Sunday, January 10, 2010

Saturn Rx, Mercury D near solar eclipse

Stocks started 2010 on a positive note as encouraging US retail numbers brought in new buyers eager to participate in the economic recovery. In New York, the Dow was up 2% to 10,618 while the S&P fared somewhat better and closed at 1144. In Mumbai, the enthusiasm was a little more subdued as valuation worries kept a lid on things with the Sensex edging higher to 17,540 and the Nifty to 5244. Certainly, I had expected some upside from the close Sun-Mercury-Venus conjunction in the early going since Venus usually brings some element of joy to the proceedings. But the extent of Monday's gain in New York was definitely food for thought as the positive Venus energy manifested before its exact conjunction. Another reminder perhaps that no matter how precise we can do the mathematics in planetary geometry, there are always other unknown and largely unknowable "X" factors that are part of the equation that make forecasting such a challenge. I wonder if Donald Rumsfeld ever pondered astrology's "unknown unknowns". The latter part of the week saw a little more negativity and this correlated fairly well with the minor Mars aspect to the Sun and Venus. Overall, last week's extension of the rally showed how little the medium term influences have changed. The recent Mars and Mercury retrogrades have not provided enough counterbalance to the pervasive optimism of the rough alignment of Jupiter, Neptune, Uranus (and Chiron) near the same degree of their respective signs. Jupiter is now moving away from Neptune so this should eventually weaken the bullish pattern, but it is not clear when the supports will fall away.

This week will be an interesting test of that status quo optimism as we will see two planets change direction very close to a solar eclipse. With the Sun now conjunct Venus, we can see how this can produce a happy mood which could correlate with rising prices. On Monday, however, the Sun-Venus tandem will conjoin Rahu (North Lunar Node) at 27 degrees of sidereal Sagittarius. Rahu can be a disruptive influence although if it is in proximity to benefic planets like Venus, it can often be swayed to go over the bright side of life. Sun-Venus will also form supporting aspects to Uranus and Neptune early this week so that is another positive influence. Since gold is represented by the Sun, the ongoing conjunction of Venus will likely take gold prices higher in the short term. Once Venus begins to pull away, however, gold's fortunes may become more uncertain.

Saturn will turn retrograde on Wednesday and begin its five-month backward journey through early sidereal Virgo. When planets change direction, there can be a subtle shift in mood and purpose so these retrograde stations need to be watched carefully for clues of new market trends. If the market has been rising going up leading into a significant retrograde station, then stocks may be more vulnerable to pullbacks afterwards. While there is a certain deductive and holistic appeal to this position, it's important to remember that the correlation is very loose in practice. Like most probabilistic astrological measurements, it is only one factor out of many. What makes this Saturn station more noteworthy, however, is that it occurs just as the Moon, Mercury and Pluto are all in tense square aspect. This is an unusual circumstance and may well indicate some sudden increase in pessimism or misapplication of authority in some area. Friday is no less interesting as Mercury ends its retrograde cycle in square aspect with Saturn on the same day as a solar eclipse. That is also quite an unusual circumstance and warrants close attention in terms of potentially marking any changes in market direction. All in all, it should be a very compelling week as several positive aspects are tightly intermingled with a couple not-very-nice patterns.