Saturday, September 29, 2012

Israel draws a red line on Iran

The long-simmering tension between Israel and Iran was in the spotlight again this week as the leaders of both countries addressed the United Nations.  Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu delivered a stern warning that Iran was getting dangerously close to having an operational nuclear weapon.  Both Israel and US are on record saying that such a development would be unacceptable and would be sufficient grounds for launching a military strike, regardless of the consequences. For his part, Iranian President Achmadinejad was no less forceful in his speech and defended his country's nuclear program as a peaceful one that was directed towards energy production.  Any bombing of Iranian nuclear facilities would likely destabilize the Middle East and cause a spike in oil prices and a significant decline in the stock market.  While Achmadinejad reiterated his pledge to retaliate in the face of a of Israeli or US strike, it is somewhat less clear how strong any Iranian counter strike might be.  While a full-fledged war is possible, a limited exchange of air strikes on strategic targets is probably a more likely outcome.   But just how close are these two countries to some kind of military action? 

The horoscope of the Iranian Islamic Republic (Apr 1 1979 3 p.m.) definitely looks more active these days.  The close Mercury-Mars conjunction is currently under the aspect of transiting Rahu (North Lunar Node).  Mars symbolizes war and aggression of course, while Mercury is connected with communication and speech.  Perhaps this conjunction is one reason why bellicose speeches are the natural tendency of Iranian leaders.  The Rahu influence here is destabilizing, however, and needs to be taken very seriously.  Rahu is often associated with situations that break the boundaries and seek to upset the status quo.  To be sure, this includes any sort of military incident since an attack would interrupt the status quo.  At the same time, it's important to remember that it isn't necessarily an astrological signature for war.  It may simply reflect the war (Mars) of words (Mercury) that has flared up once again at the UN in recent days.  On the basis of this aspect, there's a good chance that October will likely see rising tensions as transiting Mars will oppose the Moon (the people, national emotion).

The real problem here is that the Rahu transit is quite slow moving so it will influence that Mercury-Mars conjunction in the Iran chart for several months.  This affliction therefore increases the likelihood for some kind of eruption of violence over the next four or five months.  While the chart looks pretty stressed now, I would think the early part of 2013 could be a more likely window when some kind of attack or conflict occurs.  Transiting Saturn will station in February in a close semi-square aspect to this Mercury-Mars conjunction.  Saturn will also exactly conjoin the IC (unequal 4th house cusp) in the proclamation horoscope.  This increases the probability of some kind of destructive event around that time frame.  The nodes are also angular at this time.  Overall, the Iran chart looks more troubled in early 2013 than it does now.  I would therefore expect an attack and an exchange of hostilities is more likely to happen then. 

The Israel horoscope also looks agitated in October.  While Mars (5 Leo) is not closely afflicted by any transiting planets, we can see that transiting Saturn is approaching the ascendant suggesting a time of heavy responsibility.  We can also see that the Sun (government, leaders) is under stress at the moment in this chart as Ketu is approaching its conjunction in the 1st degree of Taurus.  Transiting Mars is also opposite the Sun so this may reflect some criticism of Netanyahu's over-the-top presentation at the UN with a red marker and a cartoon-like diagram of a bomb.  Perhaps bellicosity knows no borders. 

On Friday 6 October Mercury will join Saturn on the ascendant of this chart while Mars and Neptune will aspect natal Mars.  This suggests a significant event, although I'm less inclined to be it will be a military action.  Mars-Neptune is often connected with harm and damage, but it is often indirect.  Embarrassment or some kind of scandal is common under this transit.  This does not seem like it would suggest an imminent attack.  It does not look positive, however, so I wonder if it will be diplomatic setback or some other lesser problem. Israel's chart also looks active at the end of October when the Sun and Saturn conjoin very close to the ascendant at 7 Libra.  Libra is the sign of debilitation for the Sun, so it is possible that Netanyahu may come under increased pressure at that time.  Again, this does not really look like a physical attack on the country but rather some situation that calls his leadership into question. 

Meanwhile, most financial markets slipped last week as anti-austerity protests in Europe raised doubts about the implementation of the bailout program.  US markets fell more than 1% with the Dow closing at 13,579. Indian stocks fared somewhat better, however, as hopes for further reform bolstered sentiment.  The Sensex was largely unchanged closing at 18,752.  I thought we might have seen a little more upside around the early week Mercury-Jupiter aspect but my overall expectation for a mixed market was not too far off. The negative influence of the Venus-Mars aspect broadly coincided with the intraweek low on Wednesday in the US and Thursday in India.

This week looks like we could see bigger moves in both directions.  That Mars-Rahu conjunction is likely to depress the mood in the early going, with Monday looking especially vulnerable.  The Venus-Neptune aspect on Tuesday and Wednesday would appear to offer a more positive spin on things, although the presence of Saturn is a bit of a wild card.  Thursday looks somewhat less positive as the Moon-Mars opposition spells trouble and hassles.  Friday's Mercury-Saturn conjunction creates a similar multi-planet pattern with Neptune and could produce a significant news event and large market reaction.  Friday will see the release of the latest monthly US jobs report, so that will likely be the catalyst.   While Saturn is usually negative, it can switch sides when it is associated with more positive planets. 

Transits for Monday 1 October 2012 9.30 a.m. New York