Sunday, June 29, 2014

100 years since the assassination that started World War I

(29 June 2014)  One hundred years ago yesterday, a young Serb nationalist named Gavrilo Princip assassinated the Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo.   Just one month later, after accusations and recriminations produced nothing more than a series of failed diplomatic initiatives and broken treaties, the world would be plunged into a war that did away with the old regimes of Europe and usher in the 20th century. If nothing else, the assassination at 10.50 a.m. on 28 June 1914 is a reminder of the interconnectedness of human existence and of the power of unforeseen consequences from the action of a single individual. 

Of course, Gavrilo Princip had no intention of starting World War I. His terrorist act was intended to help free his native Bosnia and Serbia from the domination of a foreign power in Austria-Hungary.  And yet the shooting of the heir to the Hapsburg throne was the catalyst that would ultimately result in the deaths of tens of millions of people, end the monarchies in Austria, Germany, Italy and Russia and thereby produce the world's first socialist revolution.  The assassination would also start the war that would effectively end of the predominance of Great Britain as the world's power as well as the ascension of the United States to that position.

One would think that an act of such enormous historical importance must have a fairly unusual astrological signature.  I think it does.  Let's begin by looking at the moment of assassination itself.  The chart is dominated by malefics.  The Moon had just risen in Leo and was hemmed in between malefics Mars and Ketu.  This kind of set up is commonly found in situations of anger and heated emotions where self-control is often lacking. Violence is common enough where the Moon (emotions) combines with Mars (anger, action) but when one of the nodes, Rahu or Ketu is also involved, it can become extremely dangerous. It is a textbook bad alignment that one would expect to see in a volatile and disruptive event.  Also, Saturn (1 Gemini) sits at the very top of the chart and forms an exact square with the Ascendant.  Saturn rules loss and sorrow, of course, and its pride of place at the top of the chart in the 10th house (on the equal cusp at 0 Gemini) is very symbolic of an event that will be characterized by Saturnian energies. 

Pluto (power, coercion) and the Sun (leaders, kings) are also in proximity to Saturn in the 10th house and paint a plausible enough picture of a regicide that is famous.   An added layer of affliction to the Sun (kings) from the aspect of Rahu (disruption, erasing boundaries) fills out the astrological inventory of an event that marks the downfall of a major royal personage as well as one that began the eventual destruction of several royal houses of Europe.  The other intriguing thing about this chart is that the last lunar eclipse of 12 March 1914 occurred at 28 Leo.  This was just two degrees from the Ascendant of the assassination.  Eclipses are often highlighted in events with larger social and historical importance.

Interestingly, that lunar eclipse of March 1914 also figures prominently in the horoscope of Princip himself.  He was born 25 July 1894 at 4.40 pm in Bosnia.  He was only 19 years old when he fired the gun that killed the Archduke and his wife.  As we might suspect, the chart is quite intense as malefics are prominent.  Saturn sits atop the chart conjunct the unequal 10th house cusp (i.e. the "Midheaven").  It also forms an exact 60 degree full strength sextile aspect to the Ascendant.  And it is a very powerful and malefic Saturn due to the near exact opposition aspect from Mars which sits at the very bottom of the chart.  This is a very afflicted chart when the two worst planets are angular and suggests a troubled but driven person.  Mars (willpower, energy, violence) is combined with Saturn (power, sorrow, durability) in this chart and seems doomed to produce difficult outcomes.  As an echo of the assassination chart, the Sun is again aspected by Rahu, suggesting difficulties with the father and authority figures. 

Moreover, that eclipse at 28 Leo occurred exactly on his equal 10th house cusp square to his Ascendant at 28 Scorpio.  The 10th house symbolizes status and achievements.  It is tempting to think about the preceding March lunar eclipse therefore as 'marking' Princip as a person who would gain status somehow in the near future.  His angular Mars-Saturn opposition would be enough to ensure that his fame would be associated somehow with their planetary portfolios of strife and suffering.

An eclipse also figured prominently in his natal chrt as Princip was born with his Mars/IC combination conjunct the last pre-natal eclipse on 6 April 1894 at 24 Pisces.  The eclipse acted as a kind of karmic highlighting of his Mars, which was already extra prominent due to its association with Saturn and the 4th house cusp or IC.  The 4th house cusp is often associated with the notion of endings or "the end of the matter".  Princip's act of violence (Mars) helped put an end to the Old Imperial Europe in a most forceful way. The involvement of the eclipse may have served to extend the consequences of Princip's actions well beyond the back street in Sarajevo where the murder took place and into the annals of world history.

