Published by WallStreetWeather.net
Mars is action. Without Mars we would lack the drive and desire to accomplish anything. Every two years when Mars appears from Earth’s vantage point to slow down its speed and reverse course for nearly three months can be frustrating. Mars is accustomed to acting fast. Mars retrograde January 23 to April 13 is a time to RE-ACT: reviewing and rectifying past actions rather than moving ahead with completely new initiatives. Mars retrograde re-directs our attention and energy to where action is needed but has been avoided or overlooked.
Since Mars retrograde brings our attention back to what occurred in the past, this post examines the current Mars retrograde cycle and its connection to the Mars retrograde in Virgo cycles of 1965 and 1933 within the context of two major long term planetary cycles.
The sign Mars is in describes how and where Mars expresses its energy. Mars in Virgo (November 10, 2011 – July 3, 2012) acts efficiently and with precision. We see where we have gotten bogged down in too many details and/or where we have failed to slow down and read the fine print. (This will be especially evident March 12 – April 4 when Mercury the planet of communication and movement which rules Virgo is retrograde.)
As part of the earth element, Virgo represents the material resources needed to serve our essential everyday needs.(1) On both an individual and global level, Mars retrograde in Virgo is the time to clean up what is unhealthy. Health/diet/hygiene, employment, the military, and schedules/daily routines are primary areas of focus while Mars transits Virgo.
The Federal Reserve’s policy of virtually zero interest rates for an extended period of time has pushed investors into stocks in search of yield at a time when many companies are using their excess cash to repurchase their outstanding shares. Mars is hot and its harmonious alignment with the Sun prior to turning retrograde supports the market’s “melt up” that nothing but sunshine lies ahead.(2)
Mars retrograde slows down the amount of trading. As Mars moves backwards, it reinforces its harmonious alignment to Jupiter in Taurus and Pluto in Capricorn that became energized when Mars entered Virgo in November and concludes in mid-March when the three planets form a “grand Earth trine.” These energies indicate expanding revenues and businesses taking advantage of tax incentives for equipment purchases. Employment increases as many companies restart hiring. As Main Street continues to improve, Wall Street could face some unexpected shocks as the current climate of low volatility reflects a lack of challenging planetary alignments which changes as spring and summer approach.
CYCLES REPEAT THEMSELVES
Mars was last retrograde December 20, 2009 – March 10, 2010 in Leo. Mars is retrograde in Virgo about every 15 years, the last time being in 1997 after Mars stationed retrograde in Libra and backtracked into Virgo. The last two times Mars spent the entire time retrograde in Virgo as it does now was during January 28 – April 19, 1965 and January 20 – April 11, 1933.
Treasury yields were ultra low in the early 1930s as investors were more concerned about return of principal than a return on principal. People didn’t trust the health of the banks which sparked a series of bank runs in early 1933 before the government shut down the entire U.S. banking system for a weeklong “bank holiday” that began March 5 to stop the contagion from spreading. When banks reopened March 13, lines had formed outside banks as people waited to redeposit their cash. Stocks rose 15.34% (the Dow’s biggest one day percentage gain ever), when the NYSE reopened March 15. FDR’s first fireside chat the evening before the banks reopened assured the public the government would only allow sound banks to reopen backed by the Fed’s commitment to supply unlimited currency to the reopened banks.(3)
Cycles repeat themselves with similar themes but with a different variation as it would take nearly 26,000 years for all the planets to be in the same exact same positions and same point in their cycle as they were in 1933. The Emergency Banking Act passed by Congress on March 9, 1933 was the precursor to the creation of the FDIC. The Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 permanently raised bank deposit insurance to $250,000 which substantially diminishes the odds of reprising the bank runs of 2008. Many of the provisions in Dodd-Frank (which was signed by President Obama the last time Mars was in Virgo), get activated during Mars retrograde as Mars stations retrograde conjoining Dodd-Frank’s natal Mars. These provisions will help to expand consumer protections and curb some of Wall Street’s most abusive practices by beginning to shed some much needed transparency in derivatives trading. (4)
Mars rules Aries, the first sign of the zodiac. Aries initiates action. Planets in Aries take on the fiery and assertive nature of Mars whose impulsive nature is compelled to initiate action and boldly break new ground.
