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Business to Business: Richard Branson's first business and his latest venture
Written & published: March 2007
Richard Branson is regarded as the UK's most popular and one of the most successful entrepreneurs. The Virgin brand is a household name, as indeed is Branson himself, and the Virgin group of companies covers everything from aeroplanes to weddings, credit cards, motorcycle taxis, music, and health clubs.
A dominant idea that emerges from Richard's life story is that his mother shaped and formed his entrepreneurial spirit from an early age. This is clearly reflected in Branson's birth chart, and in the start of his first business, the magazine 'Student'.
This article looks at Richard Branson's first business, and his most recent, Virgin Media.
Richard Branson's birth chart
The time of Richard's birth is not known with certainty, so the house cusps on the chart below must be treated with caution, as must the Moon's exact position.
Richard's mother, Eve Branson
Branson's entrepreneurial spirit was fostered at an early age by his parents, primarily his mother, Eve.
Eve Branson was one of the first air hostesses on the world's first passenger-carrying jet liners - the UK-built Comet aeroplane - that embarked from Heathrow airport in the early 1950s, beginning a revolution in the travel industry.
In his autobiography Richard writes about Eve:
"My mother was determined to make us independent. When I was four years old, she stopped the car a few miles from our house and made me find my own way home across the fields. I got hopelessly lost. My youngest sister Vanessa's earliest memory is being woken up in the dark one January morning because Mum had decided I should cycle to Bournemouth that day. Mum packed some sandwiches and an apple and told me to find some water along the way.
Bournemouth was fifty miles away from our home in Shamley Green, Surrey. I was under twelve, but Mum thought that it would teach me the importance of stamina and a sense of direction.... I...remember finally walking into the kitchen like a conquering hero, feeling tremendously proud of my marathon bike ride and expecting a huge welcome. 'Well done, Ricky,' Mum greeted me in the kitchen, where she was chopping onions. 'Was that fun? Now, could you run along to the vicar's? He's got some logs he wants chopping and I told him that you'd be back any minute.'
Our challenges tended to be physical rather than academic, and soon we were setting them for ourselves."
Even if we allow for embellishment with the passage of time and so on, all the published descriptions of Branson's childhood and his relationship with his mother as told by his mother as well as himself accord with his birthchart, and are thus a true account of his imprints.
With the Moon in Virgo - the sign of the Virgin, of course - Richard's internal image of his mother is that of someone concerned with service, and with improving things that aren't working as they should be. This is the foundation of the Virgin group of companies, as the Virgin website says:
"All the markets in which Virgin operates tend to have features in common: they are typically markets where the customer has been ripped off or under-served, where there is confusion and/or where the competition is complacent. In these markets, Virgin is able to break into the market and shake it up."
The complacency and confusion elements are reflected in the Moon's opposition to Jupiter in Pisces. If the birth time is reasonably accurate then this opposition lies across the 2nd-8th house axis, which is to do with finances and assets. Lack of service and being ripped-off is also very much to do with Branson's Saturn in Virgo in the 2nd house - lack of service, and being short-changed, are represented by this placement.
The Moon's semisquare aspect with Mars is reinforced by the Moon-Jupiter opposition being on the Sun/Mars midpoint. This configuration shows 'tough love', a rather combative but heroic mother figure who brooks no opposition and who gets on with the job and promotes derring-do. As Branson expresses it:
"I had the satisfaction of carving out my own niche in life and I know that is important. It's great for kids to say that they did it themselves and they didn't rely on their parents."
And in the words of his mother:
"I just didn't want him to be namby-pamby. It is good to have a challenge."Toughness and endurance is also indicated by the Moon's position on the midpiont of Saturn/Pluto. This is a significator of emotional coldness and even cruelty, a rather brutal approach to getting one's needs met.
First business - 'Student' magazine
It's no surprise then that when Richard launched the first edition of 'Student' magazine in January 1968 transiting Jupiter (publishing, expansion, new opportunities) was conjunct his Moon in Virgo, and thereby linking in with the natal constellation of Moon, Jupiter, Sun, Mars, and even Uranus.
NB In the chart wheel above please ignore the house cusps - no time is known for this business launch.
The transiting Sun was opposite Branson's Mercury (magazines, and a symbol of pupils and students, as well as editors and journalists). As Branson himself said:
"I wanted to be an editor or a journalist, I wasn't really interested in being an entrepreneur, but I soon found I had to become an entrepreneur in order to keep my magazine going."
Richard's Saturn in Virgo is also brought into play as Mars for the launch of 'Student' opposes it from 13 Pisces. This area recurs at the start of Branson's latest business venture.
Latest business - 'Virgin Media'
Originally intended to launch on 14th February - Valentine's day but renamed V-day in the Virgin publicity campaign - Virgin Media actually launched on 8th February 2007. Here is the chart for the company:
NB The time is not yet confirmed but is based on internet reports that state the company's legal transition from NTL to Virgin Media took effect at midnight. There was a press conference for the launch in the morning, the chart for which would also be valid but would not negate a chart based on the legal change.
At launch, Mercury was in the same degree as Branson's Jupiter, highlighting the Moon-Jupiter-Sun-Mars-Uranus constellation once again. If the launch had gone ahead on the 14th this would not have been the case - Mercury would have been at 10 degrees of Pisces, out of orb of the natal constellation of planets.
Richard's Saturn at 16 Virgo is emphasised by both the lunar nodes axis at 16 Virgo/Pisces and the conjunction of Venus with Uranus at 13-14 degrees of Pisces.
The Virgin Media chart is very apt for this type of business, being as it is a conglomeration of various media services. Interestingly, the Uranus/Neptune midpoint of the company is located directly opposite Richard's Moon, so with Virgin Media we come full circle back to the Virgin Mother.
Appendix: Some other observations of interest....
A central theme of Branson's business empire is that a large number of his ventures, and certainly his most well-known companies, are in industries associated with the planet Mercury - even the first business named 'Virgin' was a mail order business, Mercury ruling the postal service and the transport of information and goods across distances.
All Branson's current transport-related businesses, plus books, the internet, radio, and mobile phones correspond to Mercury, and now with Virgin Media there is a convergence of digital television/radio, landline/mobile telephones, and the internet. The Virgin companies involved in transport cover flying in balloons, aeroplanes, and spaceships, and travelling by train, motorbike, and limousine.
In his birthchart Richard has a quintile formation that makes a triangular shape involving four planets: Mercury, Jupiter, Mars and Neptune. The quintile formation is about creative talent. The involvement of Mercury and Jupiter as the two planets of media and travel is significant. These are also the planets representing students and journalism. Branson's teenage aspiration was, as quoted above, to be a journalist, and his first magazine was named 'Student'.
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