Reintegrating Ancient Tools into Business

The following is a transcript and unofficial video of a talk at the SheEO Global Conference, March 9-10, 2020, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


The talk was cut a little short due to mercury retrograde technical difficulties. Check out my rehearsal video at the end for my unplugged rehearsal.


My father started his second business in 1986. Possibly some of you can relate, his business started out of his house with an ad in the paper and a home-based phone.  I was 16 years old. My parents were separated. And when I was at dads’ house I helped, answering the phone the way you would answer a business. Over several years his business grew to three branches and then seemed to level off. He decided he wanted to do other things, so he put an ad in the paper to hire a Managing Director. When the applicants came in, they came with handwritten cover letters. His business is in Jamaica and a handwritten cover letter was the expectation. This served two purposes. It told you if the applicant was literate and gave you some indication, by the way, they wrote, what level of education they had (something we almost never have to consider in Canada). At the time, I had been studying a book on graphology or handwriting analysis. As my Dad pored over the top two applicants, I offered to use my book to analyze their handwriting, thinking that it might help him make his decision.  My father allowed me to do it AND he took my recommendation. The Managing Director he hired went on to help the business grow to 7 branches across the island and he tripled the revenue. My father might have hired him even without my esoteric advice, but I think what fascinated him in the days and years that followed, was how accurately the handwriting analysis described his Managing Directors’ character.

Much later in my life, I decided to follow my curiosity about astrology. After learning a solid basis in astrology, I eventually chose to focus on business astrology.  My Dad was my guinea pig again. I asked if I could look at his business incorporation chart. He gave me the date and I plugged it into my software and was amazed by two things. The Moon (which represents our customers in business astrology) was in Scorpio (the sign responsible for money and share resources) and was trine Jupiter (the planet of expansion). Venus (the planet that attracts money) was trine Pluto (transformation). The sun was cazimi with mercury in Gemini. Mercury and Gemini both having to do with business and merchants. I know most of you have no idea what all of that means, but in simple terms, they mean a solid business. That was the first thing! The second was the fact that my father’s business was incorporated the day after Harpo productions (Oprah’s company) was in 1986. The stars were aligned for those two days…  My dad had good timing, but I don’t think I need to tell you Oprah’s timing was even better!

The day you incorporate is important. The alignment of the planets can give you a company like my father’s or Oprah’s, it can give you mediocre success, or can riddle you with problems!

I had a client who had a video production company. She operated for a number of years as a sole proprietor. The people who supported her were all consultants –film crew, production people, etc. As many do, she incorporated years later when the company got legs and was doing well.  When she came to me I asked her if she had noticed the energy of her company shift when she incorporated. She said yes. I then asked if she had a problem with her employees. It turns out that was one of the reasons she had come to see me. How did I know this to be an issue?  I knew it because when she incorporated she did so on a day when Mars and Venus were square. Mars square Venus in a company chart indicates lazy employees. Not only that she had a lazy employee who thought he should be the owner and the boss. I advised her to not bother with employees, but to hire consultants instead, which was more supported in her business chart.

Starting your business on a day when the stars are aligned doesn’t mean that you won’t have bumps! As I read my father’s business incorporation chart that day in 2014, I discovered that at that moment Neptune was transiting squaring the business charts mercury/sun cazimi conjunction. Neptune in that configuration always means trouble! After doing that reading, I said “Dad, I think someone is stealing from the company. There’s definitely some deception”. I’m not sure if my warning caused him to look, but sure enough, two weeks later he called to say he had discovered that one of his longest employees, one who had been around since the beginning as his assistant and who had made her way up in the company, had hatched a plan with the company accountant and they had been stealing money for over 1.5 years. He was heartbroken… but also glad to have unearthed it!!

I’ve had an opportunity to consult with many business charts and can tell you there is a richness of information. It describes the potential for success, strength and weaknesses with every area of business, and pitfalls along the way.

So why would business owners or entrepreneurs trust astrology – it’s something that’s currently not proven by science!

Though nonconventional metaphysical tools are common practice in India, Asia and even among Canadian First Nations, we in the west rely heavily on and trust only in the conventional methods. Western convention looks to scientific method. We value research and evidence. For the most part, it’s a quantitative approach. We create hypotheses and measure using numbers to falsify. Studies have to be replicated under controlled conditions in order to prove their validity. Theories are developed and tested. And skepticism is the rule.

In non-conventional, eastern or traditional based ways of knowing a holistic approach is taken which also values myth, symbolism, mysticism and inherited knowledge.

As we reorganize the world (which is the theme of this conference), I invite you to open the possibility of pulling these two worlds together in the west – nonconventional and conventional.  

Let me help you to do so by poking some holes in some of the common attacks from the scientific approach.

One of the strongest arguments against using the metaphysical as a tool is that it’s not proven. But it’s curious that not all that we believe as science is not actually proven in the science word. For instance, In western thought, one theory we believe strongly as a way to motivate employees is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. How many of you have seen that pyramid (with physiological needs, safety needs, love and belonging, esteem and then self-actualization). You might have heard in presentations or have heard someone use it to strengthen an argument? And yet, i learned in my masters-level study of Organizational Psychology that there is no actual proof that this theory explains or predicts anything about human behavior. Yet it prevails. Management consultants using Maslow’s theory would say, fulfill all these needs in this particular order and you will have a motivated producing employee. And as an astrologer, I would say. Let me see the chart – and in the case of my video production client, I’d say, forget employees, outsource!

My point is both bodies of knowledge are unproven. But happily despite both not being proven both offer something to consider as a tool in business that’s valid.

What about the Charlatans and Quacks? This is the next attack from science on metaphysical knowledge. Can you really trust an astrologer, face reader, graphologist, feng shui practitioner?

Well, with all knowledge comes power – whether it’s conventional or nonconventional knowledge.

I think we can all agree that there have been a number of times that we have been sold a bill of goods by a western conventional approach. In 2008 derivative and prediction models on housing growth and interest rates developed by greedy know-how bankers triggered one of the biggest economic downturns of our time. I don’t know about you, but I consider myself to be fairly smart. Yet I really had a hard time understanding what happened during the housing crisis. It took the movie the big short, which by the way is said to be 98% accurately based on facts – for me to get it.  People with mathematical know-how far beyond the average person developed those schemes and we, with our belief in math and science, trusted them.

So, no matter what the basis of knowledge, it has to be held to a moral code.

Hypocrites, the father of modern medicine was responsible for developing the Hippocratic oath “First, do no harm”  – still used till today as the primary ethical code in medicine.

This brings me to the third attack on mysticism. And that is that its fluff.

Would it surprise you to know that Hypocrites also said: “A physician without a knowledge of astrology has no right to call himself a physician”? Hypocrites was also an astrologer!

And he wasn’t the only one who believed in the value of looking to the stars for understanding our world. In fact, western astrology and astronomy were one body of knowledge in much of the world for thousands of years. Nicolaus Copernicus and later  Johannes Kepler, who were both astronomers, mathematician, and an astrologer, made an important theory and discovery about the planets – that they did not revolve around the earth, but that all revolved around the sun. Over time, Kepler’s theories became the basis of the scientific revolution and the age of reason (or enlightenment) that emerged in the west placing the weight on science that we see today. As scientific theory became more important, we began to exclude the mysticism, myth, and symbolism which had previously been entwined with scientific theory.

This was not the case in other cultures. Most metaphysical knowledge is old.  Feng Shui is 5000 years old and uses Chinese astrology as part of a mathematical system for arranging all things to create balance and attract wealth. It is commonly used in Asian businesses (like Disney and Samsung). Indian astrology (Jyotish astrology) is also at least 5000 thousand years old. In fact, it is said to be the only business that thrives and survives a recession in India.  Western Astrology as far as we know, dates back 2,400 years to Babylon (modern-day Syria and Iran), moving later into Egypt and then the Mediterranean.

To some extent astrology has survived in the west, but not very well.  Today if you use it or other forms of mysticism in your business you’re likely to get a raised eyebrow.

Yet we are thirsty for it. As of 2019, “mystical services” was about a 2.1 billion dollar market according to the New York Times.

I believe that one of the reasons we are thirsty for this other type of knowledge is because it incorporates a holistic approach. We’ve seen this with medicine incorporating energy healing, Chinese medicine and so on.

Speaking of medicine, Lately, I’ve been learning about medical astrology. When I tell people they ask if I’m departing from business. I’m not! I’m deepening my understanding of how these complex systems interact, just as in ancient times the learned people like Copernicus, Kepler, Hypocrites were not just philosophers, mathematicians, astronomers, and physicians. All of them were also astrologers and integrated that spiritual and symbolic knowledge into their practice.

This approach is relevant in so many ways. As I delve into more holistic learning I was amazed to find a medical astrology book written in the 1700s which mentions the use of hemp and cannabis. It describes it as influenced under a Saturn planet, which means it’s best for complaints related to aging (eg arthritis and menopause). The book goes on to say it is not recommended for young people as it causes infertility. Science has recently studied this and found it to be true.

While other cultures have carried their ancient knowledge forward, have passed it down and trusted it, in the western world we discredit the ancient information and wait instead for science to give us the green light.

So far I’ve mentioned that some pretty big theorists in high regard in the western world were also well-known astrologers.  I also mentioned a time when astrology and astronomy were seen as one complex body of knowledge.  And this brings me to my last point.

Metaphysics ARE part of our western culture, These are lost ancient tools – tools that were separated from our body of knowledge during the scientific revolution.  Combine them with connection to our own inner knowing and the ethics of trusted advisors, and these tools offer us the possibility to bring us back to a holistic wisdom that embraces both the modern and ancient knowledge developed by our ancestors and most importantly can give us even more opportunity to understand, to learn and ultimately succeed in our businesses.

Ingrid Arboine, Founder and CEO of Clan Mother Worldwide