Uranus the planetary energy of shocks, upheaval, and revolutionary change was in Aries during 1927-35 and is back in Aries for the first time since then. Planets squaring each other carry a Mars-like energy as their uncomfortable friction necessitates action. Uranus in Aries exactly squared Pluto in Cancer on March 8, 1933 in one of five alignments during the early 1930s that resulted in bold new reforms to help create economic security for the public after the roaring ‘20s bubble burst. Once again, Uranus in Aries is squaring Pluto but this time Pluto is in Cancer’s opposite sign Capricorn. Although their series of seven exact alignments during the next three years won’t begin until June 24, their influence is experienced well beforehand. Dodd-Frank was signed into law when their alignment was close.(5)
The commonality between the Uranus/Pluto squares of 1932-34 and the current cycle that began when Uranus and Pluto conjoined in Virgo during 1965-66 is that reforms were enacted in the U.S. that expanded the nation’s social safety net, consumer protections, and civil rights. Both Uranus/Pluto cycles were led by a Democrat in the White House: FDR had just been inaugurated and LBJ had just been elected (one could almost say re-elected since he had been sworn in as president after JFK was assassinated).
Unlike the last Uranus/Pluto alignment in the 1930s which marked the final phase of the cycle that began when Uranus and Pluto conjoined in Aries in 1851 that ushered in the new industrial revolution, we are in the “crisis in action” (growing pains phase) of a new technological revolution that began with the birth of the information age during the Uranus/Pluto conjunction in the mid-1960s.
The corporations, plutocrats, and the politicians they support are going to extremes in their desperation to keep their brand of crony capitalism alive where government exists to do their bidding. They proclaim their love of individual freedoms and rights, yet seek to reduce or outright repeal voting rights, worker rights, healthcare rights, women’s reproductive rights, and environmental/safety protections.
The origins of all of these benefits and civil rights emanate from the prior two Uranus/Pluto cycles. The minimum wage law, public works projects, Social Security, and Medicare and Medicaid were among the major achievements from the prior two cycles that helped grow the middle class. The great irony here is that the more the 99 percent’s income contracts and the social safety net gets eroded, the more the 1 percent will suffer as fewer consumers will be able to purchase the products and services their companies produce!
These extremely toxic conditions are a public wakeup call for action to transform economic and societal structures. As desperate as the status quo is using fear and divisiveness as they fight to hold on to the past, Uranus in Aries square Pluto in Capricorn represents the breakdown and death of outmoded economic and societal structures so they can be transformed into the creation of a new and sustainable foundation.
2012 HEALTHCARE ISSUES EMANATE FROM 1965
Virgo is about being of service which is why Virgo rules work and health. Taking care of ourselves and serving others through our work requires being in good health. And no matter how well we take care of our health, everyone requires medical care at one point or another in their life. While a majority of workers receive health insurance coverage through their employer, a growing minority of individuals do not. And unlike employees who are protected from rejection for employer-based insurance by federal law, individuals have no such protection. (This is why the majority of individuals who apply for health insurance are rejected.)
When it is fully implemented in 2014, The Affordable Care Act (ACA) which President Obama signed into law March 23, 2010 will provide health care for almost all Americans along with many consumer benefits and protections. Health care coverage for all had been advocated for decades but was bitterly opposed by the AMA and corporate America. A compromise was signed into law by President Johnson on July 30, 1965 to provide coverage for senior citizens (Medicare) and the poor (Medicaid).
Even though “Obamacare” is a virtual carbon copy of “Romneycare” in Massachusetts which is an amalgamation of long-cherished Republican principles as it operates within the structure of the “private free market health insurance system,” Republicans have sought to destroy it from the moment the President proposed it.
Mars retrograde in Virgo describes the fight waged by the Republicans through the courts to overturn the healthcare law. On March 26-28 with Mars and Mercury retrograde, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on the ACA with a ruling anticipated sometime in June. Republicans counting on the conservative majority on the Supreme Court to overturn the law could be in for a surprise because the conservative side of the Court tends to be more constitutionally conservative than ideologically conservative.
This will not be the first time the Supreme Court hears arguments in the battle over expanding access to healthcare while Mars is retrograde in Virgo.
Virgo is portrayed as a virgin holding a shaft of wheat. This symbolizes a woman (but applies to either gender as we all have feminine and masculine qualities and all have Virgo representing a certain sector of life in our chart). Beyond its traditional definition, virgin also means someone wholly unto oneself as Virgo represents self-containment and wholeness emanating from being in control of their body/mind. It is about a woman having control to choose whether or not she becomes pregnant.
Contraceptives are part of the preventive care coverage in the ACA. Just as Mars in Virgo was about to station retrograde, the Obama Administration announced its initial implementation rules for preventative care related to contraceptives.
True to what often happens when new rules are proposed as a planet turns retrograde, on February 10 President Obama announced the Administration had revised its ruling as the Sun (the President) made a challenging alignment to Mars and the Moon (women) was in Virgo. The revision initially satisfied religious institutional objections, however; when taunted by the Republicans these same religious institutions suddenly renewed their fight against the Administration.
