Leaders and their source of information – Do you know where it comes from?

Posted on February 5, 2017
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Author: Dr Brenda Hattingh. Date: 05 Feb 2017

The world has been confused by US President Donald Trump’s negating of many traditional information sources while criticizing intelligence agencies, reporting, reporters, news, Television media and traditional government statistics. What do you believe? What do you not believe?


Although information scandals have become part of the media-menu and disinformation and even blatant lies are flourishing – realistic questions remain: Where do leaders get their information from? Why do different leaders use different sources of information? What filters are used to sift through this information?What would happen if everyone used the same source and basic principles to found their decisions on? How can we motivate and inform our upcoming leaders to make sure that the information they base their decisions on is fundamentally correct – in essence truth? What is truth?

Sources of information

All leaders make use of different sources of information. As our information technology evolved – the more informed and complex the information and therefore the decision-making process has become. Leaders should and do, surround themselves with knowledgeable people that include specialists in various fields. All depending on the leadership position, they also have access to the most up-to-date scientific information and the best technology currently available. Only the complexity differs from one leadership position to another. The information and technology available to the President of the USA is on another level compared to a father as the leader in his family, who can access all the information he needs from the internet.

Most people think what they know is true

Unfortunately most people just blindly accept that what they know is right. However, what most people have are just personal perceptions. This leaves us all with a personal question: Where do you get your information from that you base your decisions on? What filters do you use to sift through your information thereby deciding what is relevant and what is not? How do you know what is truth – and what is not? Do we know what system our leaders are using to base their decisions on? Can we change this if necessary?

By gaining deeper insight we find throughout history that our leaders accessed information and ‘sourced’ higher guidance in different ways. They founded their decisions on a foundation of information not necessarily expected in the traditional political and financial hallways.

Here are a few examples and some of them will blow your mind! Why? Not much has changed ….

  • Ronald Reagan

Astrology has played a role ever since the beginning of human kind. It was therefore not strange to find an astrologist like Joan Quigley rendering her services to the Reagan White House. Not only did Quigley volunteer her services to the presidential campaign, but she also later provided the Reagan’s with guidance and information on a regular basis. In his book, Ronald Reagan[i] explains the best kept White House secret of his presidency. It was revealed that virtually every major move and decision made was first cleared in advance with a ‘woman in San Francisco’ – who drew up horoscopes to make certain that the planets were in a favorable alignment for the enterprise[ii]. Ronald Reagan was also a deeply religious and spiritual leader, admired and trusted by many. This led to a vote of confidence and a second term in office[iii]. Behind this all was the First Lady, Nancy Reagan, who not only supported the President’s methods, but also instigated many of the processes.

  • President Roosevelt

President Roosevelt too, is said to have kept an astrological chart pasted to the bottom of his chessboard, for handy reference. America’s Declaration of Independence, so the story goes, was signed only after the Founding Fathers made sure the heavens were in fortuitous alignment. In fact, astrology has played a part in public life as long as there have been politicians reaching for the stars. However, in the United States it has often been the women behind powerful men who looked to horoscopes or cards or clairvoyants – for guidance.

For more info: Author Page

  • American Founding Fathers

Other American presidents and/or their wives have made use of astrological information. This includes the founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin and Jefferson, and First Lady Betty Ford. Writer Sally Quinn, who investigated the capital’s astrology habits for the Washington Post, says “I was amazed at the kinds of people who actually made political decisions based on astrological charts.” But though many of the power elite consult astrologists, she says that “Nobody admits it.” Contributions are also made by psychics and prophets, and Svetlana Godilla was among D.C.’s most popular seers[iv].

  • French President Francois Mitterrand

Astrology has also played an important role in the leadership and politics of the France. The well-known French astrologist Elizabeth Teissier, was featured heavily in the media after she revealed that she had served as an advisor to the French president Francois Mitterrand, for a period of seven years. In her book, she claims that she used the stars to guide the president in choosing his every political move, including military actions during the Gulf War[v].

