The nature of astrology and power are two areas that have interested me over the years. In this article, I explore common archetypal assignments of planetary images and weave them into contemporary works on power and professionalism. As a one-time student of Marion March, I have an appreciation for fundamentals.(1) I, therefore, limit this discussion to the basic 7 planets plus the transpersonal planets of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto.
Contemporary astrologers attribute the keyword power to Pluto. Often, there is Machiavellian intrigue involving secrecy and the undermining of the other. There are more straightforward forms, however. Take, for example, the Sun’s power to be, cast light and generate clarity of vision. Of course, Jupiter, the magnanimous and giving father, and Saturn, archetype of stern reprieve, are also power constructs within the contemporary psyche.
As a solar endeavor, power is often taught and assessed through ideas of leadership. There are good reasons as the influence of a discipline can be realized through professionalism and leadership.(2) Further; the sense of power and influence that an individual within a profession enjoys can affect their presence and capacity as a human being.
Stage development is a pertinent feature of power, ethics, morals and the ability to influence others. This article explores power and stage theory as a tool for developing astrology. Leadership author, Janet Hagberg, synthesized a stage model for identifying personal development in relationship to power. She describes six stages are divided in two parts, internal and external.(3) I use it to create a framework for this article.
Leadership in terms of power stages has value for several reasons. The ability to assess a client’s level of personal power in life can lead to important interactions in consultation that make a difference. Knowledge of one’s own stage can affect the ability to heal at the level of both personal and social systems. As a teacher, the ability to assess the power stage of a learner can affect how interactions take place, as well as the selection of learning partnerships in the clinic and classroom.(4)
Stage of Power Introduction
Aside from obvious power stage references in terms of an evolutionary house schema, I use planetary references and ideas pertinent to particular houses. Prior to moving forward, 2 houses are assigned to each stage in a linear fashion beginning with the 1st and 2nd houses for stage 1, 3rd and 4th houses for stage 2, and so forth, until the 11th and 12th houses are achieved in the last stage 6 – liberation of sorts, if not confinement and sacrifice. We move on to a more practical, experience based and practical schema than this linear form.
3 Internal Stages
Internal power stages evolve through reflection, which is enhanced by the influences of the Moon and Mercury, which gives special powers of reflection when retrograde. Then we consider power by purpose when the Sun, Mars, or 10th house is strong, to power through wisdom with a strong 9th house and Jupiter. In this second half of the journey, there is integration of the capacity to act with the capacity to reflect. Internal power emerges out of our inner self, our souls, our deepest values, and is more related to whom we really are and what our life purposes are. When these stages are active we find meaning and a sense of calling within our work, we explore our inner passions, thus creating long-lasting effects that are rooted in consciousness, community and connectedness.
3 External Stages
External stages of power move thus: powerlessness (1st, 12th houses, weak Moon, weak Sun), to power by association (7th, and 11th houses, Jupiter and Saturn), to power by achievement (10th house, Sun, Mars). People in the latter part of the first three stages can marshal resources, meet goals, manage people, make things happen, and make a living. The latter stage of competence is often seen as the pinnacle of professional ability.
Stage by Stage
The 1st stage has feelings of powerlessness. The person may feel trapped, insecure, and dependent with low self-esteem (impaired Sun or Mars and hard aspects from Saturn). We often see such attitudes in first year learners, especially during the first term. On the shadow side, these leaners experience frustration and hopelessness, resorting to distractions from study (Mercury combust). It is necessary to overcome fear (Saturn) and develop self-esteem in order to generate a transformation out of this stage; this can occur by facing inadequacies, developing skills and moving away from attachment to outcomes.(5) Other ways to move from out of this stage are to find allies, get support, share with others, take responsibility, confront self, and seek mentors (Jupiter).
Characteristics of the 2nd power stage involve learning about the culture in which one participates and apprenticeship – 2nd and 3rd house action.(6) Power comes through association with peers and mentors, which brings new levels of self-awareness. At this stage, Jupiter and Saturn represent the larger social context in which an individual operates. During this cycle it is important to get feedback, develop competence that is reflected in credentials, become involved, take risks, develop networks, and develop independence. There is a process of learning about and enjoying the journey. The shadow of this stage can be expressed as naivety and chameleon-like behavior. Obstructions to moving out of this stage are lack of confidence and the need for security.
