnight miracles.
  • Manage expectation  – there is a unbridgeable divide between realistic and unrealistic expectations. In other words, there are things that one can and cannot ever achieve. Whenever there is serious tension between expectations and the reality of a situation, you’re headed down the road to burnout.
    • To manage this, you need to be brutally honest with yourself and everyone involved about the unbridgeable divide.
    • For example, does your boss contact you at all hours of the night and day, leaving you feeling as if you need always, to be on call? Realistically, you know that this situation may be sustainable in the short run but over extended periods of time, it definitely is not. Instead of allowing it to just carry on until you suffer burnout, ask yourself what you can do to shift the situation and manage the expectations of your boss.
    • It’s quite possible that your boss may respect you all the more for having established boundaries rather that continuing to allow yourself to be used like a doormat. If, however, that is not the case, then consider looking for a new job.
  • Managing rewards – if the extrinsic and intrinsic rewards of any undertaking fail to match the time and effort invested, then over time you’re headed for burnout.
    • However, it’s important to acknowledge that not all rewards are created equal and the rewards necessary to warrant continuing to move forward may change significantly over time.
    • Equally, not every task is created equal. Sometimes we just need to immerse ourselves in the here and now, and get that which needs doing, done. This approach works well when the time and effort involved are minimal. But as the time and effort involved in making ‘it’ happen increase, then the rewards need also to increase.
    • Ask yourself whether the task at hand is set to help you get where you want to be in 5, 10, or even 20 years. If the answer is yes, then pull out all the stops. If the answer is no, then limit the time/effort expended on a particular task until it falls more in line with what you want/need to get out of it.

All Change!


The two heaviest-hitter planets, Pluto (evolution) and Saturn (reality principle), are growing ever closer as they prepare to meet up in Capricorn in early January 2020.

The last time these two planets met in Capricorn was in January 1518, just two months after Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the church door in Wittenberg, and with that, began the Protestant Revolution.

Certainly no one is saying that’s what will happen again but something big is going to happen. Just like in 1518, there will be a seismic shift in the power structure of global politics/economics, the essence of Capricorn, which history will well remember.


Saturn/Pluto operates on a 33-year cycle, putting us in touch with necessary endings. Either something is completely destroyed or utterly transformed beyond all recognition; there are no other  options.

By the end of January, it’s safe to say that the rules of the game we’ve been playing for the last 33 years or so will have come to an end. The game in question commenced back in 1982 in Libra. According to Liz Greene, this cycle (now ending with the conjunction in Capricorn) is a lesson about ideals of justice and fairness. In 1982, I went off to law school and I’ll admit I had some pretty unrealistic ideals about both justice and fairness.

I adored reading the jurists’ discussions about ‘natural law’, where everyone acts rationally and with honor. But that isn’t how it works or at least it isn’t how it’s working anymore and that’s precisely what is going to have to change.


Change is difficult yet at the same time, inevitable. Change is also unavoidable although how we each experience change that is thrust upon us is often more within our control than we might like to think.

Consider implementing any or all of the following:

  • Find the humour in the situation – this is not to suggest that change, and the disruption it brings, is funny. But research shows that finding a humorous moment in an otherwise not humorous situation can make everyone feel better. The lightened mood and, fingers crossed, improved social interaction, can also help everyone see things in a new perspective.
  • Focus on the problem more than your feelings – a common myth is that talking about our anger, fear, and frustration will help us to work through a difficult situation. But research suggests this isn’t always the case. Negativity attracts negativity. Instead of airing your sorrows, focus on how you can more positively approach the problem presented. You many not feel better, at least not immediately, but it will give you a better chance of coming out of this situation in better shape.
  • Don’t stress about feeling stressed – remember that some stress is actually good for us. Like weight training, it helps to bolster our resilience. But the problem comes when we overindulge in stress. For example, even if you’re a keen gym enthusiast, you probably don’t workout 24/7 because you know that you need to give your body a break to recover. Likewise, take a break from stress by spending a minimum of ½ hour a day doing something you enjoy without feeling guilty.
  • Accept the past but fight for the future – My brilliant mind-set coach is constantly reminding me that ‘then’ was ‘then’ and ‘now’ is ‘now’ and that there is nothing that I can do now to change the past. As best you can, put the past behind you and use the time you’ve got now to prepare for what is yet to come.
  • Don’t expect stability – it goes without saying that nothing ever stands still and research shows that those who view change as an unwanted part of their lives will fare worse when, inevitably, it happens. The ‘good old days’ might might or might not have better but either way they are gone and gone, forever.