However, more than a century before the French Revolution, astrology was denounced as a discipline unworthy of study by Jean-Baptiste Colbert, who was then chief minister to the French monarch Louis XIV. Colbert founded the French Académie des Sciences in 1666, and a monarchical degree was passed which threatened to punish practicing soothsayers with banishment. Now, nearly three and a half centuries later, soothsaying has been rehabilitated at the Sorbonne[vi].

  • Russia

Boris Yeltsin was also no stranger to assistance from astrologers. It is said that with their help, Yeltsin won the election. It is known that Vladimir Putin, at the time, requested astrologers to determine the date and hour of his inauguration. As for Russia, studies show that more than half of Russians believe in omens, and 42% believe in prophetic dreams. According to surveys, about 20% of Russians also believe in astrology.

According to statistics over the past two decades, the number of those seeking astrologers has nearly doubled.

  • Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler also believed in astrology. He ignored the advice of an astrologer, Walter Sobottendorfa, to do nothing until after November 1923. Hitler however ignored this astrologic warning and gave the Munich putsch[vii], after which he was imprisoned. Hitler then decided not to take risks, and from then on not only relied on his own insights, but also decided to include contributions from leading astrologers and other sources of information. He created a special research institution, and studies were designed “to harness in order to win in harnessing not only natural but also supernatural powers – of modern technology to black magic.” It is in such an institution that William Wulff was hired in 1942 – who later became the court astrologer of the Third Reich[viii].

  • Indira Gandhi

Other prominent leaders who have made use of astrological guidance and information, include Indira Gandhi and Indian politicians. The involvement of astrologers in the affairs of Indian politicians are said to have always been at a ‘state level’. Astrology is very popular with Indian politicians, as it has been with British leadership.

  • Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher and John Major regularly commissioned astrological predictions from Marjorie Orr – a well-known astrologist from Glasgow. In the United Kingdom, a research fund has been set up to investigate the potential of astrology

  • Celebrities

It is common knowledge that many celebrities make use of astrology. This includes people like Princes Diana and Marilyn Monroe. Many other celebrities have publically announced that they consult different psychics, mediums, fortune tellers, astrologists and/or numerologists. Various TV-reality shows have been based on these visits of celebrities.

  • Denmark and Austria

In Denmark and Austria, business astrologers are active – with university backing. In India, the Education Minister has called upon all 200 universities to offer astrology courses, offering them each five extra places for teaching and support personnel. He has also demanded that all high schools teach Vedic mathematics and astrology[ix].

  • African Leaders

In Africa we find sangomas having many different social and political roles in the community, that include divination, healing, directing rituals, finding lost cattle, protecting warriors, counter-acting witches, and narrating the history, cosmology, and myths of their tradition. They are highly revered and respected in their society. Jacob Zuma – current president of South Africa was thought to be a sangoma but since then this was denounced.

In many African countries, illness is thought to be caused by witchcraft, pollution, the contact with impure objects or occurrences, revenge, or by the ancestors themselves. They believe that this could occur either malevolently, or through the neglect of ancestral spirits or if ancestral spirits are not respected. At the same time these occurrences could show an individual his/her calling to be a sangoma. For harmony between the living and the dead, vital for a trouble-free life, the ancestors must be shown respect through ritual and animal sacrifice.

An iconic leader like Nelson Mandela didn’t publically attach himself to any specific religion and/or philosophy. He did however make his heart and soul know in his autobiobraphy and many inspiring quotes.

At the same time, we have the question of the usage of ‘muti’[x], especially rhino horn, in Africa and in Eastern leadership circles. The properties of rhino horn encompass more than an aphrodisiac, and can be traced back to the ancient times of the myths of the unicorn[xi].

