As many modern business writers consider companies to be living organisms, and many astrologers consider that all astrological techniques should work for all entities, there is no apparent reason why the Life Clock technique, developed by Bruno Huber, could not be adapted for use in companies.
Bruno Huber was a Swiss astrologer who developed a method called Age Progression in the horoscope – the Life Clock. Because the horoscope has twelve houses it is tempting to look at it as a clock. Huber spent many years perfecting the timing of this cycle where he took seventy-two years as the basic cycle, with twelve phases of six years. He was convinced that his age progression system worked for people and used it exclusively for that purpose. As the horoscope is simply a depiction of a moment in time and that moment is imbued with a particular quality, it is the view of many astrologers, that this ‘quality’ will be symbolically inherent in every entity ‘born’ at that time. Therefore all techniques which can be used for that horoscope, which is simply a map of the heavens at a particular time, should be applicable to, for instance, individuals, animals, companies, governments or countries, any entity.
In my preliminary tests for my study on companies, results appeared promising, which was the prime reason for wishing to pursue this model in more depth in my dissertation for my MA study. No published material was found to be available on this subject, which was another motivating factor for this study.
The idea that companies could have a life cycle or life clock may be supported by current trends in terminology and disciplines. As examples, there are now faculties at universities named: Organisational Behaviour (e.g. London Business School, Dublin University) Organisational Ecology (e.g. Stanford) and Organisational Anthropology (e.g. Amsterdam) and organisations apparently learn, if one is to believe Senge. All of these ideas suggest an organic, living feeling. Other company phase models, use terms such as adolescence and death, which suggest a living entity. Rupert Sheldrake, who may be termed a ‘cutting-edge’ biologist, writes:
“The parallel between societies and organisms is so persuasive that it is built into conventional phrases such as the body politic, the arm of the law, and the head of state. Economies too are thought of as if they are living organisms: they develop and grow, create demands, consume resources, can be healthy or sick, and so on. Political discourse is replete with phrases that take for granted the reality of collective entities such as parties, pressure groups, social classes, trade unions, companies, corporations, governing bodies. Such vaguely defined concepts as the will of the people, the national interest, spheres of influence, and the defence of the realm are not mere abstractions: they play a major role in shaping political actions and have come to have enormous effects on the world.
Organic views of society are traditional everywhere, and still predominate even in the West.” Footnote 1
A reasonable assumption is that, since companies are groups of people, and therefore organic and having an essence, the idea of seventy-two years as a cosmic cycle, to use Huber’s argument, could apply just as well to companies as to individuals.
The following is a suggested model, based on the Life Clock described above and adapted, using generally accepted astrological principles/archetypes/holons taken from a variety of standard astrology books, so that it could be applied to companies. This is an excerpt taken from my model.
|Phase||Years||Sign||Development or Focus|
|Phase 1||1-6||Aries||Start up, getting a company identity|
|Phase 2||6-12||Taurus||Systems, finances, building a base|
|Phase 3||12-18||Gemini||PR, networks, communication|
|Phase 4||18-24||Cancer||New board, founders moving on|
|Phase 5||24-30||Leo||Creative risk taking, new products|
|Phase 6||30-36||Virgo||Service orientation|
|Phase 7||36-42||Libra||Mergers, partners, client focus|
|Phase 8||42-48||Scorpio||Reorganisations, survival, secrets|
|Phase 9||48-54||Sagittarius||Expansion, overseas issues, new philosophy|
|Phase 10||54-60||Capricorn||Reputation, focus on goals and business|
|Phase 11||60-66||Aquarius||Equality, revolution, technology|
|Phase 12||66-72||Pisces||New dream, good causes|
Footnote 1. Sheldrake, The Presence of the Past, p.240. Sheldrake’s italics.
KLM – an example of the Gemini phase
KLM was ‘born’ in 1919 and completed a cycle in 1991. This means that the company is now for the second time in the Gemini phase, from 2003 until 2009. Each phase has a critical turning point and for KLM this will occur in 2007. As KLM has been through this phase before, since it is older than 72, it is interesting to look at the last time this phase occurred from 1931-1937, with the critical point in 1935.
Ashtrays and accidents
There were many Gemini events then, to name a few: First stewards – firstly on the ground and then in 1935 on board; card and reading tables added together with ashtrays; cabins ventilated; first radio specialists; first female stewards; Christmas mail to Indonesia.