Mirror, mirror, on the wall…


With the Sun in Scorpio (covert) and the Moon in Gemini (cerebral), today and tomorrow are Nine of Swords days.

This suggests a deteriorating situation with which you’ll continue to struggle until you’ve taken a cold, hard look in the mirror.

The bad news is that the tarot suit of the swords symbolizes victory earned only at the cost of complete and utter destruction. The good news is that the number nine symbolizes renewal and regeneration and so now is the perfect time to reverse that deteriorating situation.  


It’s worth remembering that whatever the nature of this situation, the only component over which you will ever enjoy real control is your own thoughts and behavior.

It is also worth remembering that every day we each (albeit unconsciously) enact the #dramatriangle and that the victim role is the most coveted of the three roles involved. Although we all play this ‘game’, some are more prone to getting stuck in it than others and Scorpio is a prime example.

It is the nature of Scorpio hold and nurse a grudge, a classic manifestation of victim mentality. With Scorpio, a minor affront can easily turn into a serious betrayal especially with help from Gemini, who loves to stir up muddy waters with fast and furious mind games.


As noted above, the only way you can fix this deteriorating situation is to take that cold, hard look in the mirror. Start by asking yourself some questions:

  1. What do I really want in this situation? It’s difficult to get what you want if you aren’t honest with yourself what that is. This dynamic sets the stage to blame others for this failure and, not surprisingly, leaves you firmly in the coveted seat of the victim.
  2. Have I made it clear to everyone involved what I want? Even if you know exactly what you want, you can’t expect others to know unless you’ve clearly told them. If you’ve not done that (and there are many reason why you might not have done), then you may want to revisit question one.
  3. Do I behave in such a way as to support what I’ve said that I want? People take their cues from what you do as much, if not more, from what you say.  If you’re sending conflicting signals, you would benefit from revisiting question one because chances are those conflicting signals are happening for a reason.
  4. Do others understand what it is that I want? Ask them.

What’s stress got to do with this?


Today, we enjoy the full moon.

As you know, the full moon is a time of manifestation, when the seeds sown at the last new moon a few weeks ago have borne fruit.

But did you also know that astronomically, the full moon occurs when the Sun and the Moon are in complete opposition? Thus, it is a time of maximum tension.

The pace quickens, stress builds, and we find ourselves severely challenged.


Stress is on the rise and studies suggest that in the next few years it’s only going get worse. Yet, positive psychology suggests that the problem isn’t with stress itself, but how we choose to deal with it.

Indeed, some stress is actually good for us. Thus, the name of the game is to not to focus on eliminating stress from your life but to cultivate your resilience to it. It’s rather like weight-training at the gym. Over time, your muscles grow stronger and stronger allowing you to tolerate more and more weight.

The problem comes however, when you go overboard and keep weight training every day – all day. In order to avoid injuries, you need to give your body time for recovery.

The same goes for managing stress.


