An article in the Ode newsletter this week caught my eye. Ode is an independent magazine that aims to report on people who change the world. This article was about how Amitai Etzioni seems to be an inspirer of men, including Balkenende, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Tony Blair and Bill Clinton among other notable figures. Now Etzioni (original name – Werner Falk! ) is a Capricorn, but a lot of what he says is straight out of the Aquarian’s handbook. More on this later.
The planet Saturn has always been associated with the sign Capricorn, and in traditional astrology with Aquarius, before Uranus was discovered. However since its discovery, modern astrologers take Uranus to be the ruler of Aquarius. The discovery took place at a time of a lot of unrest in the world – 1781. Although Uranus had been spotted before, Herschel was given the honour of naming the planet, which he did, after the then current King of England, George. (Being a foreigner himself he knew it was a good idea to butter up the authorities.) Sir William Herschel was actually a German musician who moved to Bath in 1757. He had a passionate interest in the stars and was known for having made telescopes and for his skills in celestial observation. But the French, amongst others, refused to call it the George star (Georgium Sidus) and for a long time it was known as Herschel. Due to the timing of the discovery it has always been called the planet of unrest and rebellion. The French Revolution and the founding of America were around this period. It is a planet that spins on a different axis than other planets, this says something about Aquarians!
Communitarian Network – the Dawning of the Age of Aquarius?
So back to our Aquarian Capricorn, Etzioni. Is he being authentic? Is he being true to his nature? Is he the true Capricorn that his birthday suggests? Etzioni’s ideas are based around his concept of communitarianism, a very Aquarian word. In his view it is important for any society to have a balance between rights and responsibilities and autonomy and order. The rights of individuals should be protected but fit in with the community.
His belief is that in many countries there is a split where one can choose one or the other (Republicans or Democrats?) however he seeks the ‘third way’, which combines and achieves the balance. He established the Communitarian Network in the 90’s to put forward his ideas and is calling for a new type of government.
Part of the Capricorn ideal is responsibility and order – actually astrologers would prefer structure, but Capricorn has to do with the ‘following the rules’ type of order. Aquarian ideals are rights and autonomy. Community and working together for the good of the clan. So the balance he wants to achieve could be seen as a mixture of these two archetypes.
Etzioni the Man
Interestingly, we can analyse him superficially, using his horoscope. Superficially, because in my view, any good astrology incorporates discussion. However what we can see is that in his heart (the Sun in Capricorn) Etzioni would lean towards Capricorn. He wants order, structure and everyone to be responsible and to work hard and follow the rules (see the last post for more on Capricorn). We are rewarded if we do this. However from his horoscope, and the position of the other planets, it can be seen that what he values, appreciates and needs is freedom, rights for the individual, independence and authenticity. These are the norms he believes in. So yes he is being authentic, since he is expressing his own dilemma between these two archetypes by seeing how this dilemma also affects the world around him. Through solving this on a personal level he is in a position to offer advice at any level where this dilemma is present in society, which of course it is in companies, countries and on a global level. So he is the perfect person for this job. Or we could say he has created the perfect job for himself.
Can astrology help?
Certainly Etzioni could help astrologers (also under the influence of Uranus). He is an acceptable figure to the world, which most astrologers are not – yet. However he is saying things that astrologers have been saying since we started to get a handle on Uranus. So he could help us to say it better! But can astrology add to his ideas? I believe it could, by providing a framework to look at the problems that need to be solved. And astrology has timing up its sleeve, which no other discipline has.
The Aquarian dilemma – authenticity for the individual, is a well known phenomenon, as from birth we are forced to fit in with the rules of others, and often with the dreams of our parents. It often takes us until our mid-life crisis before we dare to even ask what we want for ourselves, let alone act on it. Uranus plays a role in the timing, as he is the awakener and around midlife he reaches a position directly opposite where he was at the time of birth, as he has a cycle of around 84 years. (Incidentally, people who reach this age are often very rebellious at this time as well.) This Uranus opposition awakens the rebel in us. “Who am I really?”, we ask then at around early forties, although this question is being asked much earlier with the current generation. At forty we are not really old but not young either. However we realise we had better get on with ‘what we want to be when we grow up’.
