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NOTE: There will be no normal weekly column during the next two weeks of holidays. We will, however, post articles that will be interest from past Forecast Books. To all readers of this column, we thank you for your support over the past years, and wish you and yours a very happy Holiday season and a most prosperous New Year!
REVIEW, PREVIEW, AND BOTH SHORT- AND LONGER-TERM THOUGHTS
Stocks fell sharply on Friday after weaker-than-expected data in China and Europe exacerbated concerns of a global economic slowdown. – Fred Imbert, Sam Meredith, and Yen Nee Lee, “Dow Dives About 500 Points Amid Rising Fears Over Global Growth,” https://www.cnbc.com, December 14, 2018.
Gold fell to its lowest in more than a week on Friday and was on track to mark its biggest weekly decline in more than a month, as the dollar climbed on robust U.S. economic data ahead of a U.S. Federal Reserve meeting next week… The dollar rose to a 19-month high after data showed U.S. consumer spending appeared to gather momentum while industrial production rebounded in November. Markets are awaiting the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting on Dec. 18-19, where the U.S. central bank is widely expected to raise interest rates. The focus, however, would be on the outlook for 2019. – Reuters, “Gold Dips to 1-Week Low as Dollar Bounces on Strong Data,” December 14, 2018.
It was another difficult week for global equity markets, marred by fears of global slowdown, continued trade disputes, and lack of confidence in European political leaders as they struggle with the UK exit from the European Union. It was also symbolized by the fourth of five passages of the Uranus/Neptune semi-square aspect on Friday, December 4. This is the 1/8 phase of the 171-year planetary cycle that began with the conjunction in 1993. Together, these two planets in a hard aspect to one another contain themes of chaos, turbulence, and uncertainty. The central time band for this powerful aspect began with its first passage in August 2017 (remember all the devastating hurricanes that month?), and will complete their fifth and final passage on May 2, 2019.
SHORT-TERM GEOCOSMICS AND LONGER-TERM THOUGHTS
Britain's embattled Prime Minister Theresa May will go back to London empty-handed on Friday, after racing to Brussels to try to get a few more concessions from the European Union… "The Union stands by this agreement and intends to proceed with its ratification. It is not open for renegotiation," the statement said Thursday. "There will be no new legally binding obligations imposed on the European Union. That's crystal clear," European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told reporters in Brussels Thursday night. The U.K. Parliament is legally scheduled to vote on the withdrawal agreement before January 21. – Silvia Amaro, “EU Refuses to Help British PM Over Brexit,” https://www.cnbc.com, December 14, 2018.
This is a good time to take a break because there are no major short-term geocosmic signature of note coming up until the Solar Eclipse conjunct Saturn January 2-5. There are two benign aspects this week involving the Sun trine Uranus on December 20 and Venus trine Neptune on December 21. It is a nice cosmic way to end the year, and if the market responds in kind, there might be a modest year-end rally. On a more individual note, these two aspects indicate favorable responses to holiday gifts involving technology (Sun/Uranus), as well as personal gifts displaying love and romance (Venus/Neptune). Neptune in Pisces highlights fantasy, and Venus in Scorpio can be sensual, so use your imagination to buy a gift that excites your imagination, as well as your partner’s.
And then get ready for reality that starts almost immediately when the clock strikes twelve on New Year’s Day.
The last two weeks have provided a glimpse of what to expect in 2019. There has been a barrage of Neptune aspects with the Sun square Mars and Neptune (December 2-5), Mercury ending its retrograde motion (December 6), Mars conjunct Neptune December 7, and the fourth of five passages of Uranus semi-square Neptune on December 14. In terms of the collective psychology of the times, these cosmic signatures indicate massive confusion and uncertainty, and investors (and hence equity markets) don’t like either. The shorter-term cosmic picture may point to a temporary break these next two weeks, but the larger geocosmic picture indicates danger of losing sight and control of the political and financial fabric that creates the illusion that there is a vision, plan, and control. I mean, what is it about Europe that doesn’t want it to help Great Britain navigate through this exit process?
