by Boots Hart, CAP

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Facebook: Going Public Under Venus Retrograde


When I first wrote about Facebook, the idea of the company going public was not yet a whisper in the wind.

Then I heard the news: Facebook was getting set up for an IPO (initial public offering) and joining the world of publicly held corporations.

I wondered how well Facebook would do with all that public regulation and scrutiny. So I did what astrologers do - I pulled the corporate chart out. And there indeed was a whole lotta commentary!

Facebook’s Saturn (the hallmark of any business being Saturn)...that’s way up high in the chart. And for a business, that's great. The business ‘holds’ the concept of being a business very high, and with this Saturn being in the 9th, there 'mission' of the company is likely to be held equally high.

Mind you, that doesn't always happen. But with this Saturn? Uh...yeah. With this Saturn, Facebook started out understanding that it's business was the functionality of its users. Facebook’s Saturn is in Cancer. Cancer is the sign of people or 'populations.' Saturn in Cancer is thus Facebook as a company about people, and Facebook is a company whose business is people.

Still, it's not all service and roses. Saturn in Cancer is Saturn in its sign of fall. As a business, that means the prospect of the company as a company can be a little too limited...or a company which tends to be a little prickly (even snarky) with users or (seeing as this is a 9th house Saturn) entitles which embody 9th house 'rules and regulations.'

Going back to Cancer as the sign of ‘the people,’ native populations and corporate 'customers,' it's a great emblem of the zillions of people who have joined Facebook - and a sign that zillions of people would be inclined to join Facebook.

By itself, that's mucho fabuloso. But since Saturn in Cancer would be ruled by the Moon (the Moon rules Cancer) it's really the Facebook corporate chart Moon which affirms this 'popularity' thing. The Facebook Moon is in Capricorn, and Capricorn is ruled by Saturn. 

This creates a nice little closed-circuit system where Saturn (Facebook the company) supports the people (Moon = people) who thus support the (Saturn) success of Facebook. Nice! Facebook is indeed a business about people (Saturn in Cancer). Moreover, Facebook's Saturn business success has been fed by tons of real time and digital word-of-mouth fashion - and that's very Capricorn Moon in the 3rd house.

(FYI, these kinds of astrological ‘closed circuits’ are known as ‘mutual receptions.’)

Facebook’s “meteoric” rise is written in the chart as Moon conjunct Icarus (Icarus being a symbol of being ‘quick to take flight’). And there is Pluto in the 3rd house too. That lends (and describes) the whole obsessive, ‘life on Facebook’ sort of aura.

Oh, it's all so very nice, eh?

Eris on the Descendant of the corporate chart is a huge and positive mark towards changing societal organization. I can change the world is one yell yelled by this chart very loudly.

Though it is – let’s face it – also something of a ‘buyer beware’…first in the exultant treasure trove of data Facebook members have ended up providing for their host, then just as obviously with regards to the IPO.

One note about that ‘invasion of privacy’ and data mining thing so many grumble about with regards to Facebook. Eris and the Descendant are in Aries, which points to Mars, ruler of Aries.

That Mars is in the 10th house of commerce at 22 Leo conjunct the 23 Leo 11th house cusp of corporate income. One conjugation for Leo on the 11th would surely be entertainment income. Another would be enthusiastic fans – which Facebook obviously has by the bucketful.

A screen clip of Facebook's 11th house cusp

With Orcus (consequences of actions which cannot be undone) at 24 Leo and thus just inside the 11th (coloring 11th house operations by being so close to the cusp) - that's the sign to anyone dealing with Facebook-the-corporation-and-social-network that Facebook can rightly claim that before you join, you should read the fine print (and that) there are costs to being part of any group or society…

Namely, you're not just in public (watch what you post and don't blame us, says Facebook!) but that Facebook has the right to treat your data as it's "product."

Lo and behold: data mining in horoscope terms!

However! This Mars/11th house/Leo/Orcus thing is not just a statement to users. It's also a warning to Facebook, by which I mean to the likes of say, Mark Zuckerberg. After all, the sound of going public is probably enchanting. It’s probably exciting as all get-out to go through all the steps and realize your once tiny company is going to be listed on the big board at the stock exchange.

This happens to be the Phillippine Stock Market Board and
Facebook isn't on it (the photo was taken in July of 2008)
but can you just imagine how exciting it would be to know
that YOUR company is going to be one of those listed on
a worldwide exchange?
 (photo credit Katrina Tuliao, July 2008)

But there is a 'down' side there. Once you go public, it’s a whole new ball game – in this case the Orcus ball game. Remember - the 11th house of any horoscope is the "public marketplace." And where in your chart or that of a privately held corporation it would be your product and fitting in at a company and anything-plus-everything which would create income, that changes when a company goes public.

