These days, many people are crying out for ‘leadership’, especially in politics, but what does that mean? Way back in 2006, (where did that time go?) I wrote a Leo post on leadership, where I suggested that there are four basic types of leaders based on the elements of fire, earth, air and water.
Leo, the lion, has always been associated with royalty, kings and rulers. As I discussed in the 2006 post, we tend to think of fire signs, of which our sign of the month is a member, as having leadership qualities and potentials. If we say we want a strong leader, we often mean a pioneer, an initiator, an entrepreneur, a risk taker or a strategic person. Someone who is happy centre stage. And, in the past, it has often meant men. All the fire signs are traditionally thought of as ‘masculine’, although I agree with many who suggest that the labels ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ have become so muddied in meaning that we need a new name to describe these qualities.
Leaders of many colours
Today, leadership comes in many forms, from leading a family to leading a movement, a company or a country. We have young, old, male, female, trans – you name it – heading up all manner of groups. So I thought I would take a look at this topic again, in particular in politics and in celebrity circles. I remain convinced that we need the four types of leadership skills – and that today, in particular, we need water, as I think the emphasis on earth and fire leadership is out of balance. Earth signs are focused on getting concrete results, and of course there is nothing wrong with that. However we seem to be sadly lacking in compassionate, protective leadership – qualities of the positive water element – whereas we have plenty of risk-taking and self-focus, which can be the result of an overdose of fire. Airy leadership is necessary for ideas and innovation – we need more of that to come to the fore too.
A question of self-reflection
As I have said often, there are no goods or bads when it come to an astrological sign. All of them can range from great to terrible, depending on the level of consciousness one has. Tough experiences during childhood make it much more difficult to express your horoscope in a positive manner. Recently, I watched a fascinating interview between Russell Brand and Dr. Gabor Maté. The clip below shows Maté’s views on some of our leaders, who, he maintains, were all traumatised in childhood (although aren’t we all, to some extent?) and he specifically discusses the traumas of some political leaders. He poses the question: “Why do we keep rewarding them?” I have often wondered about that too.
The traumatised leader
I will discuss a few leaders from an astrological point of view in terms of archetypes. I agree with Maté that many have had difficult childhoods and, as we all have, they have developed survival strategies to deal with life. Of course, being able to be in control is a big factor for top politicians, and if you had a tough childhood, this will always be a major factor that might awaken a negative Pluto (water) archetype. There is a lot of this about in the world today. Cruelty, war-mongering, killing, plutocracy and holding on to power are global issues. But …
Trump is not about power
Although Trump is a Gemini (a thought leader – see what his ideas as tweets do!), his main clearly-expressed planetary archetypes are Mars and Uranus. Two things he often talks about are winning (Mars) and how clever he is (Uranus). Here’s a tweet from 2013 “Sorry losers and haters, but my I.Q. is one of the highest – and you all know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure, it’s not your fault.”
Methinks he doth protest too much! Donald was born the second son in a very competitive family. His brother should have taken over from his father and been number one son. With a father like his, Donald had to make sure that he won the battle to succeed his father, along with everything else. His, and his father’s behaviour is considered by many to have been a factor in his eldest brother becoming an alcoholic and taking his own life.
Donald was born when Mars in Leo (double fire!) was rising, giving him a strong need to be ‘the man’. To have the girl, the money, the yacht. To win no matter what. To get the deal. The negative working of this shows in everything he does. In his eyes he has to be macho – to not be a ‘loser’, his favourite insult to any man who crosses him. (Most women are nasty!) This comes from his early family environment.
Trump is an awakening figure – he likes to shock and upset people. In my 2016 blog on Trump, I discussed the fact that I think this is his role. Uranus has no empathy. What is behind a negative version of this archetype, is often a feeling of being the odd one out, or feeling stupid. Uranians like Trump long to be special, but have often been given negative attention in childhood. He may have been called slow or stupid, and he probably didn’t fit in. The possible consequence of this is being a ‘teenage rebel’ all your life, so as to be seen as different and special.
Mars is no match for Pluto
Vladimir Putin is all about power. Although we are pretty sure he is an air sign, a Libra, there is uncertainty about his year of birth and his parents. Many things are shrouded in secrecy and along with the fact that he worked for the KGB, this leads me to believe that his horoscope features a strong dose of the Pluto archetype. Control is tantamount to survival, and if the story of his early childhood is true (see link below), he would have felt powerless to have any influence in decisions about his early life. His coping strategy would be to be hyper-alert and in control of everything, so as to avoid feeling that powerlessness again. Pluto is different from Mars in a fight. Mars is aggressive. Pluto is sneaky, calculating, secretive and ruthless. Mars wants to win – Pluto wants domination.