On March 29, 1965 the Supreme Court argued Griswold v. Connecticut as the state tried to enforce an 1879 law banning the use of contraceptives. Mercury stationed retrograde in Aries that day and Jupiter (the Court) was in Taurus then as it is now. In a 7-2 vote decided on June 7, 1965, the majority upheld the use of contraceptives as the Court viewed it as a right of marital privacy. While that was the Court’s legal ruling, when viewed from a broader perspective it serves as another example of the Mars in Virgo retrograde cycle’s correlation to expanding rather than rescinding or restricting healthcare freedoms. With similar influences to the day of the Griswold decision, the Supreme Court could announce their decision on the ACA at the time of the June 11 Last Quarter Moon in Pisces.
A FRESH START TO RESOLVE UNFINISHED ACTIONS
Each month when the Sun and Moon conjoin at the New Moon represents a new beginning. Mars stationed retrograde the day of the January 23 New Moon, reinforcing the energies of Mars retrograde as the time to initiate new action to address existing or past issues. The New Moon in Uranus-ruled Aquarius favorably aspected Uranus in Aries, reinforcing the theme that solutions can be found by using the retrograde period as an opportunity to take a completely new and bold approach. Virgo’s planetary ruler Mercury in a harmonious alignment as Mars stationed retrograde facilitates translating thoughts and ideas into action.
Military matters are front and center during Mars retrograde since Mars rules the military and Virgo rules the armed services. Past tensions with old enemies resurface, yet Mars retrograde is usually not favorable for the aggressor initiating action.
Mars turned retrograde conjoining the USA’s natal Neptune in Virgo which squares the USA’s natal Mars in Gemini. Mars in Gemini in the sector of open enemies squaring Neptune in Virgo in the sector of foreign affairs in the USA chart describes a nation that is overly aggressive in preaching its morals and ideological beliefs abroad. The USA is prone to go to war without clearly defined objectives (Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan). Wars tend to be waged over matters ruled by Neptune (oil, drugs, communism). Mars rules weapons, and the USA Mars/Neptune square reflects a nation where gun ownership has become a religion.
President Obama was born with Mars in Virgo which exactly conjoins the USA’s natal Neptune. His job is to take action that facilitates job creation and cut through the USA’s ideological illusions to help the nation live up to its true ideals. The President’s most significant actions so far (working to create a smaller and more efficient military equipped to meet the threats of today and tomorrow; reforming healthcare, the financial system, revitalizing the auto industry and U.S. manufacturing) are all matters ruled by Mars andVirgo. President Obama’s Mars harmoniously aspects his natal Saturn in Capricorn, an indication that his actions to overhaul existing structures fosterss long term sustainability that is “built to last.” Mars stationed retrograde conjoining his natal Mars (his Mars return); President Obama’s “insourcing” is sowing the seeds of America’s manufacturing renaissance.
Mars retrograde in Mercury-ruled Virgo is about rethinking the use of aggressive force as the solution to solving disputes. On an individual and national level this is something to really contemplate, especially between March 12-23 when Mercury is retrograde in Mars-ruled Aries and from April 16-May 8 when Mercury is in Aries and both Mercury and Mars are moving forward again.
Of course nowhere is this rethinking and redeployment of military resources for greater efficiency and cost savings more necessary than in the USA whose military budget far exceeds any other nations and overshadows all other domestic discretionary spending.
Mercury the messenger rules the signs Gemini and Virgo. The fact that Mars stationed retrograde at 23 degrees Virgo, Mercury will station direct at 23 degrees Pisces (Virgo’s opposite sign) April 4, and Venus (money; banking; diplomacy; peace) will station retrograde May 15 at 23 degrees Gemini, indicates these planets are communicating a unified message.
The old ways of waging war are ending, not only through obsolescence but being in an age where everything has become so interconnected (Pisces) the boundaries have become blurred. Venus in Gemini aptly represents the age old adage “money talks.” Curtailing your enemy’s aggressive actions by choking off their ability to conduct financial transactions sends a far cheaper and more powerful message than invasion and “nation building.”
These planetary stations impacting the USA Mars/Neptune and President Obama’s Mars indicates the USA is at the forefront of a new way to counter global aggression that would better live up to the President being a past recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Venus in Gemini personifies SWIFT, the financial communication system used to process the world’s financial transactions. If Iran is cut off from SWIFT, it can no longer receive or make payments for public and private business transactions. Coupled with restrictions on Iran’s central bank and the world’s largest tanker fleets refusing to transport Iran’s oil (Mercury in Pisces), Iran’s regime will be pushed to comply with the USA’s demands or suffer an economic apocalypse in 2012. (More on Iran further below.)