My view on this whole subject has to do with levels of consciousness, or what Spiral Dynamics sees as the jump from the green level to the yellow level, the integral phase. Ken Wilber’s baby boomer generation (green) trying to make the consciousness jump to the to the next generation. We can use an astrological model to view this idea. If we imagine that Saturn was the last known planet for a very long time then there was a boundary there. We have been aware of, used and engaged with all the archetypes (read planets or Gods) up until Saturn, for centuries. We could say we know the Sun and the Moon, Mercury, Mars, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn. They are part of our subconscious, the collective, or maybe our DNA. This is not to say that we always use these positively but there is a large percentage of the population who can.
Uranus is the first planet outside Saturn and so, since 1781, we have been busy trying to make the jump to Uranian consciousness. It is not for nothing that Aquarius comes after Capricorn, or Uranus comes after Saturn. After all the rules, hard learning and order, we need to put the authority and wisdom that we have gained, to good use. We want to use our own individual unique creative spark (Uranus) to change and create new thoughts and ideas (Aquarius) and give this back to society. The baby boomers have been busy trying to ‘do their own thing’, to rebel, to be open about who they are, to change society and have had to continue the struggle from Saturn to Uranus, which started in 1781. At midlife they have rebelled against their lives by trying to be teenagers (Uranian!), by having affairs, by quitting their jobs, by doing what is often a ‘negative Uranus’, being cold and not caring about anyone else. The ‘I am an individual and I can do what I like’ method. Really it is a search for our authentic and unique self. The current boom in coaching (more in the next section) is a response to this search.
However along comes a new generation who have Uranus a bit more under their belts. Kids today are computer literate (Aquarius), rebellious in school, and altogether much more authentic. This is the generation that has a chance of using the creative spark of Uranus and of being an individual but acknowledging and respecting the whole. So Etzioni is an important forerunner for this generation. On an individual level these kids have parents who appreciate that the individual nature of children is important, so they have a better chance of doing what Etzioni is advocating. But the balance has swung a bit too far towards Uranus, a natural process while we are learning about it. Saturn’s values of respect, responsibility and hard work have become a bit drowned.
The individual in society
Astrologers help to see what our unique nature can be, on an individual level. But how do we marry that with the needs of our family, company or society? As an individual we do have choice. We can break with a non-supportive family. We can leave a company that doesn’t nurture us. We can seek to live in a land that has norms that fit better with our own. But in the end, unless we want to be a hermit, we have to fit into society or global norms, which are constantly changing and, I believe, created together. So at some level we are stuck with this dilemma. The trick is to want to do, what we must do. To take responsibility for what cannot be avoided.
Astrology could help at this level. There are horoscopes of families, companies and countries and we can analyse what would be authentic at every level. What would be good norms for a company and how might that fit with the values an individual has and going a level up, the norms of a country? What type or rules should a country have? Etzioni’s dilemma is operating at a global or country level, but he often has one general solution (albeit good ideas) globally. However an astrological model would suggest that there has to be a different solution for every country and astrology can help define that. Just as astrology can help to support the creation of a unique authentic individual, so can it assist in defining unique authentic individual companies or nations. Nations have to fit in globally, and like people they should be able to stay unique. They should also be responsible for their own patch.
Although Etzioni expresses global problems very clearly, for example on cyberspace ethics (“terrorists, drug-lords and paedophiles on the net”) and immigration (“the rights and responsibilities of immigrants”) and he suggests that there are norms in every country which immigrants should adhere to, his solutions often show his true Capricorn colours. For instance he suggests that everyone must have a cyberspace passport or that we define laws of cyberspace. Or having a Global Authority to deal with global problems. This is just throwing Saturn at a Uranian problem. We need to express Uranus and no amount of registration or laws will stop that. Imagine another solution where all the creativity that is used to break the law could be harnessed to do good things. The Uranus archetype wants to be recognised for its ideas, it cleverness, it technological wizardry.
Perhaps the only solution that works is to have rebellion and responsibility in equal measure at every level. Each group, company, country defines honestly its own laws, norms, values and responsibilities and monitors them. If we take immigration as an example, countries need to honestly express their laws and norms. There is often a mix between these two things. Laws have to be obeyed, they are concrete things and all citizens should obey them or take the consequences. Norms and values, on the other hand, should not and cannot be covered by legislation. They may well be part of the constitution of a country though. Too often countries are not authentic in this and are swayed (as we can be individually by our peers and parents) by other countries. In a way this is dishonest and therefore will eventually cause problems. Countries should also respect the rights of other countries. Why is there not a Bill of Nation rights? Norms can also change over time due to input of the group, so immigrants also have a role in this.