The heavy onslaught of Neptune aspects in the past two weeks isn’t the end of the matter. It is the prelude for next year, when Jupiter will square Neptune (January-September), while at the same time Uranus continues its semi-square to Neptune into May 2, and Jupiter makes a sesquiquadrate (135° aspect) to Uranus (January-October). In other words, much of 2019 will be about the struggle of all three planets (Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune) as they try to find the path to integrate their themes smoothly during a time when their arrangement among one another illuminates divergence of actions.
As an example, let’s start with Neptune, which is arguably the most important key in this whirlwind of cosmic spinning, if, for no other reasons, than 1) it is in its ruling sign and 2) it will stay there even after the other planets move on. The solution to a dilemma for Neptune is to always take the high road, which means self-sacrifice for the betterment of others. Neptune shows its greatest strength when it gives, when it is motivated by the spirit of helping others. It is at its worst, and leads to massive confusion and disillusionment, when it only wants to receive, when it resists and resorts to name-calling and blaming others. No one wants to help, and no one wants to even get involved when that is the dominant theme.
Now let’s bring in Jupiter, which will be in a square aspect to Neptune January 13, June 16, and September 21, but whose orb of influence is already underway. Jupiter, like Neptune, is in its ruling sign, so its is doubly important in 2019. The nature of Jupiter and Sagittarius is to enlarge, expand, or exaggerate whatever theme its touches by way of other planets. So right away, one can see the choice here: either take the high road and exhibit a large, generous heart that is willing to give and even sacrifice to help others, or exaggerate deception, falsehood, name-calling, insult, and blaming of others, which lead to even greater mass confusion and disillusionment. And once again, investors don’t like confusion and uncertainty, and they like it even less when those dynamics are increasing (Jupiter), which can lead to hysteria and panic in financial markets.
Jupiter and Sagittarius also rule world trade. Historically, when Jupiter is in Sagittarius, equity and commodity markets rise. But in those times, it is not in a square aspect to Neptune in Pisces (that only happens every 166 years). This current trade war between the USA and China, revolving around the ominous threat of more tariffs, is now leading to an economic slowdown in China, which will have the opposite effect than is anticipated by the USA president. Perhaps it was anticipated that new tariffs would slow down China’s growth and force China to make trade concessions. But was it clearly understood that such a slowdown of China’s economy would also lead to an economic slowdown and eventually a recession in the USA, and instability of its stock market? In other words, Jupiter in Sagittarius is supposed to be favorable for the economies and the stock markets of the world. But in square aspect to Neptune, world leaders seem to be following the opposite path from what Jupiter and Neptune need to thrive: self-sacrifice and willingness to help one another rather than increasing hostilities by refusing help to one another and/or blaming one another. Just a month ago, many analysts were touting how strong the world economy and global equity market were, with no sign of a recession in view. Hardly anyone is espousing that outlook today.
The possibility of a serious recession under these Jupiter/Neptune signatures is exacerbated further with Uranus in a semi-square to Neptune. All three of these discordant aspects involving three of the five outermost planets will be followed by the 32-27 year Saturn/Pluto conjunction (the other two outer planets) in the serious sign of Capricorn in January 2020. If this current path described above is not soon corrected, this could get very ugly very fast. Maybe it has already started.
The year 2019 still offers much hope if leaders, as well as individuals, can consciously (or even unconsciously) integrate the positive principles of Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune with one another. It is really not that complicated from the cosmic perspective. It means coming from a mindset that sincerely wants to help one another, not to outdo, take advantage of, or “win” at another’s expense. It’s all about Neptune in Pisces in order for our global community to move forward and return stability and gains to world equity markets, versus losing control and encountering unexpected consequences and economic loses for failure to act in good faith with one another. It is about the true spirit of the season we are now entering. We can do this if we try, if we truly want to. The heavens, the planets, and the cosmos don’t compel. They impel.
Happy Holidays to everyone. See you next year!