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Week Beginning November 2, 2009

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Raymond Merriman  World equity markets made a complete about face as the Sun left Libra last week, and started its month-long trek through Scorpio this week. They sold off, and even the benevolent Venus trine Jupiter Wednesday night could only lift the market up strongly for the one day that followed. Even that was on the back of the positive GDP numbers in the United States, the first in several quarters, which signals the end to this recession that started in December 2007. By Friday, stocks market shrugged off those favorable GDP numbers and Venus-Jupiter love fest of Thursday, as many fell to their lowest level in three weeks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, for instance, was up 200 points on Thursday, but down 250 on Friday, closing nearly 300 points below 10,000. Weren’t they just celebrating 10,000 as finally having been conquered again on the TV market stations? This is not a good sign.

In tandem with stocks, precious metals and foreign currencies also fell against the US Dollar. So did Crude Oil. None of these markets made new highs last week, after doing so the week or two before. In fact, they all sold off to multi-week lows by the end of the week. As suggested before, we are in Scorpio now, and the focus is all about debt. It’s hard to be optimistic about the future when you have to think about the heavy load of debt still present today.

Short-Term Geocosmics

The Sun’s month long ingress into Scorpio wasn’t the only geocosmic factor of importance last week. Saturn also moved into Libra on Thursday, October 29, where it will remain until April 7, when it retrogrades back into Virgo for a little more than three months. Saturn is exalted in Libra, and both Saturn and Libra pertain to issues of fairness and justice. In classical astrology, Saturn in Libra is a strong and potentially positive position. It inclines one to measure all sides of an issue, and to make a choice that is well-considered and wise. It favors leaders who are calm, mature, and take their time to come to a decision that is just. But Libra is also a cardinal sign, and cardinal signs rule action. In fact, four of the five furthest-out planets in our solar system (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Pluto, not to mention the Moon’s North Node), will all be in the early degrees of cardinal signs sometime in 2010, having recently left the “thinking” mutable signs. What does this mean? Well, I think it means that the USA president will move from a stage wherein he takes a lot of time to consider all things (well, many things), and will soon move into a phase of great action, for better or worse, depending on your point of view. He won’t be “dithering” much longer, as suggested by his critic and former Vice-President Dick Cheney. But he may not act in a manner that pleases his far left supporters either, for Saturn in Libra is about as “centrist” a position as can be imagined in Mundane Astrology. It is, after all, the halfway point through the zodiac. Saturn here is apt to be more pragmatic, and less ideological. But with Pluto in Capricorn being squared by this Saturn in Libra, it is also very political and savvy. I think the next few months will witness a remarkable transformation in the leadership style of Barack Obama, one from contemplation (or “dithering”) to action, one from a very liberal ideologue to a surprisingly more centrist leader who wants to move things forward with more broad-based support. In the process, he may lose some of his current supporters, and they won’t go out gently.

But back to short-term geocosmics. The translation of Venus in trine to the Jupiter-Neptune conjunction, October 28-November 2, did not produce a top as suggested. In fact, the markets are selling off into this translation zone, which is not a good omen for the future. But the translation ends with Monday’s full moon, followed by Neptune’s station from retrograde to direct motion on Wednesday. That could produce a reversal – unless the strong presence of Neptune correlates with hysteria and panic. If it does, the markets could be in trouble all the way into the first passage of the Saturn-Pluto waning square, which takes place November 15. Since Neptune is one of the co-rulers of crude oil, this may be a market to watch closely this week too for clues. Neptune also rules rains and floods, and this is one of the problems for farmers trying to harvest their crops late in the season. They can’t get the machinery out in the fields, and there is danger of losing much of this year’s crop, which would be consistent with Saturn square Pluto.

Longer-Term Thoughts

Last week’s column discussed the insider trading and market manipulation themes of transiting Neptune over the NYSE chart. In that column, we stated, “It is no coincidence, according to the principles of Financial Astrology, that the biggest insider trading scandal in decades was alleged last week against hedge fund giant Galleon Group. What may be more surprising is that this maybe just the tip of an iceberg, for usually under such transits, the revelations are not exposed until 1-2 years afterwards.”