  • Take a break – the 15-minute coffee break and the one- hour lunch break were invented for a reason. Take them. Also take an hour every day to do something you really love (and enjoy it completely without guilt) as well as taking a least one day off each week. This is actually more helpful to your overall health and well-being than squeezing in that two-week annual holiday.
  • Re-frame how you think about stress – as noted above, some stress is actually good for us. It prepares us to cope better and more confidently in a whole range of situations. Instead of considering yourself the victim in a stressful situation, use it as a learning experience – for example, how to better prioritize your time.
  • Discern what you can and cannot control and act accordingly – for example, you can’t control the weather so there’s little sense worrying about it. Instead, concentrate on a back-up plan so that if the weather turns foul, you have alternative travel plans or can work from home.
  • Say no – such a small word, ‘no’, but we are so afraid of it because inevitable someone is disappointed and/or some opportunity has been cut off. Yet in order to survive, you cannot run 110% of the time 24/7 and so you need to find your zone of sustainable stress. This is a trial and error process and it’s different for everyone. Start by prioritizing what is most important to you and take on those responsibilities that further that most. Take on more and more until you feel it is getting to be too much. Watch for the early warning signals like overindulgence in food/drink as well back pain, headache, and sleeping problems. Beware, however, you don’t necessarily benefit from taking on less work. We’ve all experienced situations where something that should only take an hour manages to suck up your entire day.
  • Avoid procrastination – contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be ‘inspired’ to perform a particular task and putting if off (and off and off) only creates more stress. Take the leap and just dig in,revising and reworking where necessary. Beware. This is not the same thing as jumping into a project without proper planning. As we all should know by now, that just costs everyone wasted time and money. Find and maintain the right balance.

How to Get What You Want


With the Sun in Scorpio (insightful) and the Moon in Taurus (fruition), today and tomorrow are Nine of Cups days.

This is the most favorable card in the Minor Arcana. It promises complete harmony between reality and your fondest dreams. It is true that because Cups corresponds to emotions, there is clearly a danger in indulging in wishful thinking.

However, because the number nine carries a powerful impact of focus in the material realm, with due care and consideration this danger may should be easily overcome.


The trick here is to find balance between what it is that you want from another and the reality of his or her situation. Especially today and tomorrow, it does little good to focus, as so many of us are prone to do, solely on our own wants and needs.

Scorpio is perhaps one of the signs most apt to fall into this trap. Because she often operates from an underlying fear of being overpowered and controlled by others, preemptive attack is her first line of defense. With this comes the need to intimidate and control others through subtle manipulation. But with the energy or today and tomorrow, that approach will not work. Indeed, it might well blow up in your face.

The reason is that whilst Taurus may seem to take things at face value and in that regards, be naïve, that is only half the story. The other half is that Taurus has an uncanny knack of knowing when someone is deliberately treading on their toes and as everyone knows, it is pretty dangerous to wave the proverbial red flag to the bull.


Perfect the subtle, yet highly effective, art of persuasion and others are putty in your hands.

  1. Build trust and rapport with others and thus set the scene to your advantage.
    • The quickest and easiest way to build rapport is to assume that you already have it.
    • Simply imagine that the persons with whom you’re speaking are very dear and close old friends. As the result, your body language and attitude will change subtly and without overtly trying, you’ll make your intended audience feel comfortable and at ease. 
    • Smile and make eye contact in a non-threatening and confident manner. 
    • The more confidence you inspire in your audience, the more willing they are to respond positively to your suggestions.
  2. Fix the desired outcome for any meeting, conversation, or even an email,  firmly in your own mind before you begin.
    • Be very clear regard exactly what behavior you desire from others as the result of any meeting or communication – i.e. sign here, go there, or simply, accept this or agree with me.
    • Ensure that everything you say do during this communication is aimed at bringing them to that final result (see below for ideas) and then ensure you overtly ask them to do whatever it is that you want them to do.
  3. During the course of the meeting deliver at least one hook or incentive designed to appeal to everyone.
    1. Even if you know nothing about the personal characteristics of the person(s) you’re addressing, you have statistics and astrology on your side. Each person must fall into one of the 12 zodiac signs – cover them all – at least briefly – in your delivery:
      • Aries – appeal to her need to take action now.
      • Taurus – appeal to her need for simple, practical solutions.
      • Gemini – appeal to her natural curiosity. 
      • Cancer – appeal to her need to feel safe and secure.
      • Leo – appeal to her need to take center stage.
      • Virgo – appeal to her need to get it done and done right.
      • Libra – appeal to her need to maintain harmony.
      • Scorpio – appeal to her need to get to the bottom of things.
      • Sagittarius – appeal to her need for exploration and personal adventure.
      • Capricorn – appeal to her need to earn responsibility and respect.
      • Aquarius – appeal to her need to challenge the status quo.
      • Pisces – appeal to her need to help someone.
  4. Carefully choose the words you will deliver – keeping in mind the benefits of the following techniques
    • Develop YES sets – get them on a roll with answering a series of simple questions with a ‘yes’ and chances are they’ll keep rolling on in the affirmative.
    • Anticipation Loops – keep them paying close attention through the entire meeting by delivering only partial explanations with a promise to explain more fully, later.
    • Agreement Frames – everyone feels better when others agree with them – so meet any objections with the following – ‘I agree with you and (not but) I add this…’. 
    • Awareness Patterns – innocuous little words like NOTICE, REALIZE, EXPERIENCE, SEE, and AWARE are all great for slipping in ideas under the radar. For example, ‘’I’m certain that you realize that our numbers aren’t great this quarter and that means some redundancies.” If they question anything here, it’s more likely to be either (1) whether they did realize the numbers weren’t great or (2) whether in actual fact – the numbers weren’t great. This leaves them much more likely to accept (as a given) whatever comes after that.