Financial Markets Update

Fortunately, it was far less portentous last week in the markets in the absence of any new developments in Iraq or elsewhere.  Stocks generally moved sideways in both New York and Mumbai.  Gold and crude oil also held steady.  As expected, we did see some weakness early in the week on the Mars-Uranus aspect.  The market then rebounded more or less in line with the more bullish Mercury-Jupiter pattern midweek.  I thought we might have seen some declines late in the week but prices stayed high.

This week also could be mixed as the early week may be dominated by the Mercury-Rahu aspect.  The Rahu influence can sometimes introduce uncertainty and confusion, especially here when Mercury stations direct on Tuesday.  While less reliably negative than some Mars aspects, the Rahu aspect here is a bit problematic. The late week offers some positive energy as the Sun and Venus align with Pluto on Thursday and Friday.   Meanwhile, Saturn continues to inch its way backwards through the sky to its eventual station on July 20-21 when it aligns with Uranus. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Predicting success: when Soros broke the Bank of England

(22 June 2014)  Is life all just random blind luck?  Or are there times when our efforts are more likely to bear fruit?  One of the great insights of astrology is that major life events usually occur at a time of a clearly marked planetary pattern in our horoscope.  Situations of loss and disappointment may be often correlated with times when Saturn is dominant.  Times of achievement and reward typically take place when Jupiter is highlighted in some way.  I see these patterns playing out over and over again.  Not every situation is perfectly predictable, of course, but we can often isolate time periods of months and years when things are clearly on the upswing or downswing depending on the planets involved.  Moreover, we can also say that it is the key events in life -- the ones that are the most important in shaping our life direction -- that usually stand out the most in terms of planetary alignments. 

The chart of billionaire investor George Soros provides a classic example in this respect.  Soros is a legendary hedge fund manager who is one of the richest and most influential people in the world.  He was born August 12, 1930 in Budapest, Hungary.  Unfortunately, his birth time is unknown so this makes a close analysis of his chart more difficult.  However, it is still possible to make sense of the chart in terms of major events.  For Soros, one of his life-defining events came on September 16, 1992 when his massive bet against the British Pound  paid off in spades.  Soros had reasoned that Britain could not maintain the value of the Pound after it left the European Exchange Rate Mechanism due to its internal economic weakness.  He therefore "shorted" the Pound for months while the Bank of England gamely tried to defend its value against currency speculators.  After some months of fighting a losing battle, the Bank of England finally capitulated on September 16, 1992 and let the market take the Pound lower.  Soros realized a $1 Billion profit in a single day.  He became famous as "the man who broke the Bank of England." 

There are a couple of charts that underscore the importance of this trade in Soros' life. First, the transits for that day show a rare Sun-Mercury-Jupiter conjunction at 1 degree of Virgo.  It is very close to aspecting the natal Moon (28 Aquarius) by opposition aspect.  Jupiter is the key positive influence here as its transits to the Moon and Sun typically correspond to situations where things go the way we want.  One problem is the exact position of the Moon is unknown in Soros' chart because his time is unknown. Since the Moon moves about 13 degrees per day, the Moon may be located somewhere between 22 Aquarius and 5 Pisces.  We are using noon as a stand-in time and therefore take the halfway point in the Moon's position.  We may suspect that Soros was probably born sometime in the afternoon since that would make the Jupiter-Sun-Mercury aspect to the Moon that much closer to exact.  Admittedly, there is way too much wiggle room here but that is one of the shortcomings of using the noon chart.  Bottom line, these transits are suggestive of gains but only form one fairly small piece of the puzzle. 

To my mind, the more telling chart is the Western secondary progressed chart.  Formed by progressing each planet's position one day for each year lived (i.e. age 62 = 62 days since birth or Oct 13), there is a huge alignment of planets around 26-27 degrees of their respective signs.  As we would expect, Jupiter is front and center in this alignment.  Secondary progressed Sun (26 Virgo) is tightly square progressed Jupiter (26 Gemini).  Most Sun-Jupiter patterns are invariably positive and coincide with rewards and status enhancements.  This one is special because of all the natal planets that are also placed in that degree.  Soros was born with at least three planets near this degree -- Sun (26 Cancer), Pluto (27 Gemini) and Mars (26 Taurus).  There are four planets if we include Chiron at 26 Aries.  So the progressed motion of both Jupiter and the Sun had moved these planets to activate this very powerful natal alignment.  Given the various different planetary velocities involved, this was very much a once-in-a-lifetime alignment. 

