This article originally appeared in Raymond Merriman's Forecast 2016 Book, published in November 2015.
Based on historical records of when the vote for the Declaration of Independence actually took place, as described at length in the Forecast 2015 Book (“America at the Crossroads”), the USA was “born” July 2, 1776 in Philadelphia, sometime before noon. As explained in last year’s book, I have applied an astrological method known as “rectification” to derive a time of 11:50 AM for the founding of the United States. There is no way to determine with certainty if that time is correct, but for reasons given in last year’s book, it fits with my understanding of what the United States is about, particularly as expressed in the wording within the Declaration of Independence, stating “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” Throughout the document, it highlights the importance of equality and the right of all people to pursue liberty, justice, and happiness. Therefore, I am inclined to believe that the USA has Libra rising, for Libra rules this concept of “equality” and “justice for all.” A “birth” slightly before noon would have Libra rising.
A rectified chart of the United States, July 2, 1776, 11:50 AM, Philadelphia, PA
MAJOR TRANSITS TO THE USA CHART IN 2016
- The solar eclipse on September 1, 2016, is in a T-square formation with the transiting Mars/Saturn square to Neptune. This T-square creates a Grand Square to the USA Uranus.
The solar eclipse of September 1, 2016, showing the transits in the outer chart and natal planets of the USA in the inner chart. The solar eclipse is in opposition to Neptune in Pisces and square to the Mars/Saturn conjunction in Sagittarius. Each of these transits form a Grand Square to the USA natal Uranus in Gemini (circled). Uranus rules technology, especially the internet and web sites. Also shown here with a dotted line is the transit of Pluto, still within one degree of a square to the USA Saturn.
Let’s review the possibilities of these geocosmic situations, and what it portends as possibilities for the USA in light of what we have discussed in the earlier sections.
PLUTO TRANSITS: POWER TO THE PEOPLE, AND THE THREAT OF TERRORISM AND VIOLENCE
The transit of Pluto (threats to safety) in square to Saturn (defense and government) represents the continued threat of an external attack, as well as an internal effort to undermine the USA government. Not only is the world less safe since Pluto entered Capricorn in 2008, but the USA has been especially vulnerable to hatred and threats of terrorism from those outside the USA. Furthermore, the USA has undergone threats to its own governance from within, whether in the form of Congress threatening to shut down the government because it does not agree with the President’s policies, or the President exercising unilateral actions that may be in violation of his powers as outlined in the Constitution of the United States.
These issues have fundamentally changed how the USA population relates to one another. The population is not unified, but instead it has become extremely polarized. The population has also become increasingly insecure - fearful of a terrorist attack from outside forces, as well as violence, such as large and angry groups protesting against perceived police brutality. These situations threaten personal safety, and are the function of Pluto in Capricorn relative to the USA natal chart. From 2008 through 2016, Pluto transits in opposition to the USA Venus, Jupiter and Sun, while squaring the USA Saturn. As it moves out of that T-square, transiting Pluto will next conjunct the USA natal Moon and Pluto in Capricorn, in opposition to its Mercury, through October 2023.
The threats (Pluto) from within and without may continue for a few more years unless a spirit of unity is achieved through trust in the national government and the agencies of local government, such as police departments. With trust in leaders, the higher manifestation of Pluto in Capricorn can emerge, which is to bring about reform and make systems of governance more responsive to the needs of the people.
SATURN/NEPTUNE SQUARE AND THE THREAT OF CYBER ESPIONAGE
“In one of the biggest cyber-crimes in history, federal prosecutors say, three men stole data on more than 100 million people from a dozen companies’ computers and used a vast global network of accomplices to turn it into hundreds of millions of dollars in illegal profits.”- Nicole Hong, “Massive Cyber Theft Scheme is Alleged,” Wall Street Journal, November 11, 2015.
The Saturn/Neptune square was described earlier as “stealth-like.” It is capable of planting misinformation that harms the reputation of someone who is perceived as an enemy or opponent. It is capable of releasing deadly chemicals into the environment that creates a health epidemic. If that square makes a hard aspect to a nation’s natal Uranus, it is also capable of creating a virus in computer systems of that nation, or stealing sensitive information through hacking into computer systems of that nation’s government, banks, or large corporations.