Beyond military and foreign conflicts, challenging transits to the USA’s natal Mars and Neptune in the past have also precipitated financial turmoil as Mars rapidly spreads Neptune’s contagion even faster in our increasingly interconnected world.(5) The most notable example being when Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy on the September 15, 2008 Pisces Full Moon which harkened back to an earlier financial panic.
GREECE COULD DEFAULT
The Eurozone sovereign debt crisis has been one of the market’s primary concerns since the last Mars retrograde cycle. European bank regulators gave sovereign debt held by banks a zero risk weighting toward meeting their capital requirements without distinguishing the difference between Greek and German debt, so naturally banks backed up the truck for the debt paying the highest yield. The exposure of large U.S. banks to credit insurance related to Greek debt has not been transparent. The banks have publicly stated their net exposure, but not their counterparties and the subsequent risk of counterparty failure to perform. Counterparty risk is a chain reaction as each counterparty has its own counterparty risk and a bank’s ultimate risk may be with a counterparty substantially down the chain.
Jupiter was in Venus-ruled Taurus (money; banking) just as it is now when Mars was retrograde in 1965. Jupiter in Taurus describes the health of the largest international banks, specifically the European banks holding sizeable amounts of Greek, Italian, and other heavily indebted Eurozone nations' debt. European leaders are trying to avoid a Greek default which could especially jeopardize the French and German banks who are the largest holders of Greek debt.
Mars stationed retrograde conjoining Greece’s progressed Mars, indicating that debt decision day can no longer be postponed as Greece’s debt bomb is set to detonate on March 20.(6) This is the day of the Vernal Equinox when the Sun enters Aries with both Mars and Mercury (Virgo’s planetary ruler representing contractual agreements) retrograde! Actions during Mars retrograde might not be the solution to resolving the crisis but can act as the precursor leading to it. Although Mars will not be retrograde when Uranus exactly squares Pluto for the first time in June as happened in March 1933, Mars will still be in Virgo. June hosts a plethora of planetary events, including Venus retrograde as it makes a rare transit of the Sun. (Financial regulators have imposed rules requiring European banks raise an additional €114.7 billion of core capital by June.)
Greece does not have the money to make the March 20 payment unless the “troika” (ECB, EU, IMF) provide another bailout which is contingent on Greece enacting more austerity measures AND getting the bondholders to agree to take a “voluntary” 60%+ haircut in a debt exchange. Unlike the banks, hedge funds and other speculators who purchased Greek debt at a discount and also own the CDS face no political pressure to accept such a deal. Even a “voluntary” haircut could still jolt the global financial system by triggering the CDS or in ways that are completely unknown. Once a haircut happens, a precedent has been set that sovereign debt is not without risk which could increase the Eurozone’s borrowing costs.
Mars in Virgo and the Uranus/Pluto square impacting the country charts of all the major players in the Eurozone debt drama indicates EU leaders could have trouble keeping the problems contained to Greece. Many of the same planetary influences affecting Greece also affect Portugal, a nation that in its current incarnation was “born” three months before Greece.
The ECB is playing a key role helping to ease the crisis by offering three year loans to banks at 1% interest. European banks are responding no different than U.S. banks have to the Fed’s liquidity measures by taking the loans and keeping the cash at the ECB, further shrinking the Eurozone economy. The January 23 Mars retrograde station squared the ECB’s progressed Sun in Gemini, propelling the ECB into the starring role in the Greek debt drama.
Mars conjoined Mario Draghi’s natal Sun and Venus in Virgo while squaring the ECB’s natal Sun in Gemini November 30 when the ECB in coordination with the Federal Reserve and other major central banks cut the dollar swap rate to 50 basis points and extending the program. There could be some type of much larger coordinated global central bank action between March 12-14 when the Mars transit repeats and Mercury stations retrograde which would likely boost the banks and could result in large moves in global stock markets.
Mercury will station direct in Pisces April 4 and Venus stations retrograde in Gemini May 15 on the ECB’s progressed Gemini Sun. News about the ECB could turn out to be a rumor, or something Chairman Draghi says or was previously announced could need to be clarified. Additional policy accommodation could be announced when Venus conjoins the ECB’s progressed Sun.
Virgo, Gemini, and Pisces are dualistic signs comprising the mutable element. This increases the potential for multi-step proposals/solutions. Having multiple planets reversing direction in the same degree in a relatively short span of time indicates a period where things are in flux. What appears to be the “last word” on the matter might not be as these signs represent the transitional phase that occurs when something is ending and something new is about to begin. Flexibility and quickly adapting to changes is the key to effectively working with planets in mutable signs.