When the Sun had transited 26 Leo thirty years before in 1962, it activated the same pattern but Jupiter had not yet moved into that position.  At 23 Gemini,  Jupiter was still too far away from the natal Pluto to trigger a major life-changing gain.  It was only in 1992 when both the Sun and Jupiter would align more closely with the rest of the planets in Soros' chart.  Progressed planets moved quite slowly, so we could only make the statement that the whole year 1992 would be generally beneficial for him rather than September 16, 1992 more specifically.  More narrowly focused predictions usually require an accurate birth time, as well as other levels of analysis beyond what we are discussing here. 

The takeaway is that major life events require major life alignments.  And if we are looking for times when our efforts will pay off in terms of investments or career, then it helps enormously if there are some progressed and transit alignments that involve Jupiter as well as other benefic planets like Venus or Mercury.  The progressed alignments provide the karmic resources needed to deliver the goods.  The more planets involved in the alignment, the more significant the period will be.  Obviously, all charts need to be looked at relativistically.  We can't all make billion dollar currency trades, but we can highlight the times in life when we are likely to go to the next level and have our efforts pay off.

Financial Markets Update

US Stocks edged higher last week as Fed Chair Janet Yellen gave a very dovish testimony that suggested a lack of concern with signs of growing inflation.  The Dow ended the week at 16,947, a new high.  Indian stocks were subject to more profit-taking on nervousness over rising oil prices and Iraq.  The Sensex slipped a bit to 25,105.  This generally positive picture coincided with expectations as I noted the twin ingresses of Venus and Jupiter at the middle of the week were likely to improve sentiment.  Yellen's testimony came on Wednesday just as Venus was entering Taurus and Jupiter was entering Cancer.  US markets enjoyed their biggest gain of the week on that day. 

This week looks more challenging as Mars forms a close opposition to Uranus on Monday and then aligns with bearish Saturn on Friday.  Declines would seem to be more likely near those aspects.  The middle of the week could perhaps see some gains as Mercury aligns with Jupiter on Wednesday and Thursday.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Iraq in chaos as insurgents advvance towards Baghdad

(15 June 2014)  The Iraqi government teetered on the verge of collapse last week as jihadist insurgents continued their advance on Baghdad.  The radical Islamist group ISIS has recently taken over large swaths of territory in the Sunni-dominated north and now threaten to topple the Shiite Maliki government.  Iraq's sectarian divisions now threaten to redraw the existing boundaries as the country may be better off dividing along religious lines.  And as Iraq moves towards total disintegration, the US is most concerned with the fact ISIS it a terrorist group with Al-Qaeda connections.  If they take over all of Iraq or even just establish a separate Sunni state in the north of Iraq, it would provide a potential terrorist training area not unlike what Afghanistan was before 2001.

The most pressing questions now are: 1) what are the chances that Iraq be taken over by ISIS or will be broken up into separate states with new boundaries?; and 2)  more immediately, how long is the current round of fighting likely to last?   Analysts have suggested that President Obama is in a difficult position here as he would be very reluctant to provide much military cover to the Maliki government.  Air strikes are still possible but likely only in a temporary capacity to stop the current advance by the insurgents.  His options are therefore very limited.  Maliki could also enlist support from neighboring Iran to prevent a worst case scenario of a total takeover by ISIS.  It may take some time for the government to re-assert its control over the central portion of the country, let alone re-take the northern Sunni-controlled area.  With the situation in flux and the future uncertain, what insight might the planets provide?

From an astrological perspective, one quick look at the Iraq horoscope and we see the problem.  Transiting Saturn (23 Libra) is backing into a very tight conjunction with the natal Moon (23 Libra) in this chart.   The Moon represents the people as a whole and is usually activated in any significant national developments, for good or ill.  Saturn, of course, is typically the most negative influence of all the planets as it symbolizes suffering, loss, and death.  To be sure, Saturn also has more positive significations, but its more negative associations are more likely to manifest in this time due to the afflicted nature of the chart as a whole.  Natally, Saturn is damaged from the get-go due to its opposition with Pluto across the 1-7 house axis.  Pluto symbolizes coercive power and potential cruelty.  To some extent, all Saturn transits in this chart will therefore be stamped with this more negative Saturn-Pluto energy. 

