FROM HERE TO THE END OF THE DECADE
(Excerpt from Forecast 2015)
By Raymond Merriman ©
“Refusing to handicap what the Fed should do next, he (Greenspan) did express confidence in Chair Janet Yellen. But Greenspan cautioned, “This is an unprecedented period in monetary history. We've never been through this. We really cannot tell how it will work out."
- CNBC News, Oct 3, 2014, interview with Alan Greenspan
It is nearly over. At least, the “main portion” of it is almost over. And by “it,” I mean the Cardinal Climax of 2008-2015, when Saturn, Uranus, and Pluto all formed hard aspects to one another, mostly from the cardinal signs of Aries, Libra, and Capricorn. Along the way, Jupiter entered this configuration twice, and Mars several times. At one point in the summer of 2010, all five of these planets were involved in a very tight T-square. Four of them joined to make a cardinal grand square in April 2014.
First peak of the Capricorn Climax, summer 2010 (shown here as July 29, 2010).Note that Jupiter and Uranus were conjunct in Aries, in opposition to the Mars/Saturn conjunction in Libra, and all four in a T-square with Pluto in Capricorn. This coincided with QE2, the undoing of the savings (middle) class.
This was no ordinary period in the history of civilization, regardless of how politicians have tried to spin it. In trying to address the increasing fury of public angst all over the world, many leaders have resorted to such sentiments as, “There have always been difficult times and difficult challenges for humanity. This period of time is no different.” But they have no idea. Viewed from a cosmic perspective, these last seven years were indeed a “different time.” Throughout history, there has never been anything quite like the 2008-2015 Cardinal Climax.
The bizarre thing about the politicians, who try to reassure us that these times are not different, is that when they campaigned for office in 2008 (or even afterwards), they promised that things would indeed be different. In fact, presidential candidate Barack Obama ran on the slogan of “Hope and Change” – and won. Politicians the world over ran on the promise that electing them would produce a major transformation, which meant, “This time would be different.” Only, it is – was – not different in the way that they envisioned.
Yet, even the most skeptical social analyst would have to admit that major new policies and behaviors were initiated during the past seven years, both politically and economically. These were truly new. They had never been tried before. They were, in fact, experimental. There was no history to fall back upon as to how these new policies would work out. They were conceptual and academic, with the associated belief that they would work because they should work. In the field of astrology, this was all very “airy,” or “Uranian,” as in air signs, or qualities that we ascribe to Uranus. Air signs represent the intellect, brilliant thoughts and concepts. But they often lack any historical correlation or any practical basis in reality. Uranus also represents brilliant new thoughts and innovations, experiments never tried before that will be considered revolutionary.
Thus, as we look back over these past seven years, we will consider the policies that were enacted as revolutionary in thought (at least in terms of economic and political thought). The last seven years were a time of major new experiments, which were attempted at first as a means to transform social thought regarding the role of central government and then central banking. They were initiated with the idea – the hope – that the world could be rescued from an inevitable global financial meltdown and a second Great Depression. They were initiated with the idea – the hope – that the government could be an efficient and a powerful healing force for an ailing society that was on life support. If only the people would trust their government and their leaders. If only the people would see their government (and its leaders) as an efficient, wise, benevolent, an agent of good that truly has the well-being of its citizens at heart…
The question now is; how difficult will the consequences of the Cardinal Climax, not yet experienced, be? Exactly what are those consequences yet to be realized, and how will humanity meet the challenge? At this point, I do not know. No one knows, for many of these are acts and decisions for which there is no historical reference to compare with, as Alan Greenspan pointed out in the quote at the start of this section. There may be several “unintended” and unknown consequences. Our understanding of astrology, however, can provide valuable insight.
THE LAST PHASE OF THE SATURN-PLUTO CYCLE
In the study of astrology, planetary pair cycles are often divided into eighths, or 8 phases. Dane Rudhyar popularized this technique in his book, “The Lunation Cycle.”1 He divided the phases of the Moon into these 8 phases, consisting of 45° each, and ascribed personality characteristics of individuals based upon the lunar phase that was present at one’s time of birth. The first phase, for example, is known as the new Moon type. Since a lunar cycle lasts about 4 weeks, this individual was born between the new Moon and the following 3-3/4 days, or within the first 1/8 of the new lunar cycle. This was the start of the cycle, and hence represents the urge to initiate new actions.