Any euphoric reaction to efforts to avert a crisis in Greece could be temporary as the Vernal Equinox not only represents the influences for the Spring quarter (March 20 – June 20) but also sets the underlying tone for the next 12 months.
The chart set for Athens features the Sun, Mercury, and Uranus in Aries in the sector representing endings and action taking place behind the scenes squaring Pluto in Capricorn which conjoins the sector of the chart describing the nation’s leadership and global reputation. Pluto in Capricorn represents sovereign debt and Pluto-ruled Scorpio presides over its home sector of the chart ruling debt and bankruptcy. Public anger could erupt over actions taken by leaders to meet the deficit reduction targets imposed by the EU with Aries on the Ascendant (the nation’s outlook) and Mars in the Virgo-ruled sector of the chart, and the Moon and Neptune opposing Mars. The public’s ability to access healthcare and other essential needs could lead to violent protests and strikes that paralyze Greece’s ability to function normally.
Such a situation might even force the government to declare martial law to maintain order which would likely send shockwaves through the rest of Europe and ripple across the Atlantic. Unfortunately the June 21 Summer Solstice chart set for Greece features a similar layout. Uranus in Aries conjoins the Ascendant and squares Pluto which is once again at the top of the chart as both planets impact the Solstice Sun. These influences can bring a summer of further shocks and unrest. Greece could break free from its debt mountain by defaulting.
If Greece does end up defaulting on its debt it does not necessarily mean Greece will leave the Eurozone. And even if Greece did leave the Eurozone and return to the drachma it doesn’t mean it’s the end for the Eurozone and the Euro! For example, Harrisburg defaulted on its debt but is still part of Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania is still part of the United States of America. Harrisburg’s default hasn't affected the city using the U.S. dollar as its currency.
URANUS/PLUTO IMPACT THE ORIGINS OF THE CURRENT 20 YEAR BUSINESS CYCLE
Jupiter (expansion) and Saturn (contraction), the two planets that primarily preside over the business cycle are in opposition as Mars stationed retrograde. Although Jupiter and Saturn are not in exact opposition to each other as they were during 2010-11, their influence reflects moderate growth.
Jupiter opposite Saturn marks the midpoint of their 20 year cycle that began on May 28, 2000 when they conjoined in Taurus. Taurus is part of the earth element, and stocks fell back to earth then as the dot com bubble burst. With Jupiter once again in Taurus there is the potential that “bubble 2.0” might be brewing.
Since Jupiter and Saturn are transiting the two signs ruled by Venus, here are some financial lessons global markets have yet to learn that either are or start to become evident during Mars retrograde:
European banks are learning there’s no such thing as zero risk weighted assets as all sovereign debt carries a level of risk and all sovereign debt is not created equal. There’s no way that Greek debt and German debt can carry the same zero risk free weighting! While U.S. debt is not a credit risk, there is POLITICAL RISK (which is why S&P downgraded U.S. long-term debt last August.)
A company’s promise to maintain or increase their dividend does not carry a zero risk weighting either. Should the stock’s value decline substantially, the dividends won’t cover the loss of the principal investment.
You would have thought the lesson should have been learned in 2008 that credit default swaps are an insurance product and should be regulated as such. Bonds insured with CDS actually provide an incentive to push a company or country into default.
The Federal Reserve is the epicenter of the Treasury capital gain game. The Fed’s policy actions have little to do with the economy per se and everything to do with preventing a crash in the bond market. In order to prevent that from happening, each move the Fed makes will have to be more dramatic than the last as driving long term interest rates lower becomes more difficult as time passes despite the Fed’s “multiyear guarantee” to keep interest rates at virtually zero. With Mars harmonizing with Jupiter and Pluto as Jupiter and Pluto make their third and final alignment at the time of the March 13 FOMC meeting, the market has inflated expectations that the Fed will continue to be bolder in order to keep long term interest rates low.
Another alternative would be if the Fed set a price target on long term Treasury rates. Yet such a move is unlikely as it would reverse the 1951 Fed Accord enacted when Jupiter opposed Saturn in Libra which gave the Fed its independence from the Treasury. (Click the link on Jupiter opposite Saturn in the first paragraph of this section for more info.) Any type of move along these lines by the Fed is becoming very politically difficult to justify in an improving economic environment.
For example, if the yield on the 30 year bond was at 5% and dropped to 4%, that’s an easy capital gain. But with the 30 year around 3%, betting the Fed will push it down to 2% implies a greater risk for a smaller potential reward. The lower interest rates are, the worse the risk/reward benefit becomes until it disappears entirely. Once the potential gain is so miniscule, most participants will leave the market entirely.