The reason why this particular Saturn-to-Moon transit correlates with such major difficulties is because Saturn is due to station at 22 Libra on July 20th.  In other words, it is moving very slowly at the moment and therefore has assumed much more energy than when it is moving at normal velocity.  A Saturn station to a key planet like the Moon often coincides with significant historical events in the life of a country.  That would appear to be the case here.  Saturn's conjunction with the Moon lasts from approximately May until August so that period runs the greatest risk of hardship and suffering.

Also we can see that the lunar nodes, Rahu and Ketu, are very much front and center.  First, we should note that the transiting Saturn comes under the influence of the aspect of Rahu (24 Aquarius) during this long Saturn direct station period from May to August while Saturn is barely moving.  The Saturn-Rahu pairing is typical in situations where boundaries and structures (Saturn) are undergoing disruption and change (Rahu).  Over the past weeks, Iraq is fragmenting as the large numbers of soldiers have fled and surrendered territory to the jihadists. 

We can also see that transiting Ketu (2 Aries) is closely conjunct the equal 10th house cusp (0 Aries).  It will exactly conjoin this point on July 2nd using the true node measurement.  In mundane astrology, the 10th house represents the government and its leaders.  Like Rahu, Ketu symbolizes change and development, usually in a sudden or shocking way.  The fact that transiting Ketu still has three weeks before becoming conjunct with the 10th house cusp suggests the the period of greatest intensity and disruption is yet to come for the Maliki government in Baghdad. 

Transiting Mars is in the picture too (of course!) as it conjoins the Sun-Mercury duo in Virgo close to the unequal 4th house cusp.  Mars is the planet most connected with violence and its conjunction with the Sun is evocative of the violent attack on the Iraqi government and its military. 

Somewhat paradoxically, benefic Jupiter conjoins the Ascendant.  What symbolic role could Jupiter take in the current situation?  There are a few possibilities here and I wouldn't argue to strongly for any one in particular.  Jupiter could represent US air strikes that help to save the Maliki government from defeat.  Or help could also come from Iran, a Shiite ally in the region.  Jupiter makes its exact conjunction with the Ascendant on June 23rd.

Whatever the possible stabilizing influence of Jupiter in the next week, the outlook seems problematic for Iraq.  As already noted, Ketu has yet to make its closest conjunction with the 10th house which takes place in the first week of July.  Moreover, transiting Mars will conjoin Rahu on July 13th at 0 degrees of Libra.  This will fall exactly on the 4th house cusp and will thereby activate the natal square of Pluto (0 Cancer) and Uranus (29 Aries).  This looks like a time when violence and military action could be near their peak.  The transiting Sun will cross the Ascendant a few days later on the 17th and thus set up a larger alignment with Rahu, Ketu and Mars.   If the Maliki government is going to fall, this would be one possible time for that to happen.   A sustained attack on the city of Baghdad is another possible manifestation of this pattern.  August 25th also looms large as that is the date that Mars conjoins Saturn in the sky and hence both malefics will be closely conjunct Iraq's Moon.  I would expect large-scale military actions to continue in Iraq until at least that date. 

Interestingly, by late August Jupiter will have moved into an exact conjunction with the natal Mars at 14 Cancer.  This is exactly where Jupiter stationed in April 2003 when the US invaded Iraq and toppled the Saddam government.  This is probably not going to be a repeat of history, but it may support the notion that major military action will occur in August. 

I am agnostic on the question of whether Iraq will survive.  The chart is afflicted but probably not afflicted enough to suggest that it will be dissolved.  Nonetheless, the next year or two look troubled for this country.  The next six months are probably going to be the most significant for shaping its future direction.  I hope to revisit these questions in later posts as more details become known.

Financial Markets Update

Stocks edged lower last week as worries over the Iraqi situation gave investors a reason to take profits.  The Dow lost 100 points closing at 16,775 while the Sensex dipped to 25,228.  I had noted the presence of some bearish-looking aspects midweek (Venus-Saturn) and late week (Mars-Pluto) so the move lower did not come as a big surprise.  Friday's rebound in the US also seemed to correlate nicely with the more bullish Sun-Jupiter aspect that day.

