There is a seagull in Aberdeen that once a day swoops into the local branch of W.H.Smith (as you do), pinches a packet of Doritos off the shelf, flies out with them and eats them. If the shop is busy, he waits until it’s quiet so that he can get a clear run at his target. What sign do you think this bird is? Gemini with Aries Rising? Hatched soon after dawn last summer, with Venus in Taurus opposite Jupiter?
At least animals don’t pretend they’re not materialistic. I was saying in yesterday's blog how in certain circles it’s seen as perfectly normal for women to chase after blokes because they are rich, and to marry them mainly for that reason. They are seen as having made a good catch. This is the general approving opinion, but you’re not allowed to say it. You’re supposed also to think that the couple got married purely because they are in love. People have these contradictory attitudes in their heads, and they’re not aware they are contradictory, because they lead unexamined lives. When I turned 40, my father said to me, “You know, there’s still time to go out and make £100 million!” I said, “And what then?” This threw him for a moment, because having £100 million is such a self-evident virtue, then he said, a bit blusteringly, “Well, the world of women will open up to you!” This is a man whose present wife once announced in his presence (quoting someone else) that the only thing a wife can’t delegate is the bedroom.
I’m not going to pretend I don’t like money, but it isn’t a source of meaning for me. With Scorpio-Taurus Nodes, however, it has been a long struggle to get a balanced view of the material realm, and not to feel defensive about not being materialistic. The challenge of Scorpio is to move away from the false sources of power – money, status etc – and to find real power within, that can’t be taken away. It seems to me that money is a big deal for most people, even if they’re not materialistic. I don’t mean a big deal from the point of view of getting hold of enough, but all the psychological issues around it. We are in the 8th House here.
And we are living in an age in which there are a lot of extremely rich people, what the New York Times called ‘America’s New Gilded Age’, a reference to the period before World War I, when “powerful enterprises, dominated by men who grew immensely rich, ushered in the industrialisation of the United States.” With Pluto (riches) coming to the end of its time in Sagittarius (expansion, excess), it is perhaps not surprising that we are in such an age again.
I haven’t got anything per se against people dedicating their lives to becoming rich. If that’s what turns them on, then who am I to try and stop them? Obviously the way they go about it has to be contained, because such people can be extremely ruthless. What also needs containing is the parading of these people as superior, as possessing more virtue than ordinary people, when often they’ve just got a big hole of inadequacy in them that they’re desperately trying to fill.
Many CEOs now get vast salaries, and as one chief executive said: “Obscene salaries send the wrong message through a company. The message is that all brilliance emanates from the top; that the worker on the floor of the store or the factory is insignificant.”
Such CEOs argue that though their incomes are very large, it only reflects a small share of the corporate value created on their watch. In reply, Paul Volcker, a former Federal Reserve Board Chairman, says “I don’t see a relationship between the extremes of income now and the performance of the economy…The market did not go up because businessmen got so much smarter.” He added that the 1950s and 1960s “were very good economic times and no one was making what they are now.”
It doesn’t necessarily seem wrong to me that someone who has trained for a highly skilled job and who works long hours should earn more, but what is happening now is out of all proportion, it really is Pluto in Sagittarius at its worst, bloated and arrogant and out of touch with reality. Pluto in Capricorn would classically correct this, Capricorn has a sense that there should be a proportional relationship between what you do and what you earn. So there may be a corrective coming. On the other hand, Capricorn is also big business, so it might get worse.