There's a couple of parts of this. One is that when a company becomes a "public entity" then the society (represented by the 11th house) gets a bigger vote not just in how it values your company stock, but in what it thinks of your attitudes towards the public - you know, the how you treat people part.

Astrologically, we would also see this as taking the lid off the Leo (Sun-ruled) qualities in this chart. All corporate charts are Sun-ruled (they're all timed for noon) but with Facebook, there is that important Saturn-Moon mutual reception which has up until the 'going public' moment certainly represented the incredible organic drive which has grown Facebook as a company.

Will going public take some of that ‘drive’ out of the Saturn-Moon connection, in essence diverting that energy into Facebook’s 10th house Leo Sun (which is inconjunct that native Moon-power thing)? One would think it would. Facebook has always been a company. It's always needed to earn it's way in the world. But this going public thing may well turn the business of Facebook into Facebook the business in a whole new way and at a whole new level.

Is this bad? Well, just on the face of the domestic chart (no pun really intended there…) this is isolating. Once Facebook becomes a ‘true corporate entity’ it’s going to be less a thing of the people.

Ever hear of that expression “jumping the shark” ? This is not to say that Facebook is going to go away or anything, but the internal ‘us the people’ Cancer thing is now officially a whole different thing than the company’s interests. It is – to use the plain spoken vernacular – now truly out to make money. Before the IPO there was an organic quality to Facebook which now has in part, even greatly, been shifted out of the hands of the ‘regular folks’ (the users) and into the hands of not just those running Facebook, but all those who will seek to regulate Facebook.

And the metaphysics there are a bit grizzly. After all, on the metaphysical level…with regulation comes the need to regulate. And with Facebook, this is a whole scattering slew of fractious forms of bad behavior. Not on Facebook’s part necessarily – but on its users.

This sounds odd, I know. But this is at the heart of metaphysical concept: once you impose the structure, then there is a need for structure. Before structure was there, everything may have been ducky. But once you put that structure in place, the need for it arises.

If this was a cast on someone’s leg, we’d be speaking of atrophy of the muscles. In the case of a company like Facebook going public, it would be more like ‘public atrophy’ or a ‘laxness of user interest.’

We’ll have to see, obviously.

But then we get to the actual IPO...and why, when I heard when Facebook was going to go public that I gasped in futile alarm. Who told Mark Zuckerberg it would be a good idea to go public under Venus retrograde? (…bangs head on desk…) That’s about the biggest no-no I know of!

Oh, wait…he also got married, right?

(heavy sigh...)

Yes, well…I wish him and the wife all the love and luck in the world, though as an astrologer I know there are painfully few personal and joint (Davison relationship) charts with internal indicators which say they’ll thrive under a marriage committed to under Venus retrograde.

As for Facebook, there’s also the specifics of this Venus retrograde to contend with. Venus went retrograde at 23 Gemini. And guess where Facebook’s corporate Venus is?

22 Gemini.

To stage an important ‘moment’ at any planetary station suggests it’s an important ‘turn of events.’ And there is some symbolism about Venus’ turn to retrograde which fits here. Retrogrades are a ‘turning inward’ and Facebook certainly did ‘take in’ a whole lot of money by going public.

But if you’ve been listening to the news, the stock didn’t just take off and fly. And that is the sign of the Venus station chosen being that which is going INTO retrograde as opposed to that coming OUT of retrograde.

Of course to make this all more exotic, this means that the 2012 Facebook ‘Venus Return’ would, on first processing through the brain, seem to have happened just prior to Venus going retrograde. Maybe Venus was in it’s ‘on station’ period – and wouldn’t that be good?

Well, not exactly. Let’s remember that retrograde is a function of planetary orbits and relative planetary speed. Venus isn’t actually going backwards…it’s just that because of Venus’ orbit and Earth’s orbit, from our perspective it would seem to look that way.

Or it would if we could see Venus. While planets are retrograde, they are on the other side of the Sun – from Earth, I mean. So Venus in retrograde is Venus ‘out of sight.’ And since this relative planetary motion thing doesn’t happen all at once, that means…

Bottom line: the Facebook Venus return happened on May 7th.

Actually, make that the initial Venus return. With retrogrades, the planet comes up, does a station-to-retrograde, moves back down zodiacal degrees, does another station (this time station-direct) and then comes back to conjunct the point again.

Got that? That means there’s one initial (direct) Venus Return, a Venus-in-retrograde Venus Return, then after Venus goes direct, a final Venus direct Venus Return.

