Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Make America White Again: Trump defends white supremacists

(16 August 2017) The shameless presidency of Donald Trump appeared to hit a new low this week in the wake of ugly racist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.  A rally of alt-right white supremacists degenerated into a riot following clashes with anti-racist protesters which saw three people killed and many more injured.  Trump was widely criticized for his initial Saturday statement in which he did not clearly blame the neo-Nazis as the instigators of the violence.  Bowing to pressure, he was forced to issue another more pointed condemnation on Monday although to many it sounded scripted and hollow.  But then yesterday's rambling and angry press conference saw Trump incredibly revert back to his original view which held that "both sides" were equally culpable.

Trump has come under widespread criticism from many quarters including many from within his own party, and now seven CEOs have chosen to quit the President's Manufacturing Council rather than risk being associated with the White House.  As the Trump presidency becomes more toxic one may well ask what will happen next.  Will Trump become so besieged and isolated that he has to resign or can he get a much-needed political "win" to arrest the current downward spiral of his chaotic, failing administration?

I think things are going to get worse for Trump before they get better.  As I have noted previously, Trump's horoscope is massively afflicted for the next few weeks.  Even from very early in his term, we could look ahead and see that the Saturn station on August 25th at 27 Scorpio was going to be trouble for him.  This pattern was one big reason why I thought Trump's first year in office would be so bad.  Saturn will station atop his Moon and Ketu conjunction in his 4th house for several weeks on either side of the station date. 

Trump has been put on the defensive over Charlottesville because the transiting Sun is in near exact alignment with his natal Ketu.  The Sun represents the ego and self while Ketu (the South Lunar Node) is the symbolic opposite of those qualities as it often coincides with unexpected situations that oppose our wishes.  Ketu usually denies the ego when it is in transit and the weakening of Trump's Sun this week is a direct consequence of this Ketu contact. 

Normally, this faster-moving Sun-to-Ketu transit -- lasting just a day or two -- wouldn't be too difficult.   But its effects are more pointed since Trump's chart is in terrible shape from the slower-moving transits of Saturn and the Nodes, Rahu and Ketu.  And we haven't even mentioned the eclipse yet that hits Trump's Mars-Ascendant conjunction next Monday!  There's a lot of energy running through his chart in the next few weeks.  Certainly, this period will prove even more eventful and intense than anything we've seen so far this summer.

It is interesting to see how this current setback for Trump can be seen in both the Inauguration and PEOTUS charts.  At the time of Saturday's rally and subsequent riot, Mars was at 20 degrees of Cancer -- exactly squaring the Ascendant and conjunct the equal 4th house cusp in the Inauguration chart (20 Jan 2017 12.00 pm).  Mars is the planet of violence and war and it aligns exactly with the Ascendant of the chart, which represents the antagonism and conflict.

The PEOTUS chart also sees Mars figuring prominently as Mars (20 Cancer) casts its square aspect to the Sun (23 Libra).  As the symbol of leaders, the Sun represents the president and it is afflicted by disputatious Mars.  Additionally, we can see that Trump's problems with communication and messaging are highlighted by retrograde Mercury (17 Leo) in close conjunction with Rahu (16 Leo).  Rahu tends to distort or disrupt whatever planet it is associated with so its connection with Mercury, the planet of speech and communication, is quite appropriate.  Due to Mercury's low retrograde velocity, it will remain in conjunction with Rahu for most of this week.  This will be bad news for Trump who may wish to rise above the fray and appear presidential.  The Mercury-Rahu influence suggest that communications will remain subject to misunderstanding and distortion. 

The other thing to remember about the PEOTUS chart is that it is running Rahu-Saturn dasha period.  Dasha lord Rahu is placed in the 12th house indicating a presidency that is isolated and marked by deception and delusion.   Intriguingly, Rahu is also the planet that symbolizes foreigners so it is no surprise perhaps that the Russia investigation hangs over the Trump White House.    The shadow from this investigation about foreign influence over the Trump administration will likely linger for the rest of his term.  Rahu in the 12th isn't always so bad, but in this Rahu is doubly afflicted by the full strength aspects of Mars (from the 5th) and Saturn (from the 3rd).  Therefore, the worst side of Rahu's qualities are therefore more likely to be reflected in this presidency.  

Trump's upcoming planets

Next week also looks difficult and could well be worse. Transiting Mars (27 Cancer) aligns with his Ketu (27 Scorpio) for most of the week and could cause him to become even more angry and frustrated.  It also increases the likelihood of Trump having to deal with another violent situation.  Mars is also very strong in the Inauguration chart late next week as it will exactly align with the Mars-Saturn square in that chart.  It could reflect a very tense and dangerous situation.  Similarly, Mars squares Mercury in the PEOTUS chart late next week. 