In 2015, the Saturn/Neptune square made a T-square to the USA natal Uranus. Sensitive USA information contained on its computer systems was hacked (stolen) by foreign interlopers in 2015. There is concern that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s private email server, which may have been used to transmit classified government information, might have been hacked. These, and other possibilities of cyber stealing of sensitive USA government information, remain possible throughout 2016 if extra security measures are not adopted and then vigilantly maintained. The solar eclipse on September 1, 2016, activates the Saturn/Neptune square with the USA natal Uranus, creating a Grand Square that is likely to highlight these themes. The influence of a solar eclipse can be in effect from three months before through nine months after it occurs.
URANUS: TECHNOLOGY MALFUNCTION/JUNCTION AND MEDIA BIAS
“Young journalists tell me I am not allowed to describe how she (Hillary Clinton) is dressed or if she looks tired (no, well-rested) or stressed (no, cool as a cucumber). I tell them if they’re going to be journalists they can’t start out as word cops. Nor should they in their work put politically correct limits on their ability to describe a scene. If you mean to be a craftsman, you cannot start your career as a censor.” – Two Departures and a Grilling,” Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal, October 24-25, 2015.
“Stop buying the nonsense that when one journalist messes up (um, CNBC), it means all journalists are idiots. We are not the Borg. We’re human, which means journalists will make mistakes. But most that I know believe in serving their communities. They strive to be fair. Their work, at its best, is the oil that makes self-government possible.” – Robert Leger, “Journalism, The Oil That Keeps Democracy Running,” Arizona Republic, November 3, 2015.
Uranus rules both technology and the media. As transiting Uranus comes within one degree of making a T-square to the USA Moon/Pluto conjunction in Capricorn, and Mercury in Cancer in 2016 (it will be exact April 24, 2017 through April 2, 2018), the possibility is heightened that there will be significant computer failures in the USA. It could be problems with the government’s computer systems, similar to what happened when the USA government tried to launch its Obamacare website in 2014. It could be a malfunction of computer systems that many depend upon for their everyday needs. It could be a major disruption of the entire World Wide Web itself, that shuts down critical business activities, for Uranus also pertains to the masses of people. It also pertains to air travel, and thus, the computer systems of the airport traffic controllers are vulnerable to malfunctions.
Uranus and Mercury both have an association with the media. Mercury is news and newspapers. Uranus is television and the internet, where many people go to get their news. The Moon in a nation’s chart refers to the people, and their emotional needs and patterns. Together, the Moon/Pluto in opposition to Mercury in the USA chart can indicate an emotional or personal bias in reporting the news, regardless of who is doing the reporting. The person doing the reporting can be conservative or liberal in their emotional make up. However, with Pluto involved in this set up, emotions can run deep and elicit powerful protests of a bias that is harmful and destructive. This complaint about bias in reporting of news has always been a trademark in American journalism.
However, now the transit of Uranus will enter into a three-year T-square with the natal USA Moon/Pluto in opposition to Mercury. Dramatic accusations of media bias may lead to concerted efforts to start censoring the news media. With Uranus, a firestorm can erupt suddenly, causing great disruption and hysteria. With Pluto involved, it can lead to threats to shut down certain voices in the media, trumped up charges designed to arouse the passions and emotions of the populace for or against a media outlet, or even worse – boycotting of an information company (media) and violence.
America will be forced to re-examine the value its places upon a free press, and what – if any – limits this will require to maintain it.
SATURN AND MARS: DIPLOMACY VERSUS THE THREAT OF WAR
“The turmoil in Afghanistan is presenting Obama with a painful choice: to go back on his promise to end the longest war in American history or press ahead with withdrawal over the advice of his top commanders.” – Rebecca Kheel, “Obama’s War Legacy in Balance,” www.thehill.com, October 7, 2015.
“Supporters of Obama's foreign policy applaud what they describe as his cooperation with allies and multilateralism, his ending of the Iraq War… There is a debate on whether Obama's foreign policy is part of a general doctrine, but there is still no consensus on the existence and/or definition of an "Obama doctrine" and its effects on US Foreign policy.” www.wikipedia.org, “Foreign Policy of the Barack Obama Administration.