Another air leader …
… is Boris Johnson, the current UK Prime Minister, who is in all sorts of trouble as I write. His early life was fairly typical of his class. Although his mother was very loving, she suffered from depression, and his father was away a lot. I imagine, with moving so often in childhood, it was difficult to keep friendships. The family appear to be close because of this. He is a typical Gemini in that he is witty and has a different story each day. I think he has learned to use humour to become part of a group in his youth.
One of his major archetypes is Venus. He tries to use charm and he is very fond of art and cultural pursuits, which I think also means that he doesn’t like to confront difficulties. Venus likes a partner – he needs advice and others around him to operate, so he is not a typical leader, one who is happy to lead alone. Many are worried about the influence that his advisor Dominic Cummings, an unelected special political advisor, has on Johnson. Cummings is a fire sign – a Sagittarius, who often make good strategic political leaders. Perhaps opponents are right to ask who is leading the country!
A couple of watery leaders
Although he is a Leo, Barack Obama has a strong link to water. Angela Merkel is even more watery – being a Cancer as well as having Neptune strongly placed, as does Obama. They have shown more compassion than many leaders, but are of course part of a system (a dying one I hope), that makes it very difficult to lead using these characteristics. Money still rules the world. I hope this is changing. Obama’s trauma was a missing father. For a Leo boy who needs attention that must have been difficult.
I don’t know enough about Merkel’s background to hazard a guess at what her life traumas or strategies might be, but I imagine growing up in East Germany as the daughter of a pastor, couldn’t have been easy, for someone with a passion for democracy.
The more interesting question
I could go on about many leaders (I have done in past blogs!) but perhaps the more interesting question is Maté’s, that I mentioned earlier: “Why do we reward traumatised leaders by following them or voting them into influential posts?”
Thinking about that set me off on a train of thought about having ‘followers’ – or ‘following’ people. Have we all become online stalkers? Do we all suddenly need disciples? Are we longing to have celebrity status? And more importantly, do we look to others to make decisions? A bit of self-reflection, and I was off examining who I ‘follow’ online and why? Now I don’t use Instagram or snapchat, although Instagram is getting more aged recruits like myself! I love Baddie Winkle who is 92! I follow her because I love people who make me laugh. She pokes fun at celeb culture and selfies. We need some of that in these troubling times.
Leadership today is different
The term ‘influencers’ is used today to describe people who have a large social media following. Many of them are paid by companies to promote products because they can influence so many people. Topping the list are many young women, and others in the list of top influencers are football stars. I find the number of followers some people have mind-boggling. The top two as I write are heading for 180 million followers on Instagram.
Selena Gomez tops the global list, but some sites state that Ariana Grande has now overtaken her. It changes all the time of course, and some sites take into account the amount of genuine engagement to rank the list. Second on the list mentioned below is Cristiano Ronaldo. These are global ratings, however it is fascinating to see who is following them and in which countries. Ronaldo has a 77 percent male following, as might be expected, however contrary to many of the young women on Instagram, 42% of Gomez’s audience are male. Ariana Grande has a 68% female following.
The main group of followers on Instagram falls in the 18-24 and 25-34 groups. A large proportion of these groups can vote. So any political leanings these ‘leaders’ hold will carry weight. A lot of older politicians have no idea about the influence of social media on these groups, other than the fact that there is interference by targeted campaigns. Barack Obama was an early adopter of social media and that served him well in his elections. A lot has changed since then, but I was heartened to see that even in the Trump tweet era, Obama still has more followers on Twitter than Trump! 107 million as opposed to 63 million!
In all social media (not just Twitter), Obama tops the politicians list according to some sites, followed by Narendra Modi – India’s Prime Minister. Hillary Clinton is at number 4 on one list I found. These people need to be (and probably are) aware of the power social media carries. But I wonder if enough responsibility is being taken by some of those on the top 100 list.
We are at a crossroads. Important planetary alignments are confirming that these are no ordinary times. Many astrologers are discussing the fact that Saturn and Pluto are together. The end of a very long cycle and the start of a new one. Governments worldwide are in disarray – the latest as I write being Italy. There is change afoot and action at ground roots level is taking hold and having an effect. The general populace wants more influence. One of the things that contributes to the success of some of these actions is the lack of any centralised leadership: Extinction Rebellion and the Hong Kong riots being cases in point. Carrie Lam, the Hong Kong leader is a tough nut to crack though – as a Taurus, she will hold her ground!
There are figureheads of certain movements – Greta Thunberg (over 1 million followers on FB and Twitter and 2.6 million on Instagram) and Jordan Peterson (over 2 million followers on YouTube and over 1 million on Twitter) being a couple of examples. Both are controversial in their own way. Apart from their obvious differences – young Swedish schoolgirl vs older Canadian male professor – their ‘leading’ styles are diametrically opposed. Peterson tells us what to do. Thunberg shows us. Peterson is yet another Gemini. It’s his thoughts that have spread. One in particular has been taken up by the far right – his lobster hierarchy, which has led to much heated debate about what he is actually advocating.
