Richard Branson, arguably Britain’s finest ever entrepreneur has never shirked away from a challenge. After the pilots of Virgin Atlantic yesterday voted 97% in favour of strike action in protest of their pay, Richard faces one of the sterner tests so far of his working career to date, in trying to protect the reputation of his beloved airline.
Richard Branson was born on 18th July 1950 in Blackheath, London at 07.00am. Richard is a security and family orientated Cancerian in the 12th house with a very precise and hands on Virgo Moon in the first. Indeed, this is a very hands on chart as most of the planets, save Jupiter are located in the Eastern hemisphere of the chart. This man has a me first attitude, seeing things his way. With the Sun and Mercury tucked away in the 12th house, Richard will take the view that his place in life through his work is to serve the public. The 12th house is the house of service and sacrifice to others and quite appropriately Richard’s Sun Mercury conjunction squares his Midheaven representing his working role in life. Until looking at this horoscope I always found Richard quite a nervous and faltering orator and speaker, and though what he does say has a strong message to it (Mercury is in Leo) I suspect this is one part of the business he doesn’t enjoy, or at least he knows he has to do but wishes he didn’t have to. Mercury in the 12th is reluctant to show and share his personal opinions. The astrology backs up my initial opinions, and suggests there is more to Richard Branson than meets the eye.
What does initially strike you and the public’s perception of Richard Branson is his flashy, always in your face presentation, demonstrated by a proud over the top Leo Ascendant and the go ahead Aries Midheaven. Think of fast cars, girls on aircraft wings, the bright red uniforms of the Virgin Atlantic employees, Richard will stop at nothing to promote his businesses and of course having a Leo Ascendant, he will have to be centre stage in all of it. It is really interesting that somebody with a shy retiring service orientated Sun/Moon combination (Cancer and Virgo are not interested in being in the limelight) should be upfront as much as Richard is. The devil as they say is in the detail and this is where Richard really hits the mark. That precise, self obsessed Moon in Virgo in the first house says it all for me. He is emotionally involved in the tiniest aspects of his work, the minute planning, the critical assessment of everything, making sure that the lowest ranking of his employees are felt to be important. Saturn in the second house sitting on his own in Virgo, brings the same attributes, an obsession with the smallest details and hyper-critical, Richard is the ultra perfectionist. Saturn here brings fear, fear that he doesn’t have enough money to achieve all that he wants to achieve. This fear will drive him forward ferociously to work and to work in order to earn. The impression I get is that the bravado he exhibits is all a front, a show to veil a much more insecure man underneath.
The Moon in the first house is a sensitive, caring Moon as well as an independent one wanting to be master of all it controls. His company after all is called Virgin, represented naturally by the sign of Virgo. This is his emotional baby and one he wholeheartedly throws his whole weight and desires behind. Why? Because Pluto sits conjunct his Leo Ascendant, also in his first house. Pluto in Leo in the first will stop at nothing to be the best, and will obsessively fight until the top position in any goal is achieved. I call Pluto in the first house the love’em or hate’em position. Those with Pluto in the first will provoke strong opinions in everyone around them. They can be a tremendous force for good, and yet a terrible foe to face.
Sextile to the first house Pluto is a conjunction of Mars and Neptune in the 3rd house. Neptune and Mars together always brings great charisma and bright ideas, Richard will always be on the lookout for the next big thing. In the 3rd house and in Libra, Richard brings these ideas to the social (Libra) arena. The third house is the house of the salesman and Richard will push and push, promote and promote to get these ideas off the ground. The pitch will always be the same, the first, the newest, the freshest, the most innovative, reflecting his Aries ascendant.
Reinforcing this push for fresh ideas is a trine between Jupiter in the 8th house and Uranus in the 11th forming a wedge with the 1st house Moon via a sextile between Uranus and Moon and an opposition between the Moon and Jupiter. Lucky Jupiter sits in the house of big business and connects with that independent Virgo Moon. Richard was truly born with the aspects of an entrepreneur. As this is an opposition, the business side of it needs constant hard work (Moon in Virgo), however the innovation side of it (trine Uranus) comes easy, think Virgin Galactic – big business ventures (Jupiter in 8th) ideas based around space travel (Uranus). The Jupiter/Uranus connection does have a humanitarian side too. Richard will always be a generous giver to charities and causes that he is interested in. Surrounded by unusual, influential friends (Uranus in 11th), Richard will love chatting, socializing and sharing ideas with others (Venus in 11th).
So why is Richard in the airline business? Look at the North Node, his ultimate direction in life and immediately you see. The North Node sits in the 9th house of long distance travel and through the South Node opposite in the 3rd house you can see his progression in life, from the wheeler dealer of his early business days in music at Virgin Records (South Node in the 3rd as well as creative Neptune, the ruler of music) to the multi billionaire who can afford to run and finance his own airline (North Node in the 9th). Maybe the long distance travel has even further to run as his Virgin Galactic project starts up soon.
Now then, lets have a look at what is currently going on in Richard’s world. On the Solar Arcs chart, Solar Arc Mercury is exactly sitting on Richard’s natal South node and opposite his North Node. Mercury in Richard’s chart rules the 2nd House of finance and the 11th house of groups and institutions (unions). Immediately you can see the discussions (Mercury) & disagreement (opposition) now public knowledge (North Node). Solar Arc Mars is square natal Saturn so this is a time where there is a challenge (Mars, also ruling his Midheaven) to his authority (Saturn – Capricorn is on the cusp of the 6th representing employees) and with Solar Arc Saturn square his Ascendant, you can see that this dispute will be hurting him immensely. All his work and the entire reputation of Virgin Atlantic, which until now has been pretty faultless is under stress. So, how will he react? Solar Arc Pluto is half a degree from being conjunct to natal Mars. Noel Tyl comments on this combination of using extreme force, persuasion and control, brutality and excessive effort. It says to me that Richard will not lie down lightly to his authority being challenged. I would bet that in the upcoming stand off with the Virgin pilot’s union, he is going to play hardball – this could get ugly and as Pluto is involved, Richard’s work reputation (Aries on Midheaven) may never be seen in the same light ever again.
***Update 28th June 2011***
Richard Branson wrote to the Daily Mirror releasing a letter sent to the striking pilots. in it he said it would leave “an indelible scar on the company”. He went on “I believe the offer is fair. I’ve looked at all the facts and believe that our management has made the best offer it can.” Sounds like my suggestion that he would not take this strike lying down is proving correct – so far…
***Update 7th July 2011***
Today there was an announcement from Virgin Atlantic that the strike threat by the pilot’s union has been lifted and an “agreement” has been reached. There are no indications of what that agreement was as yet.