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Astrology and the Business of Being You

by April Elliott Kent

This article previously appeared in Llewellyn’s 2009 Moon Sign Book

In 1991, I left a cushy office job to become a professional astrologer. It’s a path that’s had its ups and downs, including many slow years when my idea of success was earning enough money to pay my rent. Today, thanks to a combination of time, hard work, and luck, I’m fortunate to work with a wide range of clients on a variety of astrology-related projects. I’ve even developed an unexpected sideline business as a website designer. But this modest success has introduced a dilemma that would have seemed like a godsend back when I started my practice: I’m a bit too busy these days, so much so that it’s difficult to get everything done in a timely fashion.

Such was my plight as the deadline loomed for this article. Despite working seemingly around the clock, I couldn’t seem to bulldoze my way through the stack of folders on my desk. Then, when I finally found a moment to begin writing, disaster struck when it became obvious that my intended topic was simply not working out. With just days to go before my deadline, my article fell apart.

I brought my predicament to my patient editor, simultaneously seizing the opportunity to commiserate about the utter impossibility of daily life. “I see all these people who seem to get so much done,” I wrote to her, “and I have no clue how they do it.” She emphatically agreed, adding, “I’d love to read an article about that!”

Actually, so would I. But as a writer with a deadline to meet, I decided to write one instead. Perhaps, I thought, writing this article might help me figure out where I’ve gone wrong. Am I just disorganized – or is my life moving in the wrong direction entirely?

You, Inc.

A question like “Where is my life headed?” may seem a trifle lofty for those of us who are just trying to get through each day and earn a living. But as Pluto, the planet of transformation, settles into career-oriented Capricorn for a nice long stay (2008-2024), it may be exactly the right one to ask. Outsourcing and globalization have already eliminated many career options, a trend that will likely intensify during the Pluto in Capricorn years. My parents’ generation worked an entire career for one company, but few of us today know anyone who has spent an entire career working for a single firm.
The reality is that most of us are now free agents in the job market. And while this new career paradigm lacks the appealing security of the old days, it has the advantage of encouraging a more proactive and entrepreneurial approach to life. In fact, viewed in a certain way, your entire life is actually a sort of corporate enterprise – call it “You, Inc.” – and you are its CEO. Forgetting for a moment what you do to earn a living, what business are you really in – the business of raising a family, selling goods or services, traveling the world, educating people? While Pluto is in Capricorn, it’s time to find out – and to formulate a plan for making your “corporation” a success.

Pluto in Capricorn: The Mogul

Along with Aries, Cancer, and Libra, Capricorn is known as an “executive” sign, with a formidable gift for assessing opportunity and initiating action. In order to feel satisfied, Capricorn needs a sense of purpose and direction. To a lucky few of us, this sense of personal destiny comes easily and with a dedication that holds no hint of doubt or hesitation. For most of us, though, settling on a direction – in business and in life – can be a difficult process.
Are you ready to meet the challenge of the Pluto in Capricorn years? Do you have a clear direction in mind and a plan for getting there? The astrological symbol of Capricorn offers several strategies to help you get on track.

First, define your core principles.

What is important to you? It seems like an embarrassingly simple question, but the answer can be deceiving. Sometimes, what we say is important to us may bear little relation to how we actually spend our time. Your days may be busy, but do you feel you’re really accomplishing anything? There is a huge difference between success that feels earned, authentic, and meaningful – and simply crossing a lot of tasks off a “to do” list. Unless you operate from a sound platform built on values that are deeply important to you, you may well achieve all your goals without actually feeling like a true success.
Defining your core principles requires a peek under the hood at the psychological motivations that drive you toward achievement. In large part, you learned them from your family while growing up in the astrological territory of Capricorn’s opposite sign, Cancer. Often, we’re unconsciously motivated by family expectations rather than by what is truly right for us. For more insight, think back to 2003 through 2005, when Saturn was moving through Cancer. What did you learn about the needs that motivate you, and how to get them met? Now is the time to put that information to work for you, and…

…Formulate a plan.