All Ponzi schemes begin to collapse when prices stop rising. The Fed’s bond bubble is a Ponzi scheme that is no different than the housing bubble that triggered the financial crisis (which was also Fed supported). Just as the housing bubble began to burst the moment home prices stopped rising, once the Fed can’t drive interest rates any lower, the market for long term Treasuries will collapse unless propped up by the Fed and China. This would obviously incur deep political risk.
Savers, banks, and insurance companies are adversely affected by Fed policy, and soon Wall Street will be too as corporate pension funds will need substantially increased funding to make up for the shortfall in investment income. According to a report by Credit Suisse, 97% of S&P 500 companies have underfunded pension plans.(7) Companies could also be faced with increased state and local taxes to make up for the shortfalls in public pensions. Just as bond prices cannot afford to stand still, neither can stock prices if they are to compensate for the lack of interest income.
Interest rates and pensions are ruled by Pluto which is now conjoining the “granddaddy” of the current Jupiter/Saturn cycle.
THE GRANDADDY OF THE JUPITER/SATURN CYCLE
The current Jupiter/Saturn cycle that began in Taurus in 2000 is part of a far larger Jupiter/Saturn cycle that completes its 20 year series of conjunctions in the earth element that began when Jupiter and Saturn conjoined in Saturn-ruled Capricorn on January 26, 1842.(8) It should be noted that planetary transits impacting the “great earth conjunction” of Jupiter and Saturn exert their influence well before and after their alignment becomes exact.
Pluto in Capricorn is about to exactly conjoin the 1842 conjunction for the first time on February 19, while the Uranus/Pluto square will impact the conjunction degree in June.(9) Debt, interest rates, bankruptcy, taxes, insurance, opaque financial products, massive wealth, mining, nuclear and sex/reproductive issues are all part of Pluto’s domain. All kinds of secrets concerning these matters will be surfacing worldwide as Pluto (and Uranus) moves back and forth over the 1842 conjunction between now and early 2014. Government leaders can no longer postpone making life or death decisions affecting the world’s largest economies.
The first impact of Pluto to the 1842 conjunction might be tamer since there is a grand earth trine forming in the sky now between Mars in Virgo, Jupiter in Taurus, and Pluto in Capricorn. The earth element emphasizes practical solutions are required to effectively deal with Pluto in Capricorn’s debt mountain. Pluto in Capricorn describes the calls for austerity measures to rein in deficits. Yet corporate and government revenues cannot expand (Jupiter in Taurus) unless people are employed and their wages are rising (Mars in Virgo). An economic and physically unhealthy populace does not make for a healthy and sustainable economy able to work off its debt. Whether the debt is incurred by Greece or a borrower underwater, the question should not be how much do they owe but rather how much can they be reasonably expected to repay?
Capricorn rules history, and past transits of Pluto and Uranus to the 1842 conjunction provide insight into what we’re dealing with today. Looking at when Pluto in Cancer opposed the 1842 conjunction during 1920-22 proves that imposing moral hazard may be initially satisfying but it ultimately led to the Second World War. The allies imposed reparations on Germany then that it could not afford, and now Germany is the strongest proponent of imposing additional austerity measures that Greece cannot afford! (With Pluto making an exact square to Germany’s Libra Sun in March/April as the Uranus/Pluto square impacts its Sun in June, Germany could have its own structural issues to deal with.)
Jupiter and Saturn were conjoined in Virgo (labor force) when Pluto first opposed the 1842 Capricorn conjunction. This coincided with the “Wall Street Bombing” on September 16, 1920 when a horse wagon exploded in front of the J.P. Morgan building. According to Wikipedia, “the attack was related to postwar social unrest, labor struggles and anti-capitalist agitation.” The Virgo influence reflects the protests by the labor force that occurred then and now. Mars turned retrograde right on the natal Sun of the bombing which together with Pluto and Uranus to the 1842 conjunction could increase the potential for some form of aggression against Wall Street.
Uranus generates unexpected shocks and surprises that break through support and resistance levels. As Uranus in Aries repeats its square to the 1842 conjunction, it should be noted that the second time Uranus in Aries exactly squared the 1842 conjunction during its previous cycle occurred about two weeks before the 1929 crash. Uranus square Pluto heightens volatility as it brings sudden and unexpected shocks to economic structures on a massive scale involving enormous amounts of money. During the previous times these influences (combined with a more active solar cycle now), could bring major geomagnetic storms that impact the electrical grid, disrupting our daily living, the way we communicate and conduct commerce.