Got a problem (Part I)?


In mundane astrology when Mercury is retrograde (i.e. apparently back-peddling across the sky), deliveries go missing, phone calls and emails remain unanswered, misunderstandings of all sorts arise and, oh yes, do expect delays. In horary astrology (divination), retrograde Mercury suggests a change of direction. Business deals near completion are renegotiated. Friends and associates have a change of heart. Plans we thought to be absolutely brilliant before Mercury switched gears, have suddenly lost their appeal.

The key to working with with Mercury is to remember that he’s never his ‘own man’. As Liz Greene reminds us, astrological Mercury as no goals of his own because always, he must be ‘’in service’ to another. In order to ensure that he is in service to you, when your next train or bus or other form of conveyance is delayed or a meeting is cancelled or your friend backs out last minute on a date, do not despair. Instead, use the time and space so inconveniently provided to research, review, re-edit, and/or renegotiate the parameters your difficult problem along with those of any proposed solutions.


We go through life wearing ‘cognitive blinkers’ that prevent us from seeing, much less using, important information that would dramatically improve our planning and decision-making. According to Dan Gilbert of Harvard University’s psychology department, the problems is that most of us are only too willing to accept whatever information on offer rather than consciously seeking out better information – even if that better information is already right under our nose.


But before you get started, carefully consider the following, make a list of all that may apply, pin that list (along with personal notations) on your wall and refer to it daily, if not more often.

  • Limited focus – the ability to focus on a single task is useful but it limits our awareness. Consider the ramifications of the study by Cornell psychologist Ulric Neisser where participants watched a video of two teams (wearing different colored shirts) passing basketballs. The task of the participants was to count the number of passes between players on one of the teams. So focused were the participants on what they’d been asked to do that only 21% of them reported seeing a woman walk through the players with an open umbrella. Ouch!
  • Overlooking the unexpected – the sad truth is that we tend to overlook that which we’re not expecting. Consider the findings of this study conducted by researchers at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Replicating the airport screening process for weapons, participants functioned at an error rate of only 7% when they were told the objects for which they were to search appear 50% of the time. But when they were told that those objects would appear only 1% of the time, their error rate jumped to 30%. The researchers concluded that when the participants did not expect something, they would give up looking for it.
  • Gradual change – the slower, more subtle, the changes around us, the less likely we are to notice them until they blow up in our face. In another study, (Harvard Business School), one group of participants were asked to estimate the value of a jar of pennies with the other group auditing their success rate. Interestingly, the first group were rewarded not when they were accurate but when their estimates were approved by the auditors. They soon learned that the higher their estimates, the more approval they received until they went too far overboard. Over time, the auditing group grew less likely to find the first group’s estimates as overestimated at least as long as they were not severely out of line with those that had come before. Researchers nicknamed this phenomena the ‘snowball’ effect and concluded it helped to explain why why small transgressions creep up over time into large, serious crimes.
  • Tunnel vision – often we are motivated to support or favor a particular outcome, for example our boss’s new reorganization plan or a candidate in a political that is popular with our acquaintances and friends. As the result, we do not actively seek information that fails to support our ‘foregone’ conclusion. One way to combat this is to simply asking the perspective of someone who is unlikely to see things the same as do you.