Indeed that seems to be the case, as the front page of Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal headlined “Ex-Chief of AMD is linked to Galleon.” The article states, “A criminal case… alleged an unnamed Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. executive shared confidential information about the chip maker with a defendant in the case. The AMD executive is Hector Ruiz, then AMD’s chairman and previously the company’s chief executive.” This probe is starting to widen. With Saturn coming up to its first of three waning square aspects in mid-November, there may be more high ranking leaders of the business community pulled out and pulled down.

But this is just part of an even bigger problem related with Pluto in Capricorn, 2008-2024. Pluto rules debt, but debt is really nothing more than money in today’s world. You can’t have one without the other, but the hope is that they are somewhat balanced. Pluto also rules “deals behind the scene.” They are “behind the scene” for a reason. Those involved don’t want others to know what they are doing. Thus Pluto relates to the element of “secrecy.” In the mundane world, Pluto rules banks, investment houses, and taxing agencies of the government (i.e. IRS). Basically it represents those institutions that deal in OPM – Other People’s Monies. Thus again we have debt issues, which pertains to Pluto.

Capricorn and its ruler Saturn, on the other hand, pertain to the Government, as well as big business in general. So what can happen when Pluto is in Capricorn, and squared by Saturn? Well you can create instances where the line between government, banks, and big business becomes very unclear. They can be all connected, rather than separate, and “deals behind the scene” can take place by representatives in each of these areas. We see this today, for instance, as the USA Government now has taken a controlling stake in banks, insurance companies, and automobile companies, with health insurance companies possibly next on the docket. The USA government has also appointed a pay czar to set compensation schedules for executives of these firms who are now partly owned by the government, but really owned by the taxpayers of this country. The problem is that these cases (and these positions) become potential conflicts of interest, as the temptation to corruption – ala bribery, or payment for financial favors – increases immensely. There is a reason why there is separation of church and government, and the same should possibly be true with business and banking with the government. But today, for instance, a case can be made that the USA Central Bank – the Federal Reserve Board – has now become the fourth branch of government, as suggested by David Wessel in the sub-title of his excellent book “In FED We Trust” (2009, Crown Publishing Group). Another example of the blurring of lines this creates is in the form of campaign contributions, or lobbying efforts, by large banks and corporations with elected government representatives. Literally, votes and/or political influence can be bought, and that is something Pluto in Capricorn won’t tolerate for long.

With Pluto in Capricorn, there is bound to be an increasingly intense demand for honesty and integrity by all of these parties, and a demand for a more formal separation of influence of government leaders from big business and banks. As Pluto moves further and further into Capricorn, first squaring Saturn for the next 9 months, and then in square to Uranus 2012-2015, this issue is apt to become the basis for many more exposures of corruption. What will be surprising is how far up the corporate ladder, and how deep into the U.S. Government, this conflict of interest goes. Heads will roll, because when Uranus squares Pluto, it will fall in an exact T-square with the USA’s own Sun square Saturn, at 11-14 degrees of Cancer and Libra respectively. However, that’s about 4 years away. In the meantime, it’s like a tidal wave that is just beginning. Once again, the only way to survive in business, banking, or government, is to be totally honest – and maybe a little lucky. Pluto in Capricorn is not a good time to be dishonest or corrupt. Everything comes out, and no one gets away with anything in the end.

© Raymond A. Merriman


Disclaimer and statement of purpose: The purpose of this column is not to predict the future movement of various financial markets. However, that is the purpose of the MMA (Merriman Market Analyst) subscription services. This column is not a subscription service. It is a free service, except in those cases where a fee may be assessed to cover the cost of translating this column from English into a non-English language. This weekly report is written with the intent to educate the reader on the relationship between astrological factors and collective human activities as they are happening. In this regard, this report will oftentimes report what happened in various stock and financial markets throughout the world in the past week, and discuss that movement in light of the geocosmic signatures that were in effect. It will then identify the geocosmic factors that will be in effect in the next week, or even month, or even years, and the author’s understanding of how these signatures will likely affect human activity in the times to come. The author (Merriman) will do this from a perspective of a cycle’s analyst looking at the military, political, economic, and even financial markets of the world. It is possible that some forecasts will be made based on these factors. However, the primary goal is to both educate and alert the reader as to the psychological climate we are in, from an astrological perspective. The hope is that it will help the reader understand these psychological dynamics that underlie (or coincide with) the news events and hence financial markets of the day.

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