Next, 3rd power stage people are competent. They display technical expertise, and confidence. They have the badges of success: titles, degrees, stature, money, self-esteem and recognition(7). They can be dynamic and competitive given their ambitions (Sun and Mars). The mature individual in this stage contributes knowledge to the field (Jupiter and Saturn). On the shadow side, they can have egotism, greed and bravado. Integrity is a catalyst for transforming such a shadow. Stagnation and confusion can be transformed by: (a) creating crises and accepting the change crisis can bring (b) appreciating solitude and serious self-reflection (c) trying new activities that cause different thinking processes (d) designing rituals (e) reflecting upon next stages (f) building a network (g) and doing longterm visioning of one’s life.
Individuals who operate in the 4th stage communicate insight and perspective (Uranus). They can shift perspective from subjective to objective points of view, creating interplay on the bounds between the intrapersonal and interpersonal, intra-cultural and intercultural systems.(8) The sense of personal power shifts from self value through competency towards a focus upon a mission.(3) These people have influence. They provide skilled mentorship, have welldeveloped personal style and display true leadership with strength. They have rediscovered sacred ground. In the shadow of the 4th stage, these individuals may find themselves playacting, confused and misunderstood. Under these circumstances it is important to let go of ego and face fear, while identifying the mission and purpose of this life. Other factors that can assist the transformation that occurs at this stage include a willingness to release control, going beyond the intellect, and connecting to wisdom. To do this one must face one’s own shadow. This takes deep transformation and courage, courage to move beyond potential losses. It requires finding grace within the darkness. Movement out of this stage occurs when staying accountable to someone who knows your story.
The 5th stage is truly the expression of the deepest heart’s desire. Here, one accepts self as that with calmness, courage, and awareness of the needs of the group. There is humility and a deep sense of clarity about one’s mission in life. This is the arena of practicing mystics; they have elusive qualities, and are generous in empowering others. In the spirituality of this stage there is surrender.
The shadow of stage five includes pseudo-innocence, which I would suggest is a sign that person is at an earlier stage. It also includes a perception by others that one is impractical or undeveloped. The catalyst for movement is universal understanding. Failure to understand the universe will hold people at this stage back, as will faithlessness and fear of loss (Neptune).
In the 6th stage, the essential question is how close am I willing to come to the flame (Pluto)? This is a deeper life that is consumed by a spiritual fire and self–sacrifice. People in this stage have integrated the shadow, are unafraid of death, and demonstrate compassion for the world. Such people include Moses, Buddha, Christ, Sun Simiao, Mother Teresa and Ramana Maharshi, the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela. They each possess extraordinary qualities, yet they are in touch with their own humanity. The shadow of Stage Six is that these people can be out of touch with danger and appear too sacrificial. And – it is their own humanity that prevents them from achieving the vision they hold for humanity within their own spiritual framework. Ultimately, their cause and followers bring about emancipation.
Awareness of the power stage for oneself and the other is a feature that can be important for life. The usefulness of such knowledge can be realized in practice, teaching, learning and profession building. The achievement of the possibilities of a collaborative astrological profession requires transformative leadership with the capacity to move a collective through power stages effectively.(9) To do so require tools to assess the stage and state of the profession. It is hoped that this article introduces a small piece of a view upon the stages of power in relation to astrological emblems of both the houses and the planets.
William Morris is a practicing astrologer since 1977, focused upon medical astrology. His early training was with Church of Light and Marion March. Studies with Eileen Nauman brought him to seek acupuncture. He further studied with Rao, Charak, Leighmen, Barclay, Hand, Zoller and Schmidt. He earned an MSEd in medical education from USC, a doctorate in acupuncture and Oriental medicine from Emperor’s College and a PhD in transformative studies from the California Institute of Integral Studies. He currently uses astrology in his acupuncture practice, teaching select students his medical astrological methods.
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2. Turner. B. Medical. Power and Social Knowledge. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage; 1995.
3. Hagberg. JO. Real Power: Stages of Personal Power in Organizations. Third ed: Sheffield Publishing Company; 2002.
4. French, JRP, Raven, B. The bases of social power. In: Cartwright D, editor. Studies in Social Power. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press; 1959.
5. Greene, L, Hand, R. Saturn: A New Look at an Old Devil Newburyport, MA Weiser Books; 2011.
6. Evetts, J. The Sociological Analysis of Professionalism: Occupational Change in the Modern World. International Sociology. 2003;18(2):395-415.
7. Klein, G. Sources of Power (How People Make Decisions). First ed. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Massachusetts Institute of Technology; 1998. 308 p.
8. Kegan, R. In Over Our Heads: The Mental Demands of Modern Life. Cambridge: Harvard University Press; 1994.
9. Kenny, RM. The Whole is Greater: Reflective Practice, Human Development and Fields of Consciousness and Collaborative Creativity. World Futures. 2008;64(8):590 – 630