Likewise, the last 1/8 phase would consist of the last 3-3/4 days prior to the next new Moon. This is known as the Balsamic, or dark, phase of the Moon. This represents the end of the cycle, a time when matters have to be let go as one prepares (or is being prepared) for a new path in life. It is also a time of accountability, when one has to confront the consequences of actions and decisions initiated during the first 7/8 of the cycle. Although one is “born” under a certain lunation cycle and it indicates certain personality characteristics, one also undergoes all 8 phases of the lunation cycle in a sequential order approximately every 28-29 years.
In a similar fashion, all planets have the same 8 phases in their cycles with one another, just as the Sun and Moon do in the lunation cycle. That is, every conjunction between two planets is like a new Moon, which is a conjunction between the Sun and Moon. The first 45° following the conjunction of any planetary pair cycle is its “new” phase, the first 1/8 phase of the new planetary pair cycle. The last 45° before the next conjunction of those same two planets is known as the “Balsamic,” or “dark” phase of that planetary pair. Saturn and Pluto are entering the Balsamic phase of their cycle on November 27, 2014, and it will last until their conjunction on January 12, 2020.
The Saturn-Pluto cycle is a well-documented correlation to the world economic cycles, especially in Western, capitalistic societies. It has been cited and discussed at length in many of these Forecast Books over the years, especially since 2006.
The Saturn-Pluto planetary pair cycle lasts 32-37 years. It has an orb due to Pluto’s elliptical orbit, whereas Saturn (like other planets) has more of a circular orbit around the Sun. The current Saturn-Pluto cycle began when they conjoined one another on November 8, 1982. You may recollect that was near the time of the start of the great bull market in world equities, with many indices soaring to new all-time highs within the first 1/8 of this phase. You may also remember that the 4-5 years preceding this (the Balsamic phase of the former Saturn-Pluto cycle) was a very difficult economic and political time for much of the world. You can see the same type of challenges and growth periods just before and after the Saturn-Pluto conjunctions, October 4, 1914-May 19, 1915 (think creation of the Federal Reserve Bank and the start of the Income Tax in the USA), and August 11, 1947 (think end of World War II and the start of a long era of prosperity and world trade).
Generally speaking, the Saturn-Pluto cycle goes like this. From the conjunction to the opposition (16-20 years) is a time when economies prosper. National debts go down, and deficit spending recedes. Governments can even enter a period of budget surpluses. As a result, interest rates go down (due to less borrowing needs), unemployment goes down and payrolls go up, taxes go down, stock markets rise, and the public mood is generally happier. This is the time to invest one’s capital.
At the opposition, all that begins to change. Governments start increasing spending, federal deficits and national debt goes up. Treasuries need to borrow more money, which usually puts pressure on interest rates to rise, and laws are created to increase taxes. This usually results in greater unemployment as companies lay off workers they can no longer afford. Stock markets usually decline. This is the time to conserve (protect) one’s capital, and avoid investments, for people and companies are not always able to repay. More businesses and individuals go bankrupt.
In the current Saturn-Pluto cycle, the first phase went as expected. From 1982-2001, the economies of the world mostly prospered. Debt and spending went down and governments, in several cases, achieved a budget surplus. It was a good time to invest, and stock markets around the world soared. But that came to a halt in 2001, when the second half of the cycle commenced. Government spending suddenly resumed and in fact got out of control. From budget surpluses, many nations (like the United States) went on a torrid record deficit spending spree. World debt exploded. Unemployment spiked up sharply. Normally this would lead to higher taxes and higher borrowing costs (higher interest rates), and falling stock markets. Although stock markets did fall sharply, the central banks of the world did not let interest rates go up - except in those countries that actually went into – or came close to going into - bankruptcy, like Greece. Central banks applied innovative policies never tried before (they engineered
short-term interest rates close to zero and started printing money and buying up their nation’s new issuance treasuries at very low rates). This of course forced savers to abandon their savings habit, and move into the more speculative realm of stocks. This in turn caused stock markets to rise around the world, even as Saturn and Pluto were in the downward part of their cycle, when historically interest rates rise and stocks fall.
As this is being written, it appears that these policies of the central banks have worked. The recovery from the 2008-2009 financial meltdown (which did take place in the waning phase of the Saturn-Pluto cycle) has not been great. In fact, it is the weakest recovery following such an economic decline in modern history. But, it has been a recovery nonetheless.