Capricorn loves lists, agendas, and mission statements. Just as a corporation prepares an annual report for its shareholders, and a wise shopper drafts a list before going to the grocery store, “You, Inc.” can benefit from a written plan of action. A list of new year’s resolutions (traditionally made when the Sun is in Capricorn) is just one example. Sometimes it can help to break your plan into more manageable chunks covering a month, a week, even a day.
Don’t be ruled by your lists, though; a Dayrunner is not the Ten Commandments! In fact, your plans should be dynamic, reflecting new developments in your daily life. And there’s no need to feel like a failure if you don’t complete every task on your list. The mere act of creating a plan is a powerful tool to remind you what business you’re in and to keep you pointed in the right direction.

Take stock of your capital.

Capricorn is the king of resource management; like his symbol the goat, which can turn almost anything into food, Capricorn is the master of using resources wisely (or doing without altogether). But while a goat can live on tin cans, you presumably need somewhat different resources in order to reach your goals. Some ventures require cold hard cash to get them off the ground, but almost none require only a financial investment. In many cases, your most valuable capital will be your physical energy and stamina, a particular set of skills or knowledge, or the people who know and care about you.

So take inventory of your capital – physical, spiritual, financial, and intellectual. As you move forward toward your goal, knowing exactly what you require and what you already have will make it obvious what is still needed.


I’ve been driving my husband bats for days, wandering around chirping “Delegate!” at random moments. I can’t help it – as a mild control freak, I find the simple concept of delegation fresh and bewitching. I’m increasingly convinced that delegation is among the most powerful tools for achieving success.
Remember, Capricorn is the sign of the executive. How many executives do you know who type their own letters or make their own travel arrangements? Although this work is important, it can be delegated much more easily than some other tasks. (Not to mention that you might be a terrible typist and too impatient to negotiate with hotels and airlines. No one is good at everything!)

Decide which of your obligations can reasonably be entrusted to someone else, at least in part, and even if only temporarily. And then let them go. This may take practice and will certainly require trust, but without delegation, it can be difficult to scale the heights of Capricornian success.

Saturn in Virgo: Work smarter.

Like many entrepreneurs, you’ll wear many hats in the beginning. At first, the person to whom you’ll likely be delegating is… you. Fortunately, as Pluto begins its long journey through Capricorn, hard-working Saturn is moving through Virgo (2007 through 2009) — the sign of efficiency and service — for the first time since the late 1970s. Just as the development of microprocessors during that decade set the stage for the personal computer revolution, which simplified the automation of routine tasks, one of the challenges of this Saturn in Virgo transit is to liberate yourself from tedious, repetitive duties. How can you work smarter, so you are free to focus on treasured goals?

While Saturn is in Virgo, we must employ all that sign’s shrewd skills of logic, discernment, and problem solving in the service of a larger purpose. Ruled by Mercury, the planet of communication and skill, Virgo is well suited to analysis, systems development, and problem solving. So while Saturn is in Virgo, it’s time to get organized, to ferret out the underlying causes of the clutter and knots of daily life, and to become more efficient.

Whereas Capricorn is an executive sign, Virgo (along with Gemini, Sagittarius, and Pisces) excels at administration, carrying out plans of action with aplomb. While Saturn is in Virgo, you can lay the groundwork for your long-term goals by:

  • Downsizing. The less stuff you have, the less time you must spent maintaining it. Some friends of ours recently moved overseas, a huge relocation that required them to get rid of most of their possessions, including their house. It was a wrenching process but also, they confirm, a liberating one. Using Virgo’s litmus test as your guide – Is it useful or practical? – cull through your belongings and get rid of as much as you can. You’re not losing “stuff” – you’re gaining time!
  • Creating systems that work, and refusing to fall in love with them. Virgo delights in organization, and of course you need a few sturdy, simple systems for organizing your important papers and supplies. But don’t go crazy. At one time or another, we’ve all heeded the siren call of the office supply superstore, wandering the aisles and lusting over complex filing systems that promise to put our lives in order. It’s easy to become enthralled by the constant challenge of “getting organized,” until it becomes just another delicious distraction instead of a means to a larger end.
  • Using time wisely. Virgo’s ruling planet, Mercury, rules transportation. Where I live, no one walks and public transportation is slow and inconvenient. Consequently, I drive a lot, and for even the simplest errands. It takes some planning, but I’m trying to organize my trips so that I’m not constantly getting in and out of the car and fighting traffic just to pick up a loaf of bread. Combining trips saves time – not to mention gasoline (and patience).
    Mercury also rules written communication, so consider streamlining the time you spend reading and answering emails, updating your blog, and surfing the internet. When I recently spent a few days out of town with limited computer access, I couldn’t believe how much calmer I felt. I’m experimenting now with limiting my interactive computer time to two hours each day. I still spend a lot of time working at my computer, but with my internet browser and email program closed. I’m surprised by how difficult this has been to do – but I’m also a lot less overwhelmed by incoming projects and questions.
  • Letting go of perfectionism. Imagine that in 48 hours you will welcome guests to your home for a one-week stay. The house is a mess, you haven’t done your grocery shopping, a mountain of laundry needs to be tackled, and there are several small but crucial handyman tasks that need to be handled. How will you get it all done?
    The correct answer is, “Imperfectly.” This is not an answer that pleases Virgo, who prefers a sparkling house, a refrigerator full of healthy food, drawers full of crisply folded laundry, and a house free of creaking doors and balky latches. But let’s face it: You don’t have days and days to shop and cook and fold your guest towels with origami-like precision. Make the place presentable, wash the guest towels and sheets, and stock up on a few tasty convenience foods to supplement home-cooked meals. To paraphrase television chef Ina Garten (“The Barefoot Contessa”), your friends won’t enjoy their stay any more just because you practically killed yourself preparing for their visit.Perfectionism has its place; it can be the difference between raw creative talent and a beautiful work of art, for instance. But Saturn is a planet that insists we set limits, and Saturn in Virgo reminds us perfection is not always practical, or even necessary. Sometimes, “pretty good” is good enough.

Neptune in Pisces: Going with the flow.

While Neptune is in easy-going Pisces (Feb. 2012 – March 2025), the pull toward Virgo’s opposite sign will be strong. Like all signs, Pisces has its strengths and weaknesses. Falling under a negative Pisces spell can make us disorganized, impractical, and undependable. But when we develop positive Pisces characteristics such as flexibility and creativity, we can be formidable! The Pisces people I know well are exceptionally accomplished, educated, creative, and involved in a wide variety of interests. How do they do it all?As far as I can tell, they do it by respecting time and schedules without being enslaved by them. They trust the day to open up enough space to accommodate all the tasks, fun, and people that are important to them. They’re spontaneous. They use stray bits of time creatively. And they remember to make time for themselves – to get a massage, see a movie, or have lunch with a friend.

Best of all, Pisces has vision. Once, when I was feeling depressed that I hadn’t achieved more success in my career, a wise friend stopped me in my tracks by asking, “What would success look like to you?” It’s a good question. Without a clear vision of success, how can we recognize it when we get there?

In the end, it seems there is no single solution to getting things done. Having a vision (Pisces), identifying your role in the world (Capricorn), understanding your emotions and motivations (Cancer), and using practical skills to adapt your dreams to reality (Virgo) are all important tools to help us make the most of the years ahead – and of all the years of our lives.

As for me, I’m still struggling to get my deadlines under control and trying to keep my eye on whole forest instead of just a few trees. But then, as I write this Saturn has only peeked into the earliest corners of Virgo. I’m confident that by the time he’s through with me I’ll have simplified my life, loosened my vice-like grip on overscheduling and perfectionism, and even sampled the joys of delegation.

And after all that, the reign of Pluto in Capricorn will still be in its infancy. By the time it’s over, I’ll be 63 years old – nearly the traditional age of retirement. But that doesn’t mean my work will be finished. I’ve been a full-time astrologer since 1991, but April, Inc. has been in the business of figuring out the cosmos since 1961. It’s a career path I warmly recommend – and one that I expect to follow for many years to come.

Epilogue (June 2012)

I did indeed learn a thing or two while Saturn moved through Virgo. By the time Saturn entered Libra in July 2010, I had started work on my second book, a huge project with a very short deadline. I managed to throw aside the constraints of perfectionism to crank out 3500 words per day and produced a book I’m pretty happy with. When I finished the book, I worked on creating a couple of new offerings that generate passive income. And I hired a talented designer to do the job of updating and renovating my website, instead of tackling it myself, as I’d done for eleven years! Now that we’re nearly four years into Pluto’s journey through Capricorn, how are you doing with the Business of Being You?

© 2007 April Elliott Kent


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