What Makes Warren Buffett Tick?

Dan Ciuboda, a friend of Jude’s Threshold, has a post up on billionaire Warren Buffett that Jude is urging folks to read.

In case you haven’t heard, Buffett is the man of the hour on Wall Street. He’s agreed to give Goldman Sachs a “cash infusion” of $5 billion in exchange for preferred shares in the investment bank, which is converting to commercial bank status to get a little more government protection.

I did my duty on various blogs and pointed out that Warren Buffett is not a “buffet,” a little mental note that has prevented me from misspelling the Oracle of Omaha’s name on many occasions.

I wouldn’t have tried to calculate Buffett’s chart on my own, but looking at the horoscope for Buffett proposed by Ciuboda at Living Astrology got me thinking.

Ciuboda’s got Buffett as a late Gemini rising, with martial Mars quite close to the Ascendant, but Buffett doesn’t seem that combative to me. Of course, Mars is in Cancer so if someone writes in and says he’s read articles about how Buffett gets teary-eyed and sentimental at the drop of a hat, I’ll believe in this chart.

I don’t have the time or patience to rectify. We’ll leave that to the pros like Michael WolfStar. Here’s my seat-of-the-pants calculation:

I believe that Buffett, who was born in Omaha on Aug. 30, 1930, is a Virgo rising with Sun and Neptune conjunct on the Ascendant. If you look at Buffett, he dresses like an accountant — very Virgoan. The Neptune on the Ascendant would be the reason why he’s known as the “Oracle of Omaha” since Neptune is quite visionary.

Buffett’s still going strong at 78, so that could indicate a Sun on the Ascendant, which gives good health and vitality. He has a sunny disposition and is always smiling.

The Sun/Neptune combo in humble Virgo is also his folksiness — personally writing a letter to shareholders every year in the annual report of his main investment vehicle, a publicly traded company named Berkshire Hathaway. (Most CEOs have the PR department write such correspondence.) Berkshire’s annual meeting in Omaha has kind of a state fair feeling to it, with lots of exhibits and diversions for shareholders. It’s been dubbed the “Woodstock of Capitalism.”

By living simply, Buffett is celebrating the common man. But he’s not a stick in the mud: He likes a little good-old fashioned fun.

A couple of other thoughts: The modest house that Buffett lives in? That’s camouflage. That’s why I’ve got Scorpio on the fourth house cusp. The Moon in exotic, free-thinking Sagittarius is inside Buffett’s fourth house, which rules home and family.

Guess what? After his first wife Susie passed away in 2004, Buffett married his longtime partner, Astrid Menks, a Latvian immigrant who ended up waiting tables in Omaha. Susie, who moved to San Francisco in 1977 to pursue political interests and a cabaret singing career, encouraged Buffett’s relationship with Menks. The three used to send out Christmas cards together. Not what you would expect from a buttoned-down Omaha businessman. So, Moon in Sagittarius: The first wife is open-minded and the second one is a foreigner.

Buffett had a close, possibly intimate, friendship with Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham. In her biography Personal History, Graham credited Buffett with showing her the ropes of business after he made in an investment in the family-controlled company.

Graham, best known for publishing the stories that exposed the Watergate scandal and forced President Richard Nixon to resign, was thrust into running the paper and its other media operations after her husband committed suicide. So the Moon in Sag shows up as the lady publisher.

Where does Buffett’s tremendous wealth come from? I think it’s due to the conjunction of Jupiter and Pluto in Cancer in the 11th house, which ancient astrologers considered a very lucky house indeed. Think about it: Pluto the Intensifier and Jupiter the Expander in Cancer, the sign that rules food and sustenance. No wonder so many people have turned “Buffett” into “Buffet.”

Check out Buffett’s chart.

Thanks to Astrodienst, I’ve run the horoscope with transits of July 4, 1776. No, Buffett wasn’t one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. However, like many prominent Americans he has strong connections to the U.S. chart. Buffett has been a champion of American brands, often investing in them when they were out of fashion on Wall Street, and staying in the shares for the long haul.

Like the U.S., Buffett is going to face a lot of financial stress when Pluto starts moving in Capricorn over the next two years. In fact, some astrologers use his chart (even without a correct time of birth) as a surrogate for the U.S. economy.

I’ve filed Buffett under Heroes, not because he’s worth about $60 billion, but because he’s giving away the majority of his wealth to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Founded by the chairman of Microsoft and his wife, the foundation is using Buffett’s dough to improve access to health care and education in developing countries.