However there was a warning: In 1931 the Board doubted whether Plesman, the appointed director, could have enough ‘overview’ of such a fast growing company and they wanted another director. At the critical point in 1935 there was a disaster week where three accidents occurred in one week. Critique ranged from ‘growth too fast’ to ‘murderers’. There had been other accidents, but this was the first where the PR was becoming an issue.
The current phase 2003-2009
The French connection
One month after the entry into this phase the merger with Air France was announced. (Perhaps interesting that Air France was just past the critical point in the last Pisces phase). The Gemini archetype appears to be strong: Internet bookings were introduced; there are 3 languages to deal with; networking is important. Two quotes from interviews (2004) also show Gemini qualities.
“Focus now is working together and talking. For clients the focus is the network – more stops and faster transits. Daughter companies being bought back into the fold. New management techniques and strategy of keeping up with new developments in the field, such as internet bookings.”
“We are now in a ‘getting to know each other’ phase with Air France – for some departments the consequences will be great, as they will overseas where there are 2 offices in some cities. There are lots of meetings and we are building up our networks together. But we can’t just make a decision as we did before.”
Perhaps there is a warning for KLM in 2007 to take it slowly, making sure that the ‘overview’ is in place and to take care of the PR.
The Gemini Company
This photo from the Ahold website shows the first Albert Heijn store which opened on the 27th May in 1887 when the young Albert Heijn took over the store from his father. (This makes the original company a Gemini.) Ahold is the holding for the now very large chain of Albert Heijn supermarkets in Holland.
As mentioned in earlier posts, the birth date of 27th May, means that the Sun is in the sign of Gemini. The Sun is indicative of management and the focus within the company. The Gemini archetype can be seen strongly in all the stores. Some Gemini things to note are: The magazine – communicating ideas for food. The recipe cards. As you walk into many of the stores there are often signs saying “nice to have you here” or a similar form of communication. Albert Heijn also send out evaluation forms – opinions are also a Gemini phenomenon. The management appear to be keen to communicate with their clients. Telephone cards are also sold, as are tickets for trams – another area which falls under the domain of Gemini. Most other supermarkets do not make use of any of these ideas which obviously work for Albert Heijn, who are perhaps in tune with the Gemini ‘flow’.
As far as the company clock is concerned, Ahold is now in the eighth phase from May 2001 until May 2007.
Albert’s Midlife Crisis
Phase 8 in the Company Clock is a phase that can be described as : “Phase of Transformation, Rebirth, Death, Secrets, Re-organisations, Survival, Financial issues, especially loans, Shareholder issues.” It is the mid-life crisis phase with a crisis or turning point for Ahold in February 2005.
In the past few years Ahold has had issues involving almost all of these themes. Newspapers referred to much of what happened in the financial arena in 2002 as a scandal.
In February 2005 however Ahold announced that as part of their ‘Road to Recovery’ strategy, they could renegotiate a backup loan due to the better financial situation of the company. The turning point appears to have been reached. It may be that the current situation with the latest results of the court cases will not be completely finished until May 2007.
According to this model there would also be a parallel with the previous phase 8, from 1935-1941. Much could be learned by understanding the systems archetypes involved so that lessons could be learned from the past, although I don’t have access to this material unfortunately. Any feedback much appreciated!
Advice for phase 9 starting in May 2007 could be given based on the last phase 9, 1941- 1947 and the positive themes of this phase – Involvement in Politics, Expansion, Overseas issues. ‘Big is best’.
Interesting websites of the month
An article I wrote about the Company Clock.
And because Gemini is the sign that rules writing and ideas:
At www.astrozero.co.uk you will find a paper I wrote while doing my university study. See “Three Histories of Uranus”. This site also has some very interesting papers about astrology today. Garry Phillipson who wrote “Astrology in the Year Zero also co-authored an interesting article on the Myers Briggs test used in companies. See ResearchGate to download this information.
The paper I wrote on Uranus was partly inspired by a man who also wants to break with tradition, Rupert Sheldrake. His idea of morphic fields inspired me to look at the planetary archetypes in this light. Rupert has a very curious mind – a Gemini quality. Find him and his groundbreaking experiments at www.sheldrake.org.
Quote of the month
‘I have opinions of my own – strong opinions – but I don’t always agree with them.’ George H.W. Bush