Raising the Bar:
At The Aries New Moon
on April 17,
Ask More of Yourself
Demand More of Leaders, Elected Officials,
& the Products and Services You Buy
By Shelley L. Ackerman
[From Shelley's weekly "Shimmering Stars" column in
The Westchester Guardian, © 2007]
On November 2, 1980, The NY Sunday Times featured an epic cover story written by world class historian Barbara Tuchman called “The Decline of Quality”.
At the time, I was studying with legendary acting teacher Stella Adler who tolerated nothing short of the very best of her students and people in general. There was something about Stella that brought out the finest speech, posture, and innate class that you could muster up. Somehow her presence alone made you that much more aware of your inherent nobility.
Above: Barbara Tuchman (left) and Stella Adler (right)
I had read Tuchman’s article with great interest as I was already aware of and disturbed by the sad phenomenon that it described, and was glad to have such a wealth of historical references to back up and to better understand what I had observed and intuited. When Stella referred to the article that week in class, I wasn’t surprised: She was an advocate of the nobility of the mind and was disappointed by those not committed to it. She detested laziness and anything symptomatic of cheapening oneself or giving less than you had to offer. (Stella was instrumental in the success of many iconic talents such as Marlon Brando, Robert DeNiro, Warren Beatty and Candice Bergen to name a few).
In this tour de force, Tuchman put forth that “quality means investment of the best skill and effort possible to produce the finest and most admirable results possible.... You do it well or you do it half-well.... Quality is achieving or reaching for the highest standard and is against being satisfied with the sloppy or fraudulent.... It does not allow compromise with the second-rate”.
During the industrial revolution of the mid-late 1700s, profit-oriented owners of growing businesses began targeting a wider market for their commercial goods. The practice of less time to produce more was implemented and as result, quality was sacrificed: A broader and more self-serving view of quality based on the notion that "the consumer was he ultimate arbiter of trade, and that business flourished by serving consumer interests rather than guild interests” became the norm.
In other words, if it sold, it was good.
As a result, cheaper, inferior goods were produced for a popular market, and quality was judged relative to price. We the ‘consumers’ became more and more accepting of inferiority across the board, and a standard that continues to go lower and lower today.
At this writing, several animals have died or have fallen ill due to poison from American pet food companies who manufacture overseas (in China) where labor, rent, and energy is much cheaper In many cases the standards for quality control range from low to non-existent and labor conditions are questionable if not deplorable. A recent ABC 20/20 show reported this related horror: Several chain pharmacies (in the US) where overworked pharmacists have made ghastly errors resulting in either the death or permanent disabling of patients who assumed they were taking what their doctor prescribed.
Is this some sort of a wake-up call?
This week, the NY chart of the New Moon on April 17th at 27+ degrees of Aries has Taurus rising. Taurus is the sign of values, substance, and quality. The degree of the New Moon aligns well with Pluto, always symbolic of great wealth and riches. This configuration has many meanings, but this one strikes me as most pertinent and useful: We have an opportunity here for a new beginning, one in which individual vision, application of one’s will, and putting extra care into what you do can yield favorable results. Venus is in a perfect quintile (a 72º aspect of alchemy and magic) to Saturn, suggesting that ideas can manifest easily with a can-do attitude. We must pay better attention to what we’re doing, to driving, the little exchanges at counters, and to infuse our work with loving care, as we insist that the well-being of individual consumers never be sacrificed for a quicker sale.
Chart: NYC New Moon in Aries, April 17 (larger view)
ARIES: Rise and Shine indeed! A new lease on life at the New Moon on the 17th is just what the doctor ordered. Avail yourself to this burst of positive energy while redefining your philosophy and what has meaning to you in general. The 72º quintile between Venus and Saturn suggests a positive alchemy in the financial department of life- if you work it. Be grateful to and flexible and patient with a higher up (an authority figure or parent) who offers a good idea and has your best interest at heart.