In 2016 and 2018, Mars will transit through Sagittarius and Capricorn for a much longer time than usual, due to the fact that it will be retrograde in those two signs (as well as Scorpio and Aquarius) then. Mars in Sagittarius and Capricorn coincides with periods when military conflicts tend to escalate throughout the world, but particularly in the Middle East, and often involving threats to Israel. These two years pose an even greater threat of war than usual because Mars will conjoin Saturn then too. In 2016, Mars will conjunct Saturn in Sagittarius; in 2018, it will conjunct Saturn in Capricorn. Mars/Saturn hard aspects also correspond to periods of increased geopolitical tensions and the threat of wars.
The United States is vulnerable to being drawn into these conflicts because transiting Saturn will pass over 19-22º Sagittarius, forming a T-square to the USA Mars/Neptune square at 19 and 22º of Gemini and Virgo. This will take place December 2016 through October 2017. Just as Mars/Saturn transits points to a period when geopolitical tensions increase throughout the world, it is also the case that those nations whose natal Mars are under a hard aspect from transiting Saturn, Uranus, or Pluto are drawn into battle.
Another country that has a Mars/Neptune square in mutable signs, and nearby to the same degrees as the USA Mars/Neptune square in mutable signs, is Iran. When Saturn transits over 19-25º of Sagittarius, it will set off the natal Mars (and Neptune) of each nation’s chart. This portends a particularly challenging period between these two countries, as Saturn/Mars aspects are indicative of great frustration that lead to threats of aggression. It is interesting to note that Vladimir Putin’s natal chart (October 7, 1952, 9:30 AM, St. Petersburg, Russia (source of time, unknown) also finds Mars in this sector, at 26º Sagittarius. This forms a square to Iran’s Mars and an opposition to the USA Mars. That is a lot of Mars in hard aspect to each other, with transiting Saturn hitting it.
Iran officially becomes an Islamic Republic on April 1, 1979. Note the Mars/Neptune square at 20-25º of Sagittarius and Pisces, making a grand square to the USA Mars/Neptune at 19-22º Gemini and Virgo. Transiting Saturn will cross 19-25º Sagittarius from late 2016 through 2017, thus bringing these two nations into a possible global conflict.
The United States, however, has another dynamic going on that may lead it to refrain from engagement in military activity. The secondary progressed chart for the USA shows that Mars – planet of war and a nation’s military – turned retrograde in the peace-loving and diplomatic sign of Libra in 2008. This indicates a major shift in defense policy in the United States, which is likely to last until 2087, when the progressed Mars returns to its direct motion. The United States is withdrawing from its previous role as the world’s sole superpower and international police force. Instead of military involvement as a means to keep world peace and safety from aggressive and hostile acts of other nations, the USA has begun a new era in which it strives to become the leader of world peace through diplomacy. Mars, the aggressor in war, will now transform to the initiator of peace, quite possibly for several decades. In compliance with this major policy transformation, the USA government has begun to cut back its funding of the Department of Defense.
The USA Progressed chart on July 1, 2016. Secondary progressions in the outer wheel, natal positions in the inner wheel. Note progressed Mars is retrograde (circled) and progressed Sun is in Pisces, square the USA natal Uranus, and same degree as solar eclipse in Virgo, in opposition to progressed Sun, on September 1, 2016 (see previous chart of that eclipse).
It is not only the progressed Mars in Libra that indicates this change of direction in the USA. It is also the progressed Sun in Pisces, which began in 2007 and will last through 2037. Like Libra, Pisces is the “other” sign of peace. These geocosmic signatures indicate that America’s role as the strongest military power on the planet may gradually be replaced by a policy of avoiding war and military conflicts, in favor of becoming a leader in calling for peace through diplomacy. This transition may be very difficult at first, and invite more war-like nations to create havoc and unrest on the world stage. It may also leave the USA more vulnerable to an external military attack, especially in late 2016 through 2018. If it can be strong enough to withstand external attacks and internal sabotage, then the USA may enter a very long period of peace, and avoidance of wars.
JUPITER AND THE NORTH NODE: POSITIVE BUSINESS CYCLE
“The revenue picture has brightened over the last year largely from rising corporate profits and incomes… Deficits have fallen largely because of the increased revenues, not declines, in (government) spending.” – Nick Timiroas, “Despite Shrunken Deficit, Worries Persist,” Wall Street Journal, October 19, 2015.