KEY PERIODS OF THE MARS RETROGRADE CYCLE
The most volatile periods during the Mars retrograde cycle are most likely to occur when Mars or planets in Mars-ruled Aries are in a challenging relationship to the other planets, particularly Uranus and Pluto.
The week of February 19 is the first time period during Mars retrograde where several of the factors described begin to come together. Pluto conjoins the 1842 Capricorn conjunction as Mars conjoins the 1965-66 Uranus/Pluto conjunction. Mars squares the December 10, 2011 Lunar Eclipse in Mercury-ruled Gemini, which closely conjoined Italy’s natal Sun and Uranus and conjoined the USA’s natal Mars. Although markets were upbeat then about additional austerity measures in Italy and the EU proposing a greater fiscal union, Mars triggering an eclipse tends to bring action related to the themes of the eclipse that increases volatility. The USA is more assertive in trying to dissolve barriers that impede developing diplomatic consensus.
Pisces is the opposite sign to Virgo, and the Pisces New Moon on February 21 conjoins Neptune in Pisces, squaring the November 24, 2011 Solar Eclipse in Sagittarius. Geopolitical issues are at the forefront which could be oil-related. The New Moon conjoins Iran’s natal Venus in Pisces (which opposes Iran’s natal Saturn in Virgo), reflecting that Iran’s financial health is in jeopardy unless the regime demonstrates it will comply with the West’s demands instead of pretending to.
The New Moon and Neptune oppose the degree Mercury stationed retrograde in Virgo on August 2, 2011. Pisces and its planetary ruler Neptune rule all types of credit-related issues which could lead to more credit rating downgrades. For example, August 2 was when President Obama signed the deficit reduction bill which was followed by S&P downgrading the USA’s long term credit rating. Reaching agreement on the appropriate course of action can be difficult with Mercury in Pisces opposing Mars (February 23), especially when the facts are somewhat fuzzy.
Mercury enters Mars-ruled Aries March 2 until March 23. Although Mercury and Mars can enhance each other’s energies as they are now in each other’s signs, the speed at which Mercury in Aries operates is slowed down by Mars retrograde (and further still when Mercury turns retrograde March 12).
The influence of the Uranus/Pluto square is stronger as it is coming within orb of being exact now. Volatility increases as Mercury conjoins Uranus multiple times (March 5, 18, April 22). What is being communicated could bring sharp and sudden reversals that tend to break through levels of support and resistance.
Mars reaches the midpoint of its retrograde cycle March 3 when it is opposed by the Sun in Pisces. Mars is at its closest distance to Earth in two years now, emphasizing the energies of the red planet. This is a time of confrontation and reacting to issues that have been brewing since January 23 when Mars went retrograde.
Full Moons mark the culmination of what began at the New Moon. The March 8 Virgo Full Moon shines like a spotlight, making it much easier now to dissect fact from fiction. The Full Moon conjoins Mars and reactivates the December 10, 2011 Gemini Lunar Eclipse and opposes the September 12, 2011 Pisces Harvest Moon. Unexpected financial shocks and geopolitical concerns are likely to increase volatility. There is stronger potential for earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions to occur around this time.
A market decline could reverse course when Mercury stations retrograde in Aries March 12. Interestingly, Mercury stationed retrograde on March 13, 1933 at the exact degree it will now. (This was the day the banks reopened following the bank holiday I described earlier which was followed by a huge run up when the stock exchange reopened March 15.) However, my basis for at least a temporary turnaround at this time is that Mars will reactivate the grand earth trine from November when the market ramped up from its early October low. March 13 marks the third and final alignment between Jupiter and Pluto that previously occurred on July 7 and October 28, 2011.
Venus in its home sign Taurus will be part of the grand earth trine as it harmonizes with Mars and Pluto while conjoining Jupiter (March 13-14). Matters related to global banking dominate with the Moon (sentiment) in Jupiter-ruled Sagittarius. Mars is squaring the ECB’s natal Sun in Gemini as Mercury turns retrograde; the first time this occurred was in late November when the ECB in coordination with the Fed and other major central banks cut the dollar swap rate to 50 bps and extended the program until February 1, 2013.
Jupiter expands and inflates. Although its tendency is to increase optimism and risk taking when prominent, Jupiter exaggerates market sentiment in either direction. A big move up one day sets up the potential for a big decline that gives back the following day. Mars opposing Neptune between now and mid-May can vacillate between feelings of euphoria and fears of contagion.
Having Mercury and Mars retrograde until early April could slow down shipments and create supply chain disruptions resulting from communication and mechanical breakdowns, accidents, strikes, or adverse weather conditions. Accounting errors and irregularities are uncovered.