TAURUS: While the effects of the New Moon may not be apparent at first, this month will go down as turning point in your saga. The weeks before your birthday are often the most difficult ones in the year. Despite the recent outrageous demands on your time, energy, and psyche, this moment has an inherent magic to it: Venus in quintile aspect to Saturn offers a clever approach to getting or sprucing up the home of your dreams, or to re-financing the one you already have. Banks and boards rule in your favor.
GEMINI: If there was ever a moment for you to err on the side of maturity, now is the time! Clever as you are dear twin, behaving like a grownup (at any age) isn’t your strongest trait or your first choice – ever! The New Moon in your 11th house of friends in favorable aspect to Pluto in your 7th house of partnership promises a magnum of support for your next set of endeavors and adventures. Don’t mess it up or alienate anyone with silly shenanigans, mixed messages, or double talk. No man is an island -not even you.
CANCER: The New Moon at the very top of your chart in favorable aspect to Pluto in your 6th house of day to day operations breathes a fiery excitement into your professional life and gives just the shot in the arm you’ve been waiting for. And though you might have to wait just a little bit longer to see the financial affects (Saturn goes direct in a few days), it’s a good idea to show your gratitude and some appreciation to keep the good news coming and boost morale in your sphere.
LEO: The long cold winter of your discontent is about over: Saturn retrograde in your sign has cramped your style since December and it’s about to turn direct, Yippee! So if on the New Moon (in your 9th house of far away places) you find yourself on the web or thumbing through the travel section searching for the perfect getaway, you’re entitled. And if you need a few extra shekels to make it happen, someone at home (a parent, family member) may be willing to kick in. If you must take the kids it will end up being fun.
VIRGO: A novel but sound financial strategy, one that carries you into the next several years is called for at this New Moon. And while the maneuverings might appear to be daring on the surface or to someone who doesn’t understand what you’re doing, they will make perfect sense in the long run. What you’re working on can impact the future of others in your circle and if you can help them, by all means do. A sibling or neighbor‘s insight is useful. Be open to it.
LIBRA: There’s new energy and a changing of the guard so to speak in your very social 7th house of partnership and it’s about time! You’ve got to get yourself out of mothballs if you want your life and status to change. Get with it and stop complaining about being lonely or bored. To properly welcome and honor all that this New Moon can bring, promise to do at least 2 or 3 things out of character this week by going to a couple of local events and circulate It will do you a world of good.
SCORPIO: Know your value and stand firm regarding you’re worth. Losing your temper is not necessary though to make your point and get your needs met. On the contrary, you’re appreciated more than you know, but your place of business may be in flux. Maintain your high standard performance and don’t grumble when and if your schedule changes. A little flexibility goes a long way. Monetary bonuses and more accolades are on their way.
SAGITTARIUS: If you’re willing to think like a magical Genie who routinely transforms as needed, you’ll be in the right frame of mind when the opportunity to fulfill and exciting new role, or appeal to a new love arrives with this New Moon. Satisfaction is guaranteed! And regardless of what stage of life you’re at, either a symbolic, a literal, or a creative birth is at play. Don’t let any past remarks or transgressions of a romantic interest or of your children to dictate the script going forward: Allow all to speak as if it were the first time.
CAPRICORN: Be open to the startling possibility of redefining or even relocating your home base. Surprising as it may seem, exposure to new scenery can influence you in ways that you least expect. And while your focus is always professional, doesn’t a beautiful home provide the foundation for success in the outer world? Shortening your commute should be considered along with everything else on your wish list.
AQUARIUS: Remember when as a kid and you visited the local firehouse and sat at the wheel of the big fire truck? You felt as if you were on top of the world and that every move you were about to make was extremely important. This week, the new Moon in your neighbor-hoody 3rd house of communication is beautifully supported by Pluto in your 11th house of community. All that you say and you do will be that much more significant and appreciated. You’re at “Command Central’ so to speak, can you handle it?
PISCES: Money and status changes everything, or does it? The New Moon in your 2nd house of income favorably aspects powerful Pluto in your 10th -What a blessed sequence indeed! So while it is not your style to send out a press release to announce the good news, celebrating to express exuberance at your new found fame and fortune is perfectly okay. Get comfortable with it all: The next order of business is getting the right investment advice, while considering ways to best use your power and authority.