Buffett also was smart enough to label derivative instruments such as credit default swaps as “financial weapons of mass destruction” long before Wall Street got into the mess it’s in.

No wonder they call him the Oracle of Omaha.

Wassup with the Washington Post?

I got an e-mail from an old friend of mine earlier this week who lives in the Washington D.C. area. I’ve been subjecting her to my telethon-like pleas to click on Astrology Mundo and she’s been obliging. Now it’s time to return the favor.

She wants to know if it’s possible for a newspaper like the Washington Post to have a natal chart? Yes, indeed it is. My friend asks whether this natal chart yields any clues as to why so many people were laid off from the paper and its sister publication Newsweek on May 31, 2008.

Now, some folks would cast the chart for the founding of the paper, back in 1877.

But I don’t think that’s the right date because the Post went into bankruptcy, meaning it “died” from a financial standpoint and was reborn when it was purchased by financier and Federal Reserve Board governor Eugene Meyer on June 1, 1933. Interesting that my friend’s e-mail arrived on June 2, quite close to the anniversary of this purchase, and that many of the latest layoffs tooks place around this “birthday.”

Birthdays and anniversaries often bring about news or change as the Sun returns to its original position, lighting up the chart.

Most readers may not be familiar with Eugene Meyer, but many have probably heard of his daughter, former Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham. A socialite who ended up at the helm of the family-owned paper after her husband committed suicide, Graham took on the Nixon Administration by exposing the Watergate break-in in a series of articles written by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in the 1970s.

One of my favorite anecdotes about Graham was how Nixon’s Attorney General, John Mitchell, warned Bernstein in 1972 that if the Watergate stories were published, “Katie Graham’s gonna get her tit caught in a big fat wringer.” Boys will be boys, even when they’re sitting in the White House.

Graham, who died in 2001 at Herb Allen’s Sun Valley media conference, wrote a poignant biography that won the Pulitzer prize called Personal History. Graham captivates the reader early on with her naivete. She doesn’t realize her family is rich, she doesn’t understand that she’s considered Jewish because her father is a Jew, and she doesn’t acknowledge her mother is an alcoholic. But her masterful recounting of her life lets you mature and ripen along with her.

Somewhere in Personal History, it may mention the time of the bankruptcy auction on June 1, but I lent my copy to somebody who never returned it. I searched the Web but I couldn’t find a time for the auction so I set the chart for the Washington Post’s “birth” for noon.

Here’s the chart with transits to May 31: http://www.astro.com/cgi/chart.cgi?cid=41laaaa19347-s971800598&lang=e&gm=a1&nhor=247&nho2=12&btyp=24&mth=gw&sday=31&smon=5&syr=2008&hsy=-1&zod=&orbp=&rs=0&ast=

I could spend a lot of time analyzing this chart, especially its connections to the U.S. chart and how those were being activated during the early 1970s. But alas, I’m a dilettante and I have a day job.

However, from a cursory glance, I can see that the natal Pluto of the WaPo chart opposes the U.S. Pluto and conjuncts natal Mercury, promising powerful (Pluto) communication (Mercury) concerning secrets (Pluto) like Watergate.

What’s happening now? Saturn in Virgo is eliminating the excess in the the paper’s operations. While a changing of the guard is taking place and many familiar bylines are moving on, I don’t think this is the end of the paper’s influence by any means.

My friend talks about readers feeling as if they are losing old friends. That leads me to believe the bankruptcy auction took place before noon and that transiting Saturn may be closer to the natal Moon than it appears from this chart. Saturn/Moon is about separation and saying good-bye.

Saturn is on the paper’s South Node and is heading for conjunctions with the WaPo’s natal planets in Virgo, including Mars, Moon, and Jupiter, and a square to the natal Sun, Mercury, and Venus conjunction in Gemini. Transiting Uranus is past a square to natal Venus, but will return as it moves retrograde in Pisces.

Keep in mind this isn’t the incorporation or first-day trade chart of the Washington Post Co., which encompasses a wide variety of media interests. Still, looking at the chart of the paper, I wouldn’t be surprised to see changes involving technology, perhaps an expansion of its Internet presence and the acquisition of other Web sites.

Also, when Saturn reaches Jupiter later this year, there could be a real estate transaction, perhaps the sale of the paper’s headquarters. I know nothing about what’s happening in Washington real estate right now, but Saturn/Jupiter conjunctions often mean property is being bought or sold.

If anybody has any thoughts on this chart, I’d love to hear them.