This week looks somewhat more positive as both Venus and Jupiter -- two benefic planets -- change signs at midweek.  I would think this simultaneous shift in energy of these planets is likely to correlate with some upside here.  However, Mars is approaching its opposition with Uranus as we get deeper into the week so that is a significant red flag that could suggest some panic selling.  Friday's alignment with the Moon is perhaps most portentous in this respect although the aspect does continue into early into next week. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Ukraine's new President sworn-in

(8 June 2014)  Ukraine's new president was sworn-in last week as fighting raged in Eastern Ukraine with pro-Russian rebels.  Petro Poroshenko vowed to reclaim Crimea for Ukraine after he took the oath at 10.20 a.m. on June 7th in Kiev.  Oaths of office provide another window on the reality of political events as they mark the "birth" of a leader's administration.  While not all events can be inferred from the resulting swearing-in chart, some major developments usually coincide with significant planetary alignments to this horoscope.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the Poroshenko swearing-in chart looks troubled.  The proud sign of Leo rises and its ruler, the Sun, is in the 10th house of status and command in the stubborn sign of Taurus.  All of these factors suggest a more assertive and dominant leadership style by Poroshenko as he confronts Russian military power on his eastern frontier.  To be sure, his bold claim to take back Crimea is in keeping with a more assertive stance.  This is clearly not the chart of a government bent on compromise.  It also suggests the Poroshenko will cut a fairly dynamic figure as he takes control of the conflicted nation. 

The problems emerge from the position of the Moon.  Placed in the 2nd house in Virgo, the Moon is conjunct Mars (conflict, violence).  This conjunction doesn't always signify conflict as it is sometimes seen in the charts of activist or energetic administrations.  In this case, the Moon-Mars conjunction is situated in close opposition to Uranus (21 Pisces) and square with Pluto (18 Sagittarius).   This connection of Moon-Mars in hard aspect to both Uranus and Pluto is not conducive to a peaceful and constructive administration.  Rather, it suggests that conflict and power struggles will be ongoing features of the government and that they will have a negative effect on the country as a whole.

The other possible red flag in this chart concerns the role of Saturn.  Although safely exalted in Libra in the upachaya 3rd house, it does align with both Moon and Mercury if we use Western aspects of 45 degrees.  Saturn is exactly 45 degrees from the Moon and 135 degrees (45 x 3) from Mercury.  As if to punctuate the importance of this alignment, Mercury is almost stationary, just one day before it turns retrograde.  Even if we accept the fact that the 45 degree aspect is less powerful than Saturn's full strength Vedic aspects (60, 180, 270), the exactitude of the alignment does not look helpful for Ukraine under the Poroshenko government.   Saturn is associated with slow economic growth, and possibly social hardship, especially since the Moon is in play here.  The Moon symbolizes the population as a whole.

Looking ahead, one obvious time frame to watch will be early 2015.  In February, Saturn (9 Scorpio) will station in a close square aspect to the Ascendant (8 Leo) just as transiting Rahu will conjoin the natal Mars at 17 Virgo.  Although each of these aspects needn't bring problems in themselves, their simultaneity increases the probability of a major setback for Ukraine, including a significant situation involving military action (Rahu-Mars).

Both because of this transit hit and the difficult nature of the swearing-in chart itself, it seems unlikely that the crisis in Ukraine will be resolved peacefully very soon.  While we could see some minor moves here and there, the broader picture suggests more instability and continued violent confrontation.  Whether or not this will devolve into a full-scale war with Russia is harder to say.  Certainly, the chart doesn't rule out that possibility. 

Financial Markets Update

Stocks climbed last week as the European Central Bank cut rates yet again in its continuing effort to stimulate its stagnant economy.  Friday's jobs report was good enough to push US stocks higher to another record as the Dow closed at 16,924.  Indian shares fared even better on optimism over anticipated financial and energy reforms.  The Sensex also hit a new record closing at 25,396.  I thought we might have seen a little more turbulence around the Mercury retrograde station on June 7th although I did note that the Sun aspects in the first half of the week argued for more upside. 

This week could see some significant moves in both directions as there are a number of short term aspects in play.  Venus opposes Saturn around midweek so that loads the cosmic dice in favour of the bears.  This particular opposition is perhaps less negative than it otherwise would be because Uranus also joins the alignment.  This may modify the immediately negative effect of Saturn.  Nasty Mars squares Pluto late in the week which in normal times would correlate with declines.  Here again, there is a potential mitigating factor in the simultaneous Sun-Jupiter aspect on Friday.  On the face of it, the negative influences would appear to outweigh the positives, but the market has been so positive lately -- especially in India -- this outcome is far from certain.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Gold falls to $1250 on deflation fears

(1 June 2014)  As the old saying goes, all that glitters is not gold.  Perhaps including gold itself. The safe haven precious metal of choice decline sharply last week as it broke through an important technical support level.   Deflationary fears compelled more investors to hit the sell button, as gold finished the week at $1250.  As a traditional hedge against inflation and currency debasement from central bank money printing, gold is now the commodity that nobody wants.  The Federal Reserve is tapering its controversial QE program and thus reducing the amount of its own money printing.  Strike one for gold.  Inflation is not much of a threat in most developed economies as Europe remains mired in recession with sub-1% inflation and the US revised its Q1 GDP figures down to -1% with only 1.5% inflation.  Strike two for gold.  Last week, Japan released new data that showed sharply lower retail sales which would similarly reduce growth prospects for the current year.  That could well add up to strike three for gold. 

