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Edward Bernays: Pioneer of Public Relations & Propaganda

Edward Bernays is one of the foremost pioneers of the modern public relations (PR) industry, which grew out of the development of propaganda techniques in the early 20th century.

He was born in Vienna, Austria, towards the end of the 19th century and brought up in the USA. When he died in 1995, aged 104, he left a legacy of work and a lasting imprint on world culture.

Public relations and propaganda so completely surround  us that we cannot imagine a time when they weren't so all-pervasive, a time when formalised PR didn't even exist. Not only the PR industry but also the modern methods of advertising and marketing owe their success to people such as Edward Bernays.

Bernays' time of birth is unknown, so please ignore the house cusps in this diagram. Although we cannot be certain about the Moon's exact degree, we can be sure that it is in Leo. Here is Edward Bernays' chart:

Edward Bernays - Birth Chart

Mercury and Venus together in Sagittarius indicate someone socially-oriented, eager to 'spread the word.' The naturally positive outlook of Sagittarius and its talent for motivating people, combines with the desire to communicate, and to present things in the most appealing, persuasive, and diplomatic light. This is both a proselytising and a charming configuration, but also a self-satisfied and self-aggrandising one. This is a dynamic set of factors that lends itself to being a spokesperson, publicist, evangelist, or what we would now call a 'media manager.'

Bernays' was born when Neptune and Pluto were conjunct in Gemini. These two planets are both associated with stealth and invisibility, undercurrents, hidden power, and long-term collective cultural shifts. His Mercury-Venus conjunction is opposite the Neptune-Pluto conjunction, across the Sagittarius-Gemini axis of information. Both Neptune and Pluto are also on the Sun-Mercury and Sun-Venus midpoints. One of the key ideas of Edward Bernays was that the activity of the 'public relations counsel,' as he termed it, should be invisible, the unseen hand that steers public perceptions, opinions, and decisions:

"If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, it is now possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing it."

He called his use of psychology and other the insights of social sciences to mould opinions as 'the engineering of consent,' which neatly encapsulates this Mercury-Venus opposition with Neptune-Pluto.

Another quote from Bernays:

"If you can influence the leaders, either with or without their conscious cooperation, you automatically influence the group which they sway."

In keeping with the seminal importance of the Neptune-Pluto conjunction, the public relations and psychological propaganda techniques that were refined during this time have been used by politicians ever since. In the early days, the word 'propaganda' did not have a negative connotation, and so it was relatively openly used to discuss the engineering of consent in the body politic. These days, propaganda is even more underground, reflecting the subversive and manipulative associations of Neptune-Pluto in Gemini.

Here is an example of Edward Bernay's describing the basis of his work, with astrological factors included:

"The conscious and intelligent [Mercury-Venus in Sagittarius]
manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses [Neptune-Pluto in Gemini] is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible [Neptune-Pluto] government which is the true ruling power [Pluto] of our country. ... We are governed, our minds [Mercury] are molded [Neptune-Pluto], our tastes [Venus] formed, our ideas [Mercury] suggested [Neptune-Pluto], largely by men we have never heard of [Neptune-Pluto]. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate [Venus] in this manner if they are to live together [Venus] as a smoothly functioning society. ... In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons ... who understand the mental processes [Mercury] and social patterns [Venus] of the masses [Neptune-Pluto]. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind." - Edward Bernays, in his book 'Propaganda'

The idea that free thinking is the foundation of democratic societies has, since this time, been in conflict with the susceptibility to propaganda that the exists in those very same societies. George Orwell's 'Ministry of Truth' in his book 1984 was a description of how the media is used to propagate distracting, misleading, and false information (Neptune-Pluto in Gemini). Many PR and propaganda experts have documented the reality of these practices. From the pioneering days of this industry, the world has, quite simply, never been the same since.

Applying astrology to political life Hutton Inquiry, Tony Blair, Iraq, Israel, European Union, USA,
War on Terror, Uranus in Pisces & Neptune in Aquarius, & more

Applying astrology to business life Euro Currency, NHS, BBC,
USA economy, Ofcom, Concorde,
W Edwards Deming, European Central Bank, Anita Roddick, & more

Applying astrology to people's lives Health, emotional intelligence, zodiac elements, understanding change, Angelina Jolie, Gwen Stefani, Germaine Greer, & more

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