Sunday, August 10, 2014

Ebola outbreak declared global health emergency

(10 August 2014)  Last week the WHO declared the current Ebola outbreak a world health emergency as the virus has yet to be contained and the number of deaths approaches 1000.  The latest outbreak began in February and has since affected four West African countries leading to the closing of borders, many village-level quarantines and widespread fear.   Health officials on the ground say the virus is out of control as the number of cases continues to increase exponentially.  The current outbreak is by far the worst since Ebola first appeared in 1976 in Sudan and Congo. 

There are a few possible astrological observations here.  First, it may not be coincidental that the outbreak reached this emergency status while Saturn and Uranus both stationed in a very close alignment in late July.  As I have noted previously, this simultaneous station of Saturn (22 Libra) and Uranus (22 Pisces) was bound to mark some significant troubles in the world.  We have seen an upsurge in conflict and military violence in the past several weeks (Gaza, Ukraine, Iraq) alongside the worst outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus.  It is clearly a very worrisome time.  Saturn is the most malefic planet, of course, and at its worst it symbolizes loss, death, illness and suffering.  Uranus is a more unpredictable planet which is often prominent in situations marked by sudden and unexpected developments.  Together, these two distant planets are very apt markers for a somewhat mysterious and deadly disease that has a fatality rate of over 50%.

The really interesting thing about Ebola is that the Saturn-Uranus connection was quite prominent in the very first recorded case of Ebola on 27 June 1976 in Sudan.  To be sure, it is impossible to know the exact "birth" of Ebola (i.e when the first human was infected).  I also don't know exactly when in the fall of 1976 that the virus was given the Ebola name as this might also have created a viable birth chart.  But we do know when the first person with symptoms came to seek treatment. Although imperfect, this is the best "index case" for the virus and therefore is a plausible enough basis for casting a horoscope. 

The most dominant characteristic of this chart is the near exact square aspect between -- you guessed it -- Saturn and Uranus.  These planets reflect the dangerous and unpredictable nature of the virus as it suddenly appears and then disappears over two dozen times over the past forty years. The first case chart is also noteworthy for the opposition aspect between Mercury (communication, interaction) and Neptune (illness) which is quite appropriate for a contagious viral disease.  The gruesome deadliness of the virus's manifested symptoms may be seen through the exact 45 degree aspect between Mars and Pluto. 

If the virus itself was primarily marked by the cosmic imprint of Saturn and Uranus planetary energies working together, then it is not too surprising that we should see Ebola return once again when the energies of these two planets were again front and center.  While their alignment now not in a square aspect, the 150 degree angular separation is none the less significant, especially since both planets stationed (i.e. reversed their direction) on 20-21 July.  Stationary planets are at their most powerful in terms of influence.  We may also speculate if the transit of Jupiter (11 Cancer) to conjoin the natal Saturn (9 Cancer) is one reason for Ebola's continued spread to global emergency status at the present time.  Jupiter is the planet of expansion and growth and its influence on Saturn would suggest that the outbreak is still growing.

But what lies ahead?  If this chart is usable -- admittedly a big if -- then we could see the virus come under greater control around the time when Mars conjoins Saturn on 25 August.  This conjunction aligns with the natal Mercury in the Ebola horoscope so that may reflect some significant new obstacle in the spread of the virus.  Rahu's aspect to Mercury will tighten further in the coming weeks and could signal further interruption in the spread of the virus in September.  I would also think that we could see Ebola's spread significantly contained or even stopped by October as Saturn aspects both Jupiter (27 Aries) and Mars (0 Leo) at that time.  The first week of October sees Mercury turn retrograde in close square aspect to Saturn and may reflect a blocking of transmission, either through strict quarantine or, more optimistically, through the introduction of a vaccine.  The Mars opposition to natal Mercury occurs around the same time and is likely to reflect significant progress against this Ebola outbreak.

This analysis is more than a little tenuous given the poor quality of the data involved.  Hopefully, the current outbreak will give us two more start-stop data points against which the original chart data can be assessed and improved.

Financial Markets Update

Stock markets were mixed last week as the Ukrainian crisis seemed to lessen after Russia pulled some of its troops back from the border.  The Dow moved modestly higher closing at 16,553 while the Indian Sensex edged lower to 25,329.  I thought we might see some downside, especially later in the week on the Sun-Saturn aspect. Indian stocks did bottom out on Friday very close to this bearish aspect.  US stocks had been fairly negative until Friday but enjoyed a small rebound on that day. 

This week could see more mixed markets as Mercury and the Sun align with Ketu.  These are aspects that often foretell unexpected or counterintuitive moves in sentiment.  Venus approaches its conjunction with bullish Jupiter late in the week (although it is exact on Monday the 18th) so that could briefly boost some stocks.  The ongoing presence of the Saturn-Uranus aspect still looks like an enormous cloud over the proceedings, however.