  • Chinese traditions

The story of unicorns has been with us, in one form or another, since the dawn of history. Its believed they were first described by the Chinese as a miraculous creature called the Ch’i lin (or K’i lin), a ‘great unicorn’, that radiated exquisite colours, had a voice like a thousand wind chimes, avoided fighting at all costs, lived for a thousand years, and had a horn twelve feet long. It was said that Ch’i Lin walked so softly that its hooves made no sound. Some believed this was because it was so soft-hearted, it did not want to crush the blades of grass beneath its feet. It was a creature of great power and wisdom, and would show itself at special times.

For more info see Chapter 3 of New Leadership DNA: Developing Enlightened Leaders

  • Confucious

The appearance of a unicorn was always considered a sign of good fortune. When a ruler was just and kind and the times peaceful and prosperous, the unicorn would appear in a glade. It would also appear when a great leader was about to die or be born[xii]. It is said that the pregnant mother of Confucius was visited by a unicorn before his birth. Although Confucius never wore a crown, he was revered by all. Through his teachings, Confucius probably did as much to shape China as the power of many kings and warlords combined.

While our sophisticated information technology keeps on developing – deep down very little changes where people and their belief systems are concerned. Nothing is the way that it seems …. and we need to get real!

Food for thought

As our quest to find truth, honesty, integrity and authenticity in leaders and leadership development – so it becomes necessary to re-visit more of the unknown and not so public ways and means of  information dependency of previous leaders. This information could provide us with clarity for the future.

In our next post, we will have a look at the influence of religions on the decision-making process of different leaders.

It’s time to wake up and get real. This again leaves us all with some personal questions: Where do you get your information from? What do you base your decisions on? What filters do you use to sift through your information thereby deciding what is relevant and what is not? How do you know what is truth – and what is not? Do you know what system your current leaders are using to base their decisions on? Can we change this if necessary? If so … How? What is your/my our contribution?

Till next time

Stay connected

Brenda Hattingh           

Brenda Hattingh

An international leadership coach, inspirational speaker and author with a passion for progress, success and quality living while addressing the challenges of the future.

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[i] Regan, Donald. 1988. For the Record: From Wall Street to Washington.

Harcourt. New York.

[ii]  Quigley, Joan. 1990. What Does Joan Say?: My Seven Years as White House

                 Astrologer to Nancy and Ronald Reagan. Carol Publishing Group. New


Regan, Donald. 1988. For the Record: From Wall Street to Washington.

Harcourt. New York.

Reagan, Ronald. 2011. An American Life. Threshold Editions. New York.

[iii]   Von Bulow, Harry. 2003. God and Ronald Reagan: God Moves in the Affairs of

                 Men. AuthorHouse. UK

[iv]   See website: http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20099022,00.html

[v]   Teisser, Elizabeth. 1997.  Sous Le Signe de Mitterrand.  (Under the Sign

of Mitterrand). Edition1. UK.

[vi]   Sorbonne: A part of the University of Paris, founded in 1253, that contains the

faculties of science and literature.

[vii]   Puntch: A sudden planned attempt to overthrow a government using military


See website: http://www.destle.com/article/Rustam-E-Hind/Famous-people-and-


[viii]  Wulff, Wilhelm & Laqueur, Walter. 1973. Zodiac and Swastika: How Astrology  

                 Guided Hitler’s Germany. Coward, McCann & Geoghegan.

See website: http://www.destle.com/article/Rustam-E-Hind/Famous-people-and-


[ix]   See website: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2001/sep2001/sorb-s21.shtml.

[x]  Muti: The name given to medicine given by a Sangoma and can contain

Anything, like lion fat for courage and rhino horn for power and magic.

(Rhino horn is generally viewed as aphrodisiac, but its power is also said to

be used to strengthen leaders). See Glossary.

[xi]   See: Encyclopædia Britannica, 1911: “Unicorn”

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unicorn/

[xii]   See: http://www.allaboutunicorns.com/chinese-unicorns.php


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