How to Get What You Want

Situation

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.

Issue

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.

Advice

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)?

Situation

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.

Issue

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.

Advice

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.

Who am I?

Sun @ 16 Scorpio

“Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle.”

Lewis Carrol, Alice in wonderland

After having grown to the size of a giant and as the result having frightened the White Rabbit away, Alice asks herself this deceptively simple question.

Most of us like to believe that unlike poor Alice, we know exactly who we are. So why not try that out right now in the privacy of your own home?

Perhaps you’ll start out with a list of your primary physical traits (tall, short, eye and hair color) followed by a few likes and dislikes and then some virtues and vices.

By contrast, you might start with your job or profession or that which you otherwise do each day. For example, I am a lawyer, an astrologer, and a personal coach. I also walk my dog every morning and evening so I suppose that makes me a dog-walker, a walker of dogs, although I also have a cat who requires constant attention and shouldn’t that count for something?

Perhaps at some point during this exercise it will dawn upon you how much of how you define yourself is the result of social conditioning, material necessity, and pure chance. Perhaps you’ll also conclude that however it is that you choose to define yourself, others won’t necessarily agree (try asking them).

The plot thickens when we consider that the challenge of knowing ‘who I am’ is centuries old. Consider the ancient Greek aphorism ‘Know thyself’, inscribed over then entrance to the Temple of Apollo at Delphi.

Great stuff!

But actually, on second thought, what is the nature of that ‘self’ that we’re supposed to get to know?


The concept of ‘self’ in Western culture is far from settled.

The following is a brief summary of some of the more accepted philosophical theories:

  • Embodiment – we are a product of our bodies and emotions (Cole vs. Lock, and Lutz),
  • Continuity and Memory – we are linked perceptions over time (Locke vs. Hume),
  • Reflection – we are how we make sense of our world (Stern and Strawson),
  • Cultural – we are where we live (Plato, Stern, Strawson, and Lutz),
  • Intentionality – we are how we interact with the world (Husserl & Spinelli),
  • Point of Perception – I ‘think’ therefore I ‘am’ (Locke & Descartes),
  • Will and Freedom of Choice – we are what we ‘choose’ (Frankfurt).

Add to that the Eastern tradition that ‘self’ is a mirage and it’s little wonder that we’re confused.


For argument’s sake, let’s assume, that the following is necessary for ‘self”: (1) continuity of perception, (2) awareness of such perception, and (3) ability to recall such perception across a time/space continuum.  Further, if we are to ‘know’ this ‘self” we must assume capacity for both self-reflection and verbalisation of those reflections.

How might this all fit together to form the ‘self’ as we experience it every day?  The fashionable Narrative Theory (Strawson) offers a fascinating perspective. The idea is that as we become socialised, we make narratives about ourselves and how we  interact with our environment.  For example, when Mom says “you went to school today didn’t you Johnny?”, Johnny nods and adds this idea of being a ‘school-goer’ to his definition of himself.

So far so good. It’s easy enough to imagine ourselves as the product of the stories we (and others) tell about our lives. But what about revision?

As every writer knows, a good story is the product of numerous drafts and revisions – a process, which for the sake of holding the reader’s attention necessarily alters mousy brown hair into something more exciting – i.e. the “long silken tresses the colour of freshly mown hay on a crisp autumn morning” type of thing.

Revision is good for fiction, for sure, but we don’t know how good it might be for our notion of ‘self’. However, one thing that is certain is that the more we tell and retell our narratives, the further we move away from any absolute truth.


Doubtless, by now, your head is spinning as I assure you, is mine.

But the object of this exercise isn’t so much to drive ourselves crazy as it is to drive home the realization that however certain we might become that we know exactly ‘who we are’, we will, at some level, be mistaken.


What do you want to be when you grow up?

Situation

Today, as the Sun in Scorpio makes a harmonious trine to Neptune, the planet of dreams and dreamers and the Moon moves into action-oriented Aries, this age-old question takes on a new and potentially troublesome significance.

Basically we’re faced with a mixed blessing: immediately, we feel at one with our fondest wishes for our future whilst at the same time becoming acutely aware of our seeming inability to achieve the

Issue

The key to getting the best out of this energy is to ‘lighten up’ and approach it with the innocence and wisdom of a child welcoming adventure and success into our lives.

This, however, is easier said than done and that’s because of what I call the Glass Ceiling Problem (GCP), which prevents us from being happy even when our lives are going along perfectly well.

Guilt usually lies at the base of the GCP, although the exact circumstances can and will vary. For me, the message that I got early-on from my parents was not to outshine them. If they were unable to manifest their dreams, then neither should I. Over the years, I’ve come to realize that this is one of the primary reasons that I (unconsciously) self-sabotage my success in my career and relationships through illness, lack of sustained effort, and a surreal propensity to ensure that somehow, I will fail.

Advice

The first step is to spot when GCP happens and take immediate remedial action

If, like me, you’ve (unconsciously) spent years perfecting various thought and behavior patterns to keep you small and safe, you can’t expect everything to get better over night. Thus, you’ll need to be constantly vigilant for incidences of self-sabotage but the good news is that over time, this becomes a habit so why not get started today?

  • Worry – by stressing about all that might go wrong, we’re setting ourselves up for disaster. If the energy we’re projecting into the universe is negative, it only makes sense that negative energy is what we’ll get back in return. Ask yourself whether there is anything proactive that you can do right now to set things right in regards to your object of worry/concern. If there is, then do it ASAP. If not, let those negative thoughts go and use the time and energy you’ve saved to achieve your fondest dreams and wishes.
  • Criticism & blame – when we find ourselves criticizing someone or something, the underlying reason almost always says more about us then the object of our conscious ‘concern’. Keeping the focus on something/someone outside our control instead of on ourselves and that which we can control is addictive. It also ensures that you’ll never make it past your GCP and achieve those fondest wishes and dreams.
  • Deflecting praise – what’s your knee-jerk reaction when your boss or a colleague compliments you on a job well done? If you find yourself playing your accomplishments down – or even making excuses for not having done a better job, you’re experiencing GCP. By ensuring that the positive energy directed our way never lands on us, we stay small and safe. We also stay stuck, unable to achieve our fondest wishes and dreams (because they remain wishes/dreams rather than reality).
  • Arguing – just when things are going well between you and another or perhaps even with your entire team, someone starts a conflict of some kind that takes center focus. More often than not, this quickly digresses into a victim/persecutor/rescuer (#dramatriangle) cycle that nips all further possibilities of achieving those wishes/dreams in the bud.
  • Illness/injury – ever wonder why you manage to get ill during the first few days of a long-awaited vacation/holiday? Might it be an unconscious ploy to sabotage our happiness? All you need to do here is to open up to the possibility that this might be the case.