REVIEW AND PREVIEW
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s assertion this week that the U.S. economy remains strong is facing a stern test from the bond market, which showed a classic recession sign Friday morning. Short-term government fixed income yields are now ahead of the longer part of the curve, delivering a strong recession indication that hasn’t happened since 2007. The spread, or yield curve, between the 3-month and 10-year Treasury notes just broke the longest streak ever of being above 10 basis points, or 0.1 percentage point. The two maturities were last below that level in September 2007. The two maturities inverted Friday morning, a near-perfect sign that a recession is coming. An inverted yield curve does not mean a recession is imminent but that one is likely over the next year or so. – Jeff Cox, “The Bond Market is Flashing Its Biggest Recession Sign Since Before the Financial Crisis,” https://www.cnbc.com, March 22, 2019.
City planners, builders, engineers, and scientists are racing to find new ways for people to make a home as climate change brings increased heavy flooding, dangerous weather conditions, and extreme storm surges. – Elizabeth Weise, “The Floods Are Coming; Here’s What You Can Do,” USA Today, March 22, 2019.
Last week exhibited a confluence of interesting geocosmic activity, all within the middle of the Mercury retrograde cycle in Pisces. The actual middle of this retrograde period occurred the prior weekend, on March 16-17. However, by mid-week, March 20, the Vernal (spring) equinox got underway, simultaneously, on a rare full moon, something that seems to happen about every 18-19 years (and precedes a downturn in the stock market). One day later, March 21, Venus formed a fixed-sign square to Mars at 23° Aquarius/Taurus. In the founding chart of the New York Stock Exchange (May 17, 1792), Mercury is posited at 23° Taurus and Pluto at 23° Aquarius, the same positions of the Venus/Mars square in today’s sky. You would think that would coincide with a significant movement (reversal) in world equity and other financial markets. You would be correct.
March 19-21 witnessed new cycle highs in several world stock indices, followed by sharp declines into the end of the week. In the United States, new highs for 2019 occurred on March 21 in the S&P and NASDAQ Composite indices, but not in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA). The DJIA made a secondary peak for this new year on Tuesday, March 19, at 26,109, slightly below its cycle high of 26,241 recorded on February 25. By Friday, March 22, the DJIA was down hard, over 400 points, testing 25,500 on the close. Analysts were quickly lowering their forecast for economic growth in the USA, associated with slower growth than originally thought in Europe and China. This followed worrisome warnings mid-week by the Federal Reserve Board along the same lines, explaining why the central bank has decided against any more rate hikes in 2019, when just a couple of weeks ago the forecast was for two more rate hikes. No one seems to know why the sudden turn from optimism to worry about the global economy. Why wasn’t this slowdown seen before? That could be related to the fact that no one in these fields understands the dynamic of Mercury retrograde, especially in Pisces, and more so in conjunction with Neptune, the ruler of Pisces. But Financial Astrologers know. In fact, this is a classical aspect depicting the reality that no one really knows the reality of the world economy. They don’t know that they don’t know until it becomes obvious that they don’t know. And even then, there is denial and lack of accountability, all qualities of the darker side of Neptune and Pisces.
Mercury knows. Mercury rules knowledge, information, and mental processing. But it is in its detriment in Pisces, which has a hard time processing information, such as facts. This is compounded by Mercury retrograde, which implies a challenge processing – or obtaining – relevant information in an understandable way to communicate to others as well. The result is the realization that what we thought was real (the “miracle” national and world economy) is not real at all. It is an illusion, or a by-product of wishful thinking, which are again under the domain of Neptune and Pisces. They rule the imagination, fantasy, the ability to see things in the abstract. These qualities are valuable for words of inspiration, and a heightened sense of intuition and even creative thinking. But that is not the world in which the world economy and financial markets operate most efficiently. Eventually, illusion meets reality and you get the rude wake up call. You’ve been sleeping. You’ve been too complacent, believing all is well, and any downturn will be temporary and everything (including your portfolio) will return to normal again soon, because isn’t that the way things have been going for the past ten years?
And now, we see an inverted yield curve for the first time since 2007, which was just a couple of months before the Great Recession of 2007-2009 got underway in December 2007, following the then-all-time high in the stock market on October 11, 2007.
Funny, isn’t it? October 11, 2007 also corresponded to the last time Jupiter was in the middle of Sagittarius, a 12-year planetary cycle that has a rich history of corresponding to long-term cycle crests in the U.S. stock market. It is underway again, November 8, 2018 through December 2, 2019.