So perhaps what is needed is that we trust each group to define their laws and norms and keep to them. They need to fit in with the level above and recognise that this is the only way this can work. But enough space must be given for rebellion at every level. This has the function of renewal, innovation and getting rid of laws and norms that don’t work any more.
An astrological analysis of norms for the US, the UK and the Netherlands
The UK is a very Saturnian country. Norms are tradition, clarity, and strict laws. However there is also a belief in fighting for the individual and individual freedom and rights. Freedom of speech and fairness. As a country though, there is difficulty in expressing the Uranian factor and there is a tendency to do the right thing or the responsible thing or follow authority figures (the US?). If there was more honesty here, there would be more rebellion from the UK on the world stage. At the moment this sometimes shows as arrogance or mental stubbornness – the negative side or Uranus.
The US norms are Cancerian – patriotism, family, protection ( including self defence with guns) – a sort of motherly role which of course can be overbearing. Their laws honour the declaration of independence – human rights and logic. The dilemma can be seen here as these can be two opposing forces. Some mothers cannot let their children be free even though they believe in it as a principle.
The Netherland’s laws favour the Uranian – freedom for the individual – laws that should incorporate other cultures and freedom of speech. The norms include a valuing of travelling, the international arena, the pioneering spirit, courage, guts and competition but with compassion thrown in, which gets them into trouble on immigration. Holland does Uranus pretty well sometimes, in terms of the pioneering attitude on drugs and euthanasia for example, but perhaps not enough in terms of real innovation within the country. This energy often shows up as indifference or a ‘sod you’ attitude. Negatively, Uranus can be very cold and too logical.
So perhaps this is only now the dawning of the age of Aquarius after all. Astrologers can never agree on when this started but there are certainly signs that Aquarius and Uranus are active in the bigger picture.
Coaching – beware of false prophets
Coaching – that word I love to hate. While we are on the subject of rebellion – I’m not an Aquarian for nothing – I wish to enjoy a little rant about coaching, this being a rather Aquarian profession too. It is often aimed at finding one’s authentic mission in life. Every man and his dog, as the English expression goes, can and does call themselves a coach these days. Actually I think dogs would be justified, as are cats, to do so, but that’s another story. Many so-called coaches have no experience or training in the skills needed to be a good coach.
The word was first used, I believe, in sport. A coach was a sort of trainer who covered more than just the sport. The idea is to bring out the natural talent of the sportsperson. Usually they know a lot about the field of sport as well and/or have had experience in it themselves. They have a supportive role.
Good astrologers should do the same thing, with the client, they should discuss and help bring out natural unique talents. The client is the expert on his own horoscope, not the astrologer. So astrologers have always been coaches in a way, and often far more than that. However astrology is a mental discipline. By that I mean it can offer insight, understanding and an Uranian aha! What it cannot offer is emotional or physical support. Not that some astrologers cannot do this naturally, but it is not inherent in its nature.
A good coach needs to be able to offer emotional support and walk alongside the client. Again we see the dilemma strongly here between responsibility and authenticity. A lot of coaches I have come across have no training to do this. What they do is use a standard formula (Saturn) and show that they know better than the client (Uranus) how to do a job. They get tied up in their own norms and values and give many opinions (Aquarians like to be right!) They have often done very little work on themselves and are not aware of how much their own views affect their work. Often clients are very vulnerable and this can lead to situations that many of today’s coaches have no idea how to handle.
So my plea is that if you want to make use of a coach, check out their credentials. What training do they have? Where have they trained? What self development work have they done themselves? What type of coach are they? Content or more therapeutic? There are many types. What are their goals and responsibilities for and with you? There should be a type of contract made in the beginning. Your responsibility is to be clear about what you want to achieve too, and what type of help you require. What do you want to change? Astrology offers an invaluable tool for looking objectively at a client. Oftentimes change is not what is required and astrology gives a tool to look at what would be authentic. This is why I try to avoid using the word, as it is an all compassing idea that leads to a lot of confusion and sometimes damage.
Interesting websites of the month
www.amitaietzioni.org – Amitai Etzioni’s site with articles, books and news.
Faye’s paper “The Three Histories of Uranus at www.astrozero.co.uk
Quote of the Month
From someone from the Uranus in Aquarius generation (it can express better when it is in its own sign) and with Uranus connected to Mercury – the planet of thoughts, ideas writings and communication.
“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, will make violent revolution inevitable.”
John F. Kennedy (1917 – 1963), From a speech at the White House, 1962.