The Sun enters Aries March 20 (the Vernal Equinox) followed by the Aries New Moon March 22 which reactivates the energies of Uranus and Pluto. Now is the time for leaders to initiate new actions to deal with existing issues. Aries energy likes to dive head first and hit the ground running, yet this spring is a time to clean up loose ends before charting a new path forward. Embarking on a completely new venture is more likely to be an exercise in frustration that could backfire. This spring it is only the period from mid-April to mid-May when all the personal planets are in forward motion.(10)
Diplomatic disputes could heat up at the April 6 Full Moon in Libra as Venus in Gemini squares Mars. The Full Moon conjoins Iran’s natal Pluto as Pluto appears stationary in the sky as it turns retrograde April 10. Nuclear issues, mining, debt, bankruptcy, taxes, insurance, entitlement spending, sex, death, and everything kept secret and below the surface is part of Pluto’s domain.
This could be an intense week as Pluto stations retrograde at the same time Mars stations direct April 13. Mars and Pluto share similar characteristics. Both planets rule the sign Scorpio, and both planets energy acts as an aggressive and powerful force determined to achieve their objective. Manipulative behaviors and evidence of corruption are likely to spring to the surface.
As Mars turns direct it closely opposes Neptune in Pisces, highlighting deceptive and fraudulent actions that run counter to what was believed. Such practices could be connected to Mars/Neptune matters (oil, chemicals, military, prisons, drugs, healthcare, and seafaring industries). The Mars/Pluto/Neptune influence raises the potential for a disaster that could involve oil, chemicals, water, or nuclear materials. However, with Mars and Pluto harmoniously aligned, such an event might be able to be averted or mitigated.
Whatever events occur as Mars stations direct will reverberate on the world stage in early June as Mars stations direct squaring the degree that Neptune stations retrograde in Pisces June 4. This is the day of a powerful Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius, as Venus retrograde in Gemini squares Mars for the second time as Venus makes a historic transit of the Sun. This is a time to take action to repair frayed relationships and finances.
What erupts as Mars turns direct necessitates action as the Sun harmonizes with Mars again on April 23. (The first time was January 12.) The stability and steadiness of the April 21 Taurus New Moon harmonizing with Mars and Pluto and favorably aspecting Neptune helps innovative ideas and reforms take root as Mercury in Aries makes its third and final conjunction to Uranus (April 22) as it squares Pluto (April 25).
Mars in Virgo returns to the degree it stationed retrograde in Virgo on June 19, the day of the Gemini New Moon. With half of the planets in mutable signs during June as Uranus and Pluto exactly square off for the first time since the 1930s, the Mars in Virgo retrograde period helped us to see the flaws so we can adapt improvements.
Mutable signs represent endings as they mark the transition from one season to another. And with the end comes a new beginning.(11)
(1)Taurus and Capricorn are the other signs that comprise the earth element.
(2)The exact trine between the Sun in Capricorn and Mars occurred on January 12.
(3)”Why Did FDR’s Bank Holiday Succeed?” by William L. Silber, FRBNY Economic Policy Review July 2009.
(4) Bloomberg Businessweek has a concise flowchart of the Dodd-Frank Act which President Obama signed July 21, 2010 at 11:49 AM EDT in Washington, DC.
(5) Since both planets are ruled by Mercury which is retrograde in the sector representing debt, bankruptcy, debt, and derivatives opposing Pluto (the planetary ruler of these matters) in the sector of the USA chart representing the banking system and the nation’s wealth. This represents one of the factors why the nation is particularly prone to severe boom and bust cycles.
(6) Progressions move the natal planets and chart positions forward in time, symbolizing the individual/entity's evolution.
(7)”The Hidden Burden of Ultra-Low Interest Rates” by Matthew Philips and Dakin Campbell, Bloomberg Businessweek February 12, 2012.
(8) A new “grand” cycle of Jupiter and Saturn begins in the air element on the Winter Solstice in 2020 when the pair conjoin at the beginning of Aquarius. This will usher in a major new era of technological innovation that will render many of today’s industries obsolete.
(9) June 3 and December 19, 2012, and September 20, 2013 (when Pluto will station direct) is when Pluto in Capricorn will exactly conjoin the 1842 Jupiter/Saturn conjunction. April 5 and November 20, 2013 and January 3, 2014 is when Uranus in Aries will exactly square the conjunction.
(10) The personal planets are Mercury (communication), Venus (money; love), and Mars.
(11) The mutable signs are Gemini (spring to summer), Virgo (summer to fall), Sagittarius (fall to winter), and Pisces (winter to spring).