There is good news on the economy in 2016, just as there has been over the past couple of years in the USA. Jupiter is now in Virgo, August 11, 2015 through September 9, 2016. Virgo rules the work force. Jupiter is the principle of expansion. The work force – employment – continues to expand. In addition, worker’s wages are expanding. As 2015 nears its end, there is a strong effort to dramatically increase the minimum wage in the USA to $15/hour.
This positive news regarding jobs may continue even into 2017, if this USA chart is correct, for Jupiter in Libra and Scorpio will fall in the USA’s first and second houses (the second house is the house of money). Thus, this indicates money is coming in to the USA Treasury, probably at record levels, and probably because of tax receipts. This latter point means that more people are paying more taxes, which happens because more people are working. The jobs’ market looks good for now.
Another geocosmic factor that favors an upward economy is the Moon’s Node cycle. As written in last year’s book, and is still relevant:
“An important consideration in the study of geocosmic cycles related to the economy is the 18.6-year cycle of the Moon’s Nodes. The movement of the lunar nodes is backwards, (it retrogrades), through the signs…. Another correlation between the Moon’s North Node and both the Stock Market and general economy has been noted by astrologer Louise McWhirter in her book, McWhirter’s Theory of Stock Market Forecasting (American Federation of Astrologers, 1938, Tempe, AZ). McWhirter observed that the American economy and stock market bottomed when the Moon’s North Node was in Aquarius, and it would peak when it was in or nearby to Leo…. She referred to the North Node’s presence in Aquarius as the lowest point of the economic and stock market cycle, which she termed “Below Normal.” That was the case in March 2009 when the end to the most recent stock market collapse took place. The Moon’s North Node was at 8° Aquarius then (not bad for a study published 70 years earlier). When the Node advanced to Scorpio 4-5 years later, McWhirter designated that as a time when the economy would return to “Normal.” In current time, the Lunar North Node was in Scorpio September 2012-February 2014. By the time it reaches Leo, she observed the economy was “Above Normal.” That will next occur May 2017-November 2018. It then starts a decline to another “Normal” condition when it enters Taurus (December 2021-July 2023). After that, the economy drops sharply for the next 4-5 years, until the North Node enters Aquarius, the bottom of the cycle once more (August 2026-March 2028).
”My own studies on the Lunar North Node, as presented in previous Forecast Books, as well as The Ultimate Book on Stock Market Timing, Volume 2: Geocosmic Correlations to Investment Cycles, correlate closely with McWhirter’s cycle. These studies label the Moon’s North Node period from 15° Aquarius through 15° Scorpio as the bottoming of the economic and housing market. It can bottom anywhere in that time, and most of that period is a bottoming formation. The economy and housing markets then improve - enter an “up” cycle, which peaks between 15° Leo through 15° Taurus. It is not valid everywhere, as geography plays an important role. After the Lunar Node leaves middle Taurus, both the economy and the housing market experience a “shock” and decline when the Lunar Node transits between 15° Taurus and 15° Aquarius, finally reaching a bottom over the next 4-6 years. In this outlook, the current economy and housing market bottomed between December 2007 and June 2013, as the Moon’s North Node transited between mid-Aquarius and mid-Scorpio. Now they will both generally advance until reaching a peak between January 2018 and October 2022.”
Thus, according to McWhirter, the business cycle will continue positive until the North Node of the Moon enters Leo (May 9, 2017-November 6, 2018). This does not mean the stock market will be bullish the entire time. It means that the general economy, the labor market, and the housing market, are likely to hold up - not crash – before the 2016 election.
The last time the Moon’s North Node transited through Leo was September 1998 through April 2000. The USA economy (and stock market) did top out then, and a vicious recession began that lasted through 2002.
The time before that, the Moon’s Node was in Leo February 1980-August 1981. The recession was already underway by that time, as Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto were all passing through the sign of Libra. These three planets will do the same in 2020. In that instance, the economy peaked out a little earlier, in 1978, when the Moon’s Node was in Virgo, just as it is now (October 10, 2015 through May 9, 2017).
Could the economy peak out early, in 2016, and then slide into a recession that lasts through 2020, as it did in 1978 through 1982? It is possible. My view is that employment will continue strong throughout most of 2016. The economy will hold up. However, I think the economy could peak within 6 months of January 2017, and then start to experience the consequences of rising interest rates, inflation, national debt, and higher taxes.