The initial Venus return for Facebook was May 7th.

 Facebook, Inc - the initial (May 7, 2012) Venus Return chart

The retrograde return would be May 22nd (the date of my writing this post, as it happens…).

 Facebook Inc - 2012 Venus Return (retrograde pass at May 22nd)

This is a picture of much verbal speculation...without much in the way of answers. Legalities (Saturn in 9) are still very much in the (9th house) news and a grand trine between Mars in 8 - Vesta (in a sensitive position just shy of the 4th house cusp) - and Pluto in the Sagittarian 12th (which has 'inherited' all the energy of the Sagittarian 11th) suggests several things, all of which are probably valid on some level.

1. A lot of pension funds and major corporate entities are interested in Facebook.

2. The general economy and greater international (Sagittarius = foreign) concerns is having something of an effect on this initial offering.

3. There is something 'internal' which pertains to money and the control of money, parceling out, transacting in, retention of (etc.) which involves promises (Vesta) which need sorting through. Considering this is in the aftermath of an initial public offering, that doesn't seem unusual. Is it something more?

With Vesta so close to the IC (Nadir) we'll have to see. That Taurus Vesta is ruled by the Venus-trine-Saturn in 9 however...? One would expect some cursory questions at least...especially (speaking here metaphysically) because the 'importance' of Vesta has just been moved up a notch (see previous post).

The point is that Vesta is about our promises. But what those promises are on the inside...which here is very clearly pictured as Vesta/IC (the IC-Nadir being the 'innermost' point in any chart). Motivations noble and craven are Taurus...which in real terms here, considering Taurus only at the very most basic level would be money or 'worth' - the value of the company.

In IPO terms that would be the valuation of the company. And that Vesta is at the Nadir in this Venus Return (retrograde) chart refers us to what the company is being on.

I'm thinking you get my drift. And whether voiced through corporate earnings, price stock, outside influences on the company, actions of corporate officers (the ultimate 'insiders,' one would assume) or the zillions of people on Facebook, a retrograde Taurus Vesta at the IC asks who has promised what and what the future promises.

We live in contentious times. This offering was made under Saturn-opposition-Eris which is as much as anything else about exposing problems in the system. So if Facebook has stepped in a gopher hole there, that's just part of what came with the choice of date for the IPO.

(And yes, I'd love to know how that date was chosen! Next time, get an astrologer, guys!)

The third Venus return, the direct return which will be the Venusian signature Facebook will ‘live out’ until May 2013 when it gets its next Venus return – that happens on July 29th.

Facebook, Inc - the July 29 (2012) final Venus Return pass

Would this be a good time to buy stock? Better than the initial day, one would suppose – though there is a theory in stock speculation (which is all a form of Leo-5th house ‘gambling’) which says buy low and wait it out.

As an astrologer, the best I can suggest on this score is that you go by your own chart, how that works with Facebook’s corporate and IPO chart with a fair perspective on your resources and tolerance of risk.

While it would be fascinating to do a ‘group analysis’ of everyone and every entity which bought into Facebook’s IPO, that’s simply not possible. (Alas!)

In that final chart, Venus is at the IC and conjunct Charybdis (continuing to try), Bellatrix (difficulty in getting the point across) and fixed star Phact, a signature of a ‘difficult struggle with one’s mentality’ which goes right along with Bellatrix.

Venus also rules an intercepted Libra Saturn/Mars in the 7th which is in opposition to an Aries Pallas an Eris in the 1st house. On one level, this is the recognition of how sometimes expectations outstrip results which may be perfectly okay, just not spectacular. On another, this would seem to be greatly about Facebook reasserting its value to users (it's 'product' base) as the corporation knows people need to continue feeling friendly about friending if the Facebook Phenomenon (as it's called) is to continue. 

As for the IPO chart itself. it has a highly placed Moon in Taurus (at 2 Taurus) which is followed by a cavalcade of points (Vesta, Ceres, Black Moon Lilith, Mercury, Sedna, Jupiter) …ending in the Sun at 28 Taurus.

This is all in the IPO’s 10th house, meaning the company is seen as valuable. But there’s also a Grand Square in this chart composed of Mars/Medea in Virgo in the 2nd house, North Node in Sagittarius in the 4th house, Chiron/Niobe in Pisces in the 8th house and South Node/Circe in the 10th house. 