The only problem is that the Saturn-Pluto cycle is not over. The waning (downward) phase of this cycle, from opposition to conjunction, continues into January 2020. Not only that, but starting November 27, 2014, Saturn and Pluto enter the Balsamic (dark) phase of their cycle, a time when the consequences of the past 7/8 of the cycle are usually experienced.
Many analysts have written about the “unintended” consequences of central bank policies since 2008. Former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan has stated in late 2014, “This is an unprecedented period in monetary history. We've never been through this. We really cannot tell how it will work out." Mundane and Financial Astrology suggests we are about to find out, for the Balsamic phase of any planetary-pair cycle is considered the most consequential, perhaps along with the full Moon phase.
Saturn and Pluto entering the balsamic phase of their cycle from November 2014 through January 2020 may be a time when the incubation period of Pluto starts manifesting. The consequences of banking and economic policies/decisions made since 2008 (and even as far back as 1982) are about to be realized. It could mean that all of those historical correspondences of the waning phase of the Saturn-Pluto cycle are about to be heaped upon the world again. The main body of the Cardinal Climax may be over. However, the consequences of some of those decisions, especially in the economic and banking realms, are readying to be addressed. If so, interest rates could rise suddenly and the issues of debt and government deficits may not be over. That’s the bad news. The good news is that if addressed wisely (i.e. with a long-term approach of what is really the best way to handle this, rather than “kicking the can down the road again”), the renaissance will likely resume with gusto shortly after (or even during) the Saturn-Pluto conjunction of 2020.
THE MERCURY CONNECTION
“Recent government interventions suggest that politicians and bureaucrats today think they can design just about anything. This ignorance has backfired, as it always does, bringing with it what economists call ‘unintended consequences.’… It was the book’s central lesson that hubris makes us not only poorer but also less free.”
- Donald J.Boudreaux and Todd J. Zywicki, “A Nobel Economist’s Caution About Government,” Wall Street Journal, October 13, 2014, reviewing the work of Friedrich Hayek.
Recently, I began to observe - and hopefully to understand - something potentially very significant about the cycles of Mercury retrograde (by sign elements) and the Sun (by element). If my understanding of this cycle is correct, it would seem that humankind is moving into a much more positive or constructive period.
Mercury retrograde periods are quite common. They occur about every 4 months. What I observed recently – and what appears to be significant – is that Mercury’s retrograde periods occur in the same element sign approximately every seven years. In some cases, Mercury will begin and end its retrograde motion in the same sign. In other cases, it will begin its retrograde motion in one sign (and element), and end in the sign that precedes it.
The Sun will also be in the same sign (and hence element) where Mercury turned retrograde, or in some instances, it will occur in the sign preceding it. For example, Mercury will make its first retrograde motion of 2015 on January 21. The Sun will have just entered the air sign of Aquarius the day before. Mercury will be at 17° Aquarius at the time. Mercury then turns direct (ends its retrograde motion) on February 11 at 1° Aquarius. The Sun is at 22° Aquarius at the time. In other words, the Sun and Mercury are each in Aquarius, an air sign, at the start and conclusion of the first Mercury retrograde period in 2015. It is the two Mercury periods I am interested in, plus the element sign of the Sun at the time of Mercury retrograde. In this case, the Mercury retrograde period of January 21, 2015 would be referred to as air-air-air, where the first two elements mentioned pertain to signs containing Mercury retrograde and direct, and the third air refers to the sign position of the Sun on the day Mercury turned retrograde.
The last time there was an air-air-air trio involving this set up of Mercury retrograde and the Sun was in 2008. In fact, it happened three times in 2008: January 28-February 18, May 26-June 19, September 24-October 19. You might remember what happened in 2008 in regards to the world economy. The time before that was in 2001, when it occurred twice: June 3-27 and October 1-22. You might remember what happened in 2001 in regards to the world economy, as the dot com bubble burst in May of that year, followed by the attack on the World Trade Center in September 2001. It was a time of hysteria in financial markets and politics. This trio was also present in late 1929 and 1930 too. It is approximately a 7-year cycle.
The sequence of Mercury retrograde through the elements of the signs goes backwards to the normal rotation. That is, it goes from fire to water, to air, and then to earth. Along the way, it will change signs from the retrograde to the direct. For example, it may exhibit a fire-fire combination (Mercury retrograde, Mercury direct) in one instance, and then the next retrograde passage it will start in a fire sign and turn direct in a water sign. Thus, the sequence goes from fire-fire to fire-water, water-water, water-air, air-air, air-earth, earth-earth, earth-fire, and back to fire-fire. To that we add the element sign of the Sun at the time of mercury turning retrograde, to get a trio of elements. The entire cycle lasts about 7 years.
Our interest is in the current combination of elements. In 2014, the Mercury retrograde-direct element signs were water-air, with the Sun in air. The combination of water and air is very changeable. It combines the intellect of air and the emotions of water. This is very fluid and matters can change quickly. On the one hand, mass consciousness is often very certain about how things will unfold. One of the qualities of air signs is that they believe they are right. Things will work out as they think because they should work out that way. There is an aspect of mental arrogance often at work when air signs are dominant. It is sort of like the Marx brothers saying, “Who are you going to believe? Your own eyes or my words?” The danger is compounded by the presence of the water element, which rules the emotions. Thus, when things don’t work out as projected, there is difficulty changing the course because they are emotionally attached to their prior decisions. They find it hard to admit that they were wrong, and that matters are not unfolding as they thought they should. Qualities of denial are often exhibited here, which can quickly change to panic. Rather than look back and see how things have worked out in the past under similar circumstances, the air sign qualities begin to take over, especially as the progression moves from water-air to air-air, as will be the case in January-February 2015. And that is when the problems often escalate.
What is it about the heavy emphasis of Mercury in an air sign, combined with the Sun in an air sign at the time Mercury goes retrograde, that would suggest so many times of panic and hysteria? In the study of astrology, the element of air and the planet Mercury share many common dynamics. They both relate to the conceptual and theoretical. In fact, Mercury has rulership over an air sign – Gemini. An emphasis of air and Mercury is therefore considered to be very smart, even brilliant. Ideas flow in abundance and with ease. In such a climate, there may be a lack of an ability or interest in seeing what has worked in the past. The attitude is that these “new” ideas will work because they should work. It is all very academic and intellectual, and who is going to argue with… smart people? The ideas are new, fresh, and original and by gosh, let’s apply them even if we don’t have any reference as to how they have worked out in the past. Let’s experiment with new “out of the box” ideas.
This is what happened in 2007 and 2008, when Mercury went from water-air to air-air. It also happened in 2000 and 2001, and approximately every seven years earlier, even back to 1928-1929. Everything looked good, and then suddenly it wasn’t working and new, innovative ideas were applied to “fix the problem.” Except the fixes didn’t work. They made the problems worse in many cases, exacerbated by the fact that people refused to believe that these new ideas weren’t working.
Fortunately, the cosmos eventually begins to take care of any errors in judgment. A correction process begins when the Mercury retrogrades – and Sun at the time of the retrograde – start unfolding in earth signs. The ideas change to ones that are more practical. These new ideas take on a longer-term approach. They don’t solve the crisis at first, and in many cases, the crisis actually gets worse (consequences of former unwise decisions). But eventually, the more mature and better-thought-out plans based on common sense (the qualities of earth) begin to work.
When you combine the principles of Mercury retrograde in air, with the Sun at the same time in earth, or Mercury direct in earth, you get a potentially very productive and progressive thrust into collective consciousness. This combination highlights brilliant ideas (air) combined with practicality and common sense (earth). The brilliant ideas of air can be put into a workable plan via earth. Furthermore, earth is patient and accountable. It understands that miracles do not happen overnight, and is therefore willing to develop a long-term plan - as long as it has a high probability of working out, which references to history will usually demonstrate.
This is why I am optimistic about the future. It may take 3-9 years to clearly see the results, and there may be more difficult consequences to experience first. However, it will be possible to get the foundation right with careful planning and a mature outlook. Humankind (actually, the cosmos) is moving from air-air-air to a combination of air and earth after the Mercury retrograde passage of January-February 2015. The final passage of the Uranus-Pluto waxing square will be completed on March 16-17, 2015. The element of earth (Sun sign) will be with air starting in May 2015, and it will last into 2017. This time suggests a more mature approach on how to incorporate intelligent and innovative ideas for solving current problems. As mentioned, it may take a while to manifest, and its success will depend upon leaders willing to be patient and adopt a long-term view towards the future, and not one designed solely to win elections in the next voting cycle.
For more information on Raymond Merriman or the Forecast 2015 Book, please go to www.mmacycles.com.
1. Rudhyar, Dane The Lunation Cycle. A Key to the Understanding of Personality The Hague, Netherlands: Servire. Distributed in the United States by Llewellyn Publication, 1967.