SHORT-TERM GEOCOSMICS AND LONGER-TERM THOUGHTS
“Oh, the wonderful knowledge to be found in the stars. Even the smallest things are written there…if you had but skill to read.” - Benjamin Franklin, in a quote from a book about to be published by a very successful businessman who had an “awakening” following an astrological consultation. More on that in a future column.
“All I know since yesterday is
Everything has changed”
Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran, “Everything Has Changed,” from the album “Red,” Big Machine Republic, 2013 (can be heard on YouTube)
No, I am not a Taylor Swift groupie. But this song was playing on a Pandora Radio station I was listening to this week and the words caught my attention. This was right after I had an inspiring conversation with recording musician and friend Richard Hardy, who also studies astrology. We were discussing the meaning of the Saturn/Pluto conjunction in Capricorn, and how best to utilize its principles in one’s personal life, especially as it alternates back and forth between the sweet delirium of the dream-like Jupiter square Neptune, with each in its own ruling sign, and the harsh reality of the demanding Saturn/Pluto conjunction in Capricorn. The latter is not as forgiving as the laid-back Jupiter/Neptune combination.
Jupiter/Neptune is in force January through September 2019. The Saturn/Pluto conjunction is not exact until January 12, 2020, but it is close enough to have a correspondence even now, as they are within three degrees of one another through June. Time-wise, the Jupiter/Neptune square arrived first, and is followed by the conjunction of Saturn and Pluto. But along the way, now through the summer, they weave back and forth across one another’s landscape. Then it is mostly Saturn/Pluto and the Capricorn Stellium in influence late 2019 through 2020. All I know since yesterday is… everything has changed. The bright economy, the “miracle” economy, as promoted by the President as turning around until this week when he proclaimed that that the Federal Reserve Board’s tightening policy at the end of 2018 has damaged this “economic miracle.” What was optimistic has turned worrisome. What was Jupiter in Sagittarius (optimism and unfounded exuberance) has turned into Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn (“Where have all the flowers – or monies – gone?”).
Yet, every planetary and celestial body represents a dynamic, an archetype, that can be used constructively, even in a “hard aspect,” as Saturn conjunct Pluto is. So, how does one constructively use Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn? What are the principles striving to be integrated for greatest personal growth?
Saturn and Capricorn both represent control and ethics, while Pluto represents power and transformation. This is a time when the power of Pluto may be experienced as a threat to one’s control, a force that seems to demand one to change, to go against one’s own personal code of ethics (assuming one has a personal code of ethics). The challenge is to stay true to your core principles, and not let others or circumstances force you to violate the core of who you are and do something that is not you because of outside pressures. Although this is true with the world in general, the masses, it is especially pertinent to those who have planets located between 15-24° of cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn), especially Cancer and Capricorn. We know the Sun is in these degrees for anyone born January 5-16 and July 7-18, regardless of year of birth. It also affects those born April 5-16 and October 8-18.
To stand with your feet on the burning coals and not surrender principles you hold sacred will empower you, make you stronger. To surrender and give in to external pressures to do something that deep within you know is not right, will likely result in losing something of yourself that will be hard to regain. This period is a test of your commitment, your connection, to your own personal ethics. Don’t sell yourself out. You can change, but maintain your integrity and your sense of self-control. Pluto also represents the urge to dig deep within, to locate the source from which personal transformation can then take place. Hence, this is a major learning period, and the consequences of how you – and how the world at large – handles it, will determine the circumstances of your (our) future for the next several years.
On a short-term basis of understanding financial markets, know that between March 22 and April 3, Mercury is stationary in Pisces, conjunct Neptune. Mercury turns direct March 28, but the dynamics will linger on a few days afterwards. Confusion and uncertainty will dominate the news (think Brexit). It is not a time when information and news is likely to be accurate or reliable. People will come up with wild (even ridiculous) theories, and be tempted to start rumors and distractions to steer attention away from what they are doing and onto others who cannot defend themselves (scapegoats). It is a time for seeing others who will masterfully play the victim card, the victim act, with amazing believability – except it is untrue. It is only an act at best, a hoax at worse.
One market that may be prominent now is crude oil, ruled by Neptune and Pisces. Last week, crude oil soared above $60/barrel for the first time since mid-November. Grains may also be in the news too because – consistent with Jupiter (exaggeration) square Neptune (rains) – weather forecasters now (and we in the Forecast 2019 Book) are calling for record floods this season and beyond. We are not surprised, although we think it is more this year and not beyond.