Thunberg is a Capricorn – an earth sign. She understands that ideas are no good unless you DO something. Earthy people learn by doing things and earthy leaders want practical results. Her message is “I don’t care if people listen to my ideas – I don’t want to change anyone. I just want to show that other ways of treating the planet are possible.” I think she makes adults feel that they should be more responsible – Greta does tell them that! She has inspired lots of school children to act and has become the de facto leader – or I would say more of a figurehead – of Extinction Rebellion, as their goals rhyme.
The best leaders?
It is abundantly clear that trust in leadership at all levels – particularly politically and in corporations – is not very high. There are still many who won’t vote in elections because they think it will make little difference to the eventual outcome. Last year Forbes – I’m sure one of many – put together a list of essential qualities for leaders. In the article (link below), Kimberly Fries, like many before her, lists eight qualities she calls “absolutely essential to great leadership.” That’s a very tall order! They are: sincere enthusiasm, integrity, great communications skills, loyalty, decisiveness, managerial competence, empowerment, and charisma.
I’m not sure I have worked for any bosses who have had all of these skills and I would struggle to name a large number of political leaders who had all these qualities. I think some characteristics are inherent in your character and can’t be learned. In my humble opinion, this is a typical corporate list that has got us nowhere – although I agree personally with integrity being of vital importance. But apparently many voters don’t care about that.
Another description of leadership
Another post on leadership in 2019 has this list and maintains that these can be learned – I still have my doubts as to whether some of these can be taught: communication – including listening, integrity, accountability, empathy, humility, resilience, vision, influence, positivity, delegation and confidence. I do think it’s a better list though. And it includes all the elements. However. I think the best leaders are those who are truly in line with their horoscopes. People who, having done the work, can make full use of their positive potential. That’s my definition of authenticity.
There are people who enjoy being in the public spotlight and delegating. And others who want to stay in the background and still have influence with their ideas. There are people in politics who want to make a difference and make the world more compassionate. We all need to find a place where we are encouraged to use our strengths. That doesn’t mean we all want to be leaders. However, we definitely need to lead our own lives. Lead being the operative word.
Who are you following?
We attract what we put out into the world. This is blatantly obvious with Trump. He will attract ‘unconscious’ Mars type supporters. Those men and women who see aggression and ‘being the man’ as strong. Those who want to carry weapons and ‘defend’. Those who want to beat up others. It gives vent to their own frustrations. Until there are enough people in the US willing to look at all the underlying anger (Mars) in themselves, Trump and those like him will attract support.
Boris Johnson will attract those who like humour and Venusian characteristics. On a good day he will draw in people who like art and culture, but Venus can also want money and want to part of the in crowd. Apparently Boris can charm people into liking him when he meets them. Even though he is blatantly lying sometimes, it doesn’t seem to matter.
Greta’s followers like her because she is doing something, and she has woken up a generation. Her age and her autism makes her special and authentic. That ‘sells’. And she is a brilliant communicator too of course.
I think Jordan Peterson is followed by a lot of young men because there has been a sad lack of male guidance. Missing fathers have caused a global trauma. Peterson gives rules and a structure in a way that women – despite being great mothers, can’t. I think that provides clarity and a sense of safety and comfort to many.
You might enjoy asking yourself who are you following and why? Do they have characteristics that you have deep down? Can they teach you how to express these qualities? If they are good ones of course!
I don’t know how you feel, but I have no idea what to believe any more. The benefit of this, and perhaps the purpose of it, is that we look for answers and safety from people we know and trust. That’s fine if that person has integrity and truly cares. Ultimately though, we need to learn to trust ourselves and look inwards for guidance. Perhaps the elements can help us ‘lead’ our own lives. In making any decision consider: Is it sensible and practical? (earth). Is it logical and truthful? (air). Does it feel good? (water), and do we want it – does it inspire? (fire).
Be more you
Depending on your elemental makeup some questions will carry more weight than others. I hope the mess the world is in results in each one of us looking at our own personal traumas and healing them. If we all could do that, the world would be a much better, safer and enjoyable place. And please – stop voting for untrustworthy, heartless people! 🙂
Websites of the month
Essential qualities of great leadership – Kimberly Fries article.
The very interesting site on Instagram influencers – hours of fun if you play with the search tool – or maybe that’s just me!
An interesting post of the power of influencers
Quote of the month
“We may not be responsible for the world that created our minds, but we can take responsibility for the mind with which we create our world.” Gabor Maté.
And of course the inspiration for my title: