Cancer – the sign of the patriot – what better time of year to have a World Cup? But now it’s over, what is everyone doing? Do you miss it? Can’t say I do – it’s wonderfully quiet and I can get on with some work. Although I found the whole phenomenon absolutely fascinating. It highlights the power of part of the Cancer archetype – patriotism. I should define what I mean here as the meaning of patriotism has changed over time. It means to love, be devoted to and be loyal to one’s country but this has become associated with nationalism which is not what I mean. For the ancient Greeks though, it had a wider meaning which included devotion to the common good and I use it more in this sense here.
In astrology, Cancer is associated with the mother. So, as an aside, I found it interesting that in English (and in some other languages) we use the term Fatherland (Pater – father) but Mother tongue. Why? Maybe something for a later blog. Motherland has a whole different feel – such as England being the ‘Motherland’ of America. But Cancer is associated with patriotism, so I want to look at what we can learn from the World Cup and apply it to business. It has to be good for something! I explain Cancerian energy as being ‘patriotic’ to a group, be it a family, a team, a country or a business. So …
Down to business
The sign of Cancer represents the idea of being part of something, part of a family or a group. It is about belonging. About involvement. We nurture things that we feel we have an affinity with. And when we nurture something, we become engaged and involved and in some cases …boring!
This Spring, with the help of my trusty ‘Master Gardener’ friend and his wife, I planted some vegetables on my roof. It was very exciting seeing the seeds grow and the shoots come up, and now I can eat salads every night. I have eaten all my fresh courgettes and broad beans. The strawberries are ripening and my friends are sick of me talking about it. If anything untoward happens I will be devastated. I have even posted pictures of every stage of growth and have made several videos. I am worse than brand new parents with hundreds of photos of their children or someone who can talk of nothing else but their new lover. I feel sorry for my friends. But I love it and am already thinking about what I can do plantwise next year.
This is what engagement in a project or goal produces. Creativity. Interest. How amazing it was in the Netherlands (and I’m sure in other countries) to see everyone involved and engaged in one goal – ‘my country’ winning the World Cup. The streets here were alive with orange, people talked of nothing else and even if you weren’t following it, it was impossible not to know when The Netherlands was playing.
So many people must have had time off work that businesses will show a loss. But did anyone mind? Companies closed early or let people have time off to fly to South Africa for the final. It was a given.
… if companies could achieve that kind of energy, loyalty and community spirit. A goal worth being involved in and committed to. How successful would that organisation be? And imagine the bonding inside the company. This kind of event brings people together in a way that nothing else can. Anything seems possible. Even though the Netherlands didn’t win the World Cup, the coach and players were welcomed home as conquering heroes. Fans want to be part of this – they feel they have contributed to the image of the Netherlands. They were allowed to and were almost expected to participate. No questions asked if time off had to do with being engaged in this bigger goal. Everyone facing the same direction. A magic sense of camaraderie.
If companies can define a purpose and have it clearly communicated to everyone involved, this can help. A sense of identity, a pride in working for an organisation that aims to create a clearly-defined desired reputation, can get everyone working together. Involvement is the key too here. How can staff become involved in creating this? To use a metaphor, can you provide them with orange T-shirts, time off and vuvuzelas? The blog below refers to the ‘Ikea principle’. If you have built furniture yourself, you are involved with the result and can be proud of it. Although good luck with the instructions from Ikea. This is my veggie garden phenomena. What we make, we will look after and protect. And fight for. Staff and managers who have influence and can build something, will have a sense of patriotism for their companies. This is not new of course but with something like the World Cup we have a good example of how it works in practice.
Shame on the Church then
It is a pity that in this day and age, a pastor has essentially been fired here in the Netherlands for attempting to do just this by holding an ‘Orange Mass’. The video link below shows Pastor Paul Vlaar holding mass and praying for the Dutch Team. In true Cancerian spirit he says “If they play as a team and have good team spirit, then they win.” He fills churches, has fun masses with modern music and dressed in orange robes, he caught a football during this particular mass. He seems to be single-handedly trying to get the church into the 21st century. And what does he get as a reward? Effectively the sack. Shame on you Bishop Jozef Punt. You could use some Cancerian advice.
In my experience in my practice, many people are crying out to belong to something. There is a sense of loneliness and alienation. Maybe company leaders can help bring some community spirit back to our lives. It is great to hear of a big organisation that do look after its staff. Google announced this month that gay staff will get an extra payment to cover medical costs because they do not have the same rights as heterosexual couples when it comes to insurance. Google have been top of Fortune Magazine’s ‘Best Employer’ in 2007 and 2008 and were 4th in 2009 and 2010. They are known for giving ‘Innovation Time Off’ where engineers get 20% of their time to work on projects they are interested in. They are also a philanthropic company helping to fight global poverty amongst other things. Cancer at its best. Perhaps it is not for nothing that Google is a successful company with a good reputation as an employer and as an innovative enterprise.
Saturn Uranus update
So on with our lives and to the rest of this year… July 26th, a date I have mentioned many times, is finally upon us. Since the day Obama was elected we have had Saturn and Uranus opposing each other in the sky. July 26th is their final meeting in this bout. The world has been struggling with these two opposites – change and innovation vs. staying the same, staying safe and keeping stable. We have seen this struggle manifest in difficult ways.
A notable example in recent weeks was the death of a criminal in the UK, finally tracked down for shooting a policeman as well as his ex-girlfriend and her lover. The policeman and the ex’s lover were killed. This outcast (Uranus) versus the police force (Saturn) story has caused much outcry as Facebook have a page (with some choice language I must say and over 15,000 fans) dedicated to the murderer, Raoul Moat. There’s also a page for ‘The police shot Moat’. I’m not sure about you, but I find the thought of this many people identifying with a murderer quite scary. The fact that people in authority are not really trying to understand why this might be, is perhaps even more worrying. This is the worst way that polarisation of these two energies can work out – Saturn (the authorities) trying to bury any unrest or dissatisfaction (Uranus). It won’t work.
I have always used Obama as an example of the Uranus side. He’s different, wants change, is innovative and quick-minded. He was the rebel. Now he is trying to integrate the other side – Saturn, being responsible, managing, taking things seriously (the oil spill, to name one example). But his opponents have now gone on to integrate their Uranus side. Rebelling against him. Starting the Tea Party movement with Sarah Palin as a figurehead. Uranus is now in Aries – the rebels are ready for a fight. But so is Obama. So should we be. Ready to pioneer and fight for change. It will be interesting to see how Obama and his opponents use the time around July 26th.
Saturn finally moves into the sign of Libra again on July 21st. He had an earlier visit there which I wrote about in an Libra 2009 post. This means that the way the Saturn side expresses itself changes. The old school might be prepared to negotiate more – but are we?
Interesting Website of the Month
Blog in praise of irrationality by The CEO of Saatchi and Saatchi, Kevin Roberts.
Pastor Paul has them kicking in the aisles.
Quote of the Month
“The difference between involvement and commitment is like ham and eggs. The chicken is involved; the pig is committed.” Martina Navratilova.