To put this concisely, this gives the IPO a ‘dazzling’ quality. And yet…there’s something about it. It’s that Chiron/Niobe thing in the Piscean 8th. Is this company really capable of delivering on its value? That would be something of the question posed, and with Neptune having moved into Pisces last year, chances are we aren’t going to know for a while. Undoubtedly Neptune’s conjunction of Chiron (at 9 Pisces) is going to change the internal dynamics of the company and its operative priorities. We just don’t know what that means yet.

…Oh yes! One other thing about this IPO before I forget. It has Vesta/Phaethon at 7 Taurus, too, right at the top of this chart. Put simply, this is a headstrong and quite possibly self serving drive which is all about money and it’s to be expected that this filing will produce every variation on ‘stock greed’ and ‘stock hoarding’ and stock-as-security net imaginable.

So let’s think…Jupiter is about to enter Gemini. So from 2012 to 2013, Jupiter is going to be transiting Gemini and getting into/retrograding in/teaching us what Facebook’s 11th house ‘public corporate persona’ is going to be about. Jupiter not being known for excessive good behavior in Gemini, one would expect Facebook stock to be all over the place for a while.

Once Jupiter reaches Cancer (on June 26, 2013), things should settle down. What will make them settle down? Well, with Neptune taking its 2013 station/retrograde at 5 Pisces (which is just at the point where Neptune would be thought to be affecting the IPO’s natal Chiron), this is some sort of ‘handwriting on the wall’ moment.

Oh yes…that 5 Pisces position? That’s the position of Facebook’s natal (corporate) Uranus in the 5th house. 

This is something willful, something creative, or something having to do with children. There is a native vulnerability inherent with Pisces that even big corporations have to deal with. They all have vulnerabilities. With Uranus being the signature of all things digital and positioned in this chart conjunct Fomalhaut (success achieved only when there is a lack of corruption) and Byblis (defense of the indefensible) there are all sorts of uglies which may yet surface.
In fact, which will yet surface.

Does Jupiter’s continuing on into the IPO’s 12th house indicate stock stability? Some domestic-versus-international issue? Something to do with families? Some sort of ‘cultural’ divide?

Maybe. With the 12th house cusp colored by Athena (intellectual wisdom) and Sabine (held captive) it’s likely that come the latter part of 2013 it will be a wiser and somewhat more conservative or conservationist Facebook which faces this public world it has now – in essence – married.

Weddings under Venus retrograde can succeed. You just have to be aware of the emotional dynamics. 

So…Mister Zuckerberg? With all the respect in the world for what you’ve created, next time you decide to go public with some sort of company, consult all the bankers and lawyers - absolutely. But then maybe you also want to check with an astrologer.

In the meantime, good luck to you and the new wife.

Most of the world is going to look at the newly wedded Zuckerbergs and say they have everything. Yet while in the monetary sense that may be true (they absolutely have money)…will they have love?

That is, without qualm or question, a whole different thing.


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  2. Just saw the film....the social network. Recommend seeing it.
    As usual great analysis. Zuckerberg scored 1600 on his SAT's, a perfect score. He and is original partner were in conflict about the commercial aspects. Z wanted to keep in noncommercial and felt that's what gave it that "cool" factor. There are some who say that facebook is a CIA front.
    Bottom line I love facebook but it may one day be used against us politically

  3. @Anonymous: I'd love to hear your ex-roomie's comments and thoughts on this subject!

  4. @Kate...Yes, I have heard good things about 'The Social Network' - and not just as an essay on Facebook.

    As for scoring 1600 on the SATs, while that's a boon for college, what does it say about your 'humanness'?

    Is Facebook a front for the CIA? Personally, I doubt it. The Internet, on the other hand, is absolutely a government operation. People talk about 'freedom' on the internet which may well be true...but at the same time, the infamous "backbone" of the internet runs right through the hub of DOD (Department of Defense). I'd say the good news is that considering what's out there on the internet, the US government is pretty tolerant of online nonsense. The bad news of course...they undoubtedly have algorithms to find what they want to find. Anyone who thinks what they do on the internet goes 'unnoticed' is wrong. Ignored? Maybe. But unnoticed? Probably not.

    It all comes back to the standard premise on life: own who you are, own what you do. If you're not a responsible and decent human being, expect the nastiness you put out there to at some point catch up with you!

    That's just know, our bitchy Aunt Karma!

  5. Thanks for explaining about venus retrograde. I've found its helped me to rethink my way forwards and learn from my mistakes. Thanks for the clarity and explanation.

  6. You are so welcome! I'm hoping a LOT of people learn from this one. On the business front, I hear that some six IPO's which had been scheduled were canceled after Facebook took its by-now rather infamous nose-dive.

    We all learn - unfortunately - through disastrous examples. Yet at least we learn, and I'm happy to facilitate your understanding!