Tony Robbins: Guru or Snake Oil Salesman?

Wednesday April 11th 2012
Anthony Robbins, self-invented

Anthony Robbins is a phenomeon. If you haven’t come across him yet – well, you will.

In a nut-shell he is the top, or one of the top, personal development salesmen in the world – hosting seminars, writing books, making the infamous “infomercials”, giving lectures, flogging motivational CDs  – he even had a TV show for a while, which has just been picked up by Oprah. He is brand Tony Robbins.

If you want to get thinner, richer, fitter or just more fulfilled and successful, Antony Robbins says he can help you.

I find Robbins mesmerisingly fascinating. I’ve been watching him on youtube and I recommend this video of him giving a TED talk.

The guy has extraordinary communication skills. He speaks so fluently, the anecdotes spill out of his mouth as he strides around the stage. His gestures are perfect. His message is simple. He might be an evangelical preacher man, but he’s not selling God. He’s selling success in the modern world.

And to do that, he must epitomise it himself. He certainly looks awfully rich somehow.

His message is simple because he puts everything into bullet points. There are six ways of doing this and three steps to that and nine means of etcetera. When life is cut up into bite-sized pieces like that, why, anything seems possible.

I’ve met people who go to his seminars repeatedly to drink at the fountain of Tony. They have a dazed look because they are on a mission, the Tony mission, to be the best they can be, and to go back for more. Since his seminars are rather expensive, you are already part of a very special, select group of people who are able and willing to fork out thousands of pounds a pop.

Now, this guy has incredible powers of persuasion, so I’m grateful that what he’s selling is essentially harmless, although it has a dark side. Imagine if, instead of selling self-help, Tony Robbins were stirring up racial hatred or sectarian violence. He has the power.

So what of his chart?

Date and time for this chart were found by
Frank Clifford.

Well here’s another contemporary Pisces who has moved millions with the power of his vision, and made millions doing it. I’m thinking of the late Steve Jobs, and the lamentable Rupert Murdoch. Both born fishes.

And yet, what’s this? One of the most brilliant communicators of our times has Mercury, the planet that rules communications in Pisces. That means it is both in detriment and in its fall. That’s bad, right? Well, I guess not if you’re trying to sell a dream, a vision, an ideal.

Because that is what Robbins is doing. He is selling you back to you. He holds up a mirror and instead of seeing humdrum little old you, you see the fabulous, glamourous you that you could be, if only you could follow the five steps or the seven ways or the 52 cards.

“If you want to be successful, find someone who has achieved the results you want and copy what they do and you’ll achieve the same results.” Mirroring.
Mirrors are a speciality of shimmering silver-backed Pisces, and of Neptune, Pisces modern ruler. Neptune in intense Scorpio is tightly trine Robbins’ Pisces Sun. Now Neptune in Scorp is a generational aspect, so this beam to the Sun allows him to plug right into the dream and visions of his own generation. Scorpio is our unconscious drives; Neptune is visionary, mystical.
In another century, I am sure Robbins would have been a religious mystic – maybe Savanorola, maybe Martin Luther. They wrote about men like him in the Middle Ages, men who could stir a crowd to walk across the Europe, flaying their skins and proclaiming the greatness of god.
And speaking of another century, Robbins Karmic South Node is conjunct his Mercury, which puts his North Node in the sign of the healer, Virgo in the watery 12th, the unconscious. So his direction in life is to use his natural ability to talk in order to heal the spirit.

But if Robbins’ chart was all about water, he would have no drive. He has the fire that every salesperson needs. With the Moon in Aries, he is competitive, energetic, and this Moon is made even more excitable and exciting by a trine from electric Uranus in fiery Leo. The Moon is applying to this trine which makes it stronger. Then Jupiter in fiery Sagittarius sends a beam to the Moon also.

And here we have something. Robbins is huge – 6’7″ – and large with it. One of his books is called Awaken the Giant Within. Here’s what he says: “The path to success is to take massive, determined action.” He likes large, and where is the planet of large?

Jupiter is domicile in Sagittarius, the sign of adventure and expansion. Not only that, it’s in the last few minutes of the sign, so it carries a huge punch. One of the keys to Robbins success is his optimism, Jupiter. He really has faith (Jupiter again). This faith feeds his Aries soul directly and it’s intensified by Pluto. Jupiter is, of course, in the house of communications, talking.

This is quite a difficult chart. It’s filled with inconjuncts and squares and a serious opposition from Pluto to the Sun (ouch). But then Robbins whole approach is one of facing up to problems, and beating them. Clearly, he had to do that himself. With the Pluto opposition, you tend to either be blocked or you stand on the blockage to give yourself a leg up. Another of his books is called Unleash Your Potential.

“One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.”

Robbins Venus-Uranus opposition: Beauty and the Beast

If Tony Robbins were simply a super-selling self-help guru, people would not find him objectionable. There is quite a lot of common sense in what he says, combined with a lot of wishful thinking. But he has a real flaw: greed. He has become very, very wealthy by getting people to come to his seminars and workshops on how to become very, very wealthy.

This is part of the Pluto-Jupiter-Moon dynamic in his chart. He is insatiable. One of his mantras is that to find fulfilment, you need to give back. This is true enough – but even his giving is insatiable. He doesn’t give one turkey, or a dozen he goes on and on giving those turkeys.

Another reason for Robbins’ success is his ability to structure his ideas into formats that people can copy. Listening to him speak, I could hear Saturn (structure) and Pallas (intelligent design) talking. And they are conjunct in Saturn’s home sign, Capricorn. They also conjunct the IC. This strong desire to find rules for human behaviour is at the foundation of his chart, holding up the whole edifice.

