Saturday, May 19, 2012

Greece trumps Facebook; G8 meets to avert crisis

Greece is the problem that won't go away.  G-8 leaders are meeting in Camp David this weekend to attempt to find some kind lasting solution for the Eurozone and its most wastrel member.  It all seems more like theater than anything else as there remain sharp policy divisions over the right way forward.  Obama and the newly-minted French President Hollande favour more stimulus while Merkel and Cameron believe that more austerity is necessary.  No matter which side prevails, there will likely be some attempt to guarantee Greek sovereign debt perhaps through another intervention by the ECB. Recent austerity measures appear to be making the problem worse in the short run as Greece and Spain slip deeper into recession.  It is unclear if Germany can agree to more politically unpopular stimulus measures to prop up their bankrupt Greek neighbours.  More financial analysts are now openly assessing the implications of Greece leaving the Eurozone since managing a sovereign currency may be the only way that Greece can again become competitive on its own terms.

The ongoing political and economic uncertainty is a very appropriate reflection of the current predominance of Saturn.  As I have noted in past weeks, May was likely to be problematic due to the entry of Saturn into sidereal Virgo.  It has been moving very slowly in past days at a rate of just 3 arc minutes per day and finally entered Virgo on Friday.  It's worth noting that I am referring to the sidereal sign of Virgo rather than the more commonly used Western tropical sign of Virgo.  The star-based sidereal zodiac widely used in India is offset 24 degrees from the seasonally-determined tropical zodiac so this particular measurement only appears if one follows this different system.  As planets change signs, there is often stronger symbolic correlations in consciousness and behaviour on Earth according to the nature of the planet.  Saturn is the planet of caution, pessimism, and austerity so it is not surprising that we should be seeing a gloomier outlook at the present time with regards to Greece, the Eurozone and a slowdown in the world economy. 

But now that Saturn is more safely ensconced in Virgo, one would be tempted to think that calmer waters are ahead.  To be sure, the amount of negative Saturn energy is likely waning in the near term.  And yet there is more cause for concern down the road.  Saturn is slowing down here in the final stages of its retrograde cycle, which is due to conclude on 25 June when it returns to its normal forward motion.  Slow moving planets tend to increase their influence and Merkollande do not want Saturn to be too influential.  To make matters worse, Saturn will station at 28 Virgo, just two degrees from the cusp of Libra.  A placement near the cusp of a sign is more unstable and can create difficult situations.  It also means that when Saturn moves forward again, it will cross over this sign cusp and tend to depress markets all over again.  This final sign change will occur on 2 August.  The astrological elephant in the room is the upcoming Uranus-Pluto square aspect which is exact on 24 June.  This will be the first of three such exact square aspects of these two transformative planets over the next year or two.  There is an enormous amount of energy associated with this aspect, but it somewhat unclear just when its effects will manifest.  Given the near simultaneous Saturn direct station at that time, there is good reason to assume a cautious stance at this time.  While by no means probable, a black swan-type event in nonetheless more likely at that time than it otherwise would be. 

Despite all the hype around the Facebook IPO, stocks continued to struggle last week as fears of an disruptive "Grexit" from the Eurozone weighed on sentiment.  The Dow lost 4% closing at 12,369 while the S&P finished the week at 1295.  Indian markets fared somewhat better although the Sensex still tumbled 1% to 16,152 as the Nifty ended the week at 4891.  This bearish outcome was in keeping with expectations as I thought that the shadow of Saturn would darken the mood for much of the week.  Interestingly, the potential bright spots did appear to coincide with some limited gains.  The Venus retrograde station occurred on Tuesday, just as the Indian markets some modest gains.  Jupiter's entry into Taurus (the bull) on Thursday also coincided with more positive sentiment across the board as stocks in Mumbai rose and commodities such as gold and oil also put in a winning session.

This week looks somewhat more upbeat, mostly due to Tuesday's Mercury-Jupiter conjunction.  This is a fairly reliable bullish influence which would tend to suggest some early week gains, even if the conjunction comes so soon after Sunday's solar eclipse. The late week is perhaps unpredictable given Friday's Sun-Ketu conjunction. This is likely to be detrimental for gold in particular although its negative effects could spill into stocks also.  So there is some astrological justification for a bounce this week.