Since the meltdown in 2008, governments have tried to stimulate their sagging economies through various Keynesian spending measures (e.g. TARP) and central bank interventions which has the net effect of printing money.  These government efforts were the main reason why gold more than doubled in price from $800 in 2008 to over $1900 in September 2011.  The bull market in gold was primarily fueled by the expectation that all this government spending and money printing would create inflation.  Since gold is a hedge against inflation, many investors bid up the price in order to protect against a potential decline in the purchasing power of their own paper currencies.  The problem is that the inflation never happened, at least not in the developed world.  Emerging markets such as India, China and the Middle East did suffer a serious bout of inflation, in part due to the actions of central banks in the US and the EU.  However, most developed economies were so mired in debt and excess labor supply (i.e. unemployment), that it seems that no amount of government stimulus could resuscitate those economies so that any kind of inflationary dynamic took hold.  Without inflation and with central banks taking more of a hands-off approach, there isn't much reason to own gold.  At least not in the short term. 

Gold's decline this week correlated with two difficult planetary alignments involving the main planetary proxies for gold, Venus and the Sun.  Tuesday's Venus-Ketu conjunction is a kind of wild card pairing with value-seeking Venus conjoined with anti-materialist Ketu (the Sanskrit name for the South Lunar Node).  While not always negative for gold, the Ketu influence increases the possibility of a decline.  Wednesday's Sun-Neptune square aspect is a higher probability negative influence on gold since Neptune tends to weaken whatever planets its aligns with.  The Sun has a strong symbolic connection with gold so any weakness conferred to the Sun will usually manifest as a decline in the gold price.  That Neptune influence was a central reason why I predicted more downside for gold in last week's investor newsletter.

In a previous post
, I suggested that gold likely had further to fall and did not look like a good investment for 2014.  So far, this prediction has been borne out as gold has fallen from $1380 in March to $1250 now.  I noted a difficult tertiary progressed pattern in the summer that might coincide with a low point.  Given the fairly generous margin of error with progressions, it is difficult to pin down just when this low might occur.  It seems unlikely that we are there yet, however, so I would expect gold to fall further from its current level. 

The upcoming Saturn-Uranus double station on July 20-21 could be a significant marker for gold and many other financial markets.   This is an extremely rare celestial event which bears close watching.  It is unusual enough that two outer planets like Saturn and Uranus should change direction within one day of each other.  But what makes this Saturn-Uranus double station extra-special is that the two planets will be in a close 150-degree alignment with each other.  As a rule, planets that form angles that are multiples of 30 degrees will have more of an impact of collective sentiment.  Since Saturn is one of the two planets involved here, there is good reason to expect pessimism and caution to be front and center around this pattern.   The fact that Saturn (22 Libra) will form a fairly close square aspect to the natal Mars (20 Cancer) in the Gold 1919 chart offers more reason to expect that gold prices will continue to be under pressure.

Financial Markets Update

US stocks extended their winning ways last week as the Dow closed at a new all-time high of 16,717.  The economy may not be recovering fast enough to cause inflation or any kind of wage growth but it is still fast enough for Wall Street.  Indian stocks saw some profit taking as modest GDP projections for the year dampened the post-election euphoria.  The Sensex lost 2% closing at 24,217.   As expected, we did see some early week gains across the board on the Mercury-Venus-Ketu aspect while more weakness was evident around the midweek Sun-Neptune square.

This week may revolve around the effects of next Saturday's Mercury retrograde station (June 7).  Markets will be closed when Mercury reverses, of course, but its effects could manifest at the end of the week.  The key is not so much that retrograde stations are bad (or good) but that this one occurs while forming an exact 135-degree angle with bearish Saturn.  To be sure, the 135-degree angle doesn't have the same probable impact of the 90 or 180 degree angles, but it may be worth watching nonetheless.  The first half of the week has the Sun aligning with Uranus and Pluto which can sometimes indicate greater collective confidence and hence, rising prices.