Finally, one more word about his charm. He has Libra Rising, which usually gives grace and people-pleasing potential. It also means Venus in the humanitarian sign Aquarius is the chart ruler. But she is opposed by Uranus in Leo. This says something about Robbins unusual appearance. He manages somehow to be both beauty and the beast wrapped up in a single package.

Also he loves (Venus) an audience (Aquarius) – and I guess quite a few of them love him back.

For more on Robbins, click here.

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  1. I know the guy is good at his job, I’ve read a couple of his books, but he still gives me the creeps – there’s a false sincerity in his schtick. Put him next to Eckhart Tolle and the disingenuousness would shine through.

  2. Christina says:

    He is a repackager of ideas, so his words don’t spring from originality but from salesmanship. I think that’s partly what’s wrong anyway, because I agree there is something not right about him – and it’s not just the obvious gybe that he’s ripping people off, because I think he is, within his own terms, sincere,

  3. He sells effervescent enthusiasm, which eventually goes flat, at least for me. The chart doesn’t seem very striking or revealing. I wonder if it is correct. No very close aspects, no thematic integration, to my eye. The emphasis on the last four signs is notable. I did a fire walk years ago with him when he was still doing them — it was a powerful experience and I remember being in touch for a few days with intuitive abilities and skills that had been previously blocked. I went back for another session about 6 months later when he was passing through my territory again, and tho I got sufficiently pumped to walk the coals, I came home with an enormous cold that lasted for weeks. To the extent that he teaches techniques, as opposed to merely stimulating positive intentions, they are mostly neuro-linguistic programming tricks, many of which are quite manipulative, which I didn’t like.

  4. Christina says:

    @astrodreamer – effervescent enthusiasm – Aries Moon plus Sag Jupiter. The fact that it sort of fades away smacks of the Pisces to me.

    Good point about the last four signs with that Moon pulling them along.

    I’ve watched quite a few of these vids and I think I read Awaken the Giant Within years ago. But the writing is execrable and I couldn’t finish it. What strikes me is that it’s all really shallow. Where is the art, where is the beauty, where is the spirit, where is the true emotional connection?

    Someone (can’t remember who) has pointed out that Pisces/Neptune can actually be quite shallow – dealing in gossip, glamour, ephemera. I think that’s what we see here. It’s like the Emperor’s New Clothes…actually, there’s nothing there…

  5. Link says:

    He’s got a nice trine between Pars Fortuna in the 11th, Jupiter and Venus, so yes he’s smooth and ‘lucky’ Lilith in the 9th in Gems at the top of his chart.

    He seems to have a good grasp of common human failings but maybe a bit low on empathy or compassion.

    Neptune in the second. He’s selling an illusion that people are falling over themselves to buy probably as you note because he’s so physically imposing, has huge confidence and is obviously very wealthy.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if he has a low poor view of the limpets hanging off him. Plus the idea that moentary wealth is the measure of success is pretty limited and pretty callous.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Tony Robbins has always struck me as a bit creepy looking. He once said he used to be overweight and a bit of a loser, so I always see him as that dorky guy dressed up in a suit trying to look cool. He does nothing for me but Venus in Aquarius must appeal to the masses? He’s not someone I can connect with though.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I have had the privilege of doing a couple of seminars with TR believe it or not… FREE! I was expecting a sale man, an american rouser… I was absolutely astounded at his depth of compassion backed up by real action in contribution to people. I think because he is successful people say the intent must be wrong. In my experience – its not. He and the few people on the planet like him who are authentic about their work deserve the greatest gifts.
    I am a student astrologer and have a few aspects similar and found this article very inspiring – thanks.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Is there reliable source where can I find the birth certificate/birth data proving that Tony Robbins has Libra Rising?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Sorry for the delay. I just got back from vacation. 🙂 Thanks, Christina.

    Take care,

  10. […] Tony Robbins: Guru or Snak Oil Salesman? […]

  11. Leonora says:

    Isn’t success in the modern world the equivalent of god in the modern world? I’ve got a friend who laps up Robbins, Hicks, The Secret etc – he’s a Scorpio with Pisces asc and Sun conj Neptune. He lives in a run down caravan on a hand to mouth basis but he does have a money tree in a broken plant pot! This mirroring is flattery and the sales of wish living reminds me of “there’s no success like failure and that failure’s no success at all.” Dylan.
    The Jupiter Moon trine inSag/Aries gives him something of a manic and messianic drive. Pisces is also messianic… I am of the water thus I can walk on it…the water and I are one… and so on!
    Guru or snake oil? He’s perhaps a guru for snakes! The presentation reminds me of this – Jim Carey showing how rich people laugh!
    As far as is critics of mastery goes – meh… for some people mastery of their own breath is a problem! There is something distinctly creepy about him! Is he so motivated to motivate others because he fears his inner loser? Or he is having trouble keeping it at bay?
    Christina is right about the shallow aspect of Neptune and Pisces – after all, water comes in trickles, puddles, small drops etc it can be wispy washy, cold and annoying! He does have Rx Neptune in Scoprio sq Venus in Aquarius – somewhat conspiratorial and impersonal (he does set his talks up for people to feel they are up against something they can prove their superiority against!) and deeply shallow!!!
    His N node is on other nasty fixed star Alkaid – I know some people don’t apply fixed stars to the node but I think they work – it apparently has the effect of Mars Saturn Uranus which suits his somewhat bludgeoning manner.

  12. jay says:

    Robbins is preaching to a greedy choir. Who else would jump up and down, flail about as if in religious trance. He makes about a million dollars every where he appears. Gifted.. yes to make others make him very rich.