Mars is also active in the Inauguration chart as it casts its full strength and perhaps most malefic aspect to natal Mars.  Again, the theme is violence and conflict.  At the same time, the Sun will conjoin retrograde Mercury on Aug 25-26 and will also conjoin the natal Rahu (9 Leo) in this chart.  I think this suggests deception, intrigue and possible scandal.  New Russia revelations are possible under this configuration.  Rahu's prominence could also mean that troubles involving foreigners (e.g. North Korea) are also more likely to occur at that time. 

The picture gets worse the following week at Mars and Mercury align on the solar eclipse point at 4 Leo.  As it happens, this is just one degree from Trump's Mars and again creates a configuration where conflict and violence is more likely.  In the PEOTUS chart the Mercury-Mars conjunction sits on the 12th house cusp symbolizing loss, secrets, and incoherence. The time window of the closest alignment is September 2-5 although the first week as a whole looks volatile.   I don't know what will happen at this time but it looks like it could represent a kind of "peaking of energy" for the US and Trump. 

As I have written previously, I don't think a resignation is the most likely outcome at this time.  The key charts are certainly afflicted but not really enough to persuade me that Trump will go.  The Pence chart (birth time unknown) isn't strong enough to reflect a gain for him that would occur if Trump resigned.  Also key Democrat charts such as Obama or the Clintons should be strong if Trump was on the way out.  Obama's chart definitely has some bright spots but if Trump was really resigning in September, then I would think he would be very happy indeed and it would show up more clearly.  After all, his soft approach to the Russian hacking of the 2016 election campaign was arguably one reason why Trump ended up winning.

Obama is running his Saturn-Mercury dasha period so transits to those planets might be more telling of key events in his life.  Tr. Venus does make a nice conjunction to his Mercury on Aug 26-27 so that could indicate some good news.  Whether it is related to the Trump dumpster fire is hard to say.   Saturn is stationing near his 11th house cusp in late August and will remain there for a couple weeks afterwards.  Since Saturn is ruler of the 1st house, there is a greater likelihood of significant gains and wishes that are fulfilled.  However, the Mercury Rx-Mars conjunction in early September at 4 Leo hits his Rahu almost exactly..  That doesn't seem very good and if anything looks like a time of confusion and (tense) sudden change. Whether it turns out to be good vibes, it is unlikely to last very long.  Ketu hits Obama's Ascendant in Oct-Nov just as Saturn squares up his Mars. 

Perhaps the strength in Obama's chart reflects some serious political or legal damage to Trump here in late summer which may not be enough to force him to resign.  I would be more comfortable predicting that sort of less dramatic scenario than a full-on resignation. 

Weekly Market Forecast

Stocks remain fairly buoyant this week as US retail data came in above expectations.  After suffering a decline last Thursday, stocks have generally rebounded as the Dow is now back above 22,000.  Indian shares have fared worse, however, as the Sensex took a substantial hit last week.  This week has only seen a modest bounce as it is still below 31,500.  In last week's market forecast, I was expecting a mixed picture although I thought we might have seen more downside early this week.

Further gains are possible today (Wednesday) and even tomorrow (Thursday) as Venus aligns with Jupiter and Pluto. but Friday looks less positive as the Sun conjoins Rahu (North Lunar Node) while Venus forms a minor alignment with Saturn.  Of course, next week begins with the total eclipse of the Sun across the US.  Eclipse days are not always bad for stocks so some early week upside is possible.   However, I would think caution will be on the rise during the course of the week as Mars approaches its conjunction with Rahu. 

For more details and analysis on market trends for this week, this month and this year, please check out my weekly MVA Investor Newsletter.  The newsletter is published every Saturday and includes extended discussion of US and Indian stock markets, as well as gold, oil and major currencies.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

August eclipses and the markets: echoes of the 1998 Russia crisis?

(9 August 2017)  They say history doesn't repeat itself, but it often rhymes.  At its core, astrology is the study of repeating planetary cycles.  Since the motion of each planet adheres to a predictable pattern, so too may symbolic correspondences of planets manifest in events of a similar nature according to a predetermined time frame.  Predictions are therefore rooted in the presumption that the clockwork-like repeatability of each planetary cycle can form the basis of the understanding of future trends.

Eclipses also follow their own cycle.  Every 18 or 19 years, the lunar and solar eclipse pair returns to the same place in the sky.  Monday's lunar eclipse occurred at 21 degrees of sidereal Capricorn and the much-anticipated total solar eclipse will take place across the continental US at 4 degrees of Leo.  As it happens, this is exactly where the eclipses occurred 19 years ago. almost to the day, in August 1998.  A lunar eclipse happened on August 8th at 21 Capricorn and a solar eclipse followed on the 22nd at 4 Leo -- just one day after this year's eclipse pair. 

One very important event took place in August 1998 during this eclipse period.  Russia suffered a major financial crisis in which its currency lost 75% of its value within just a few weeks.  The ruble crisis marked the beginning of the end of Boris Yeltsin's government and set the stage for the rise of his successor, Vladimir Putin in 1999.  While the Russian ruble crisis was devastating for the Russian economy, it also sent shock waves around the world.  US stocks lost 12% of their value over just one week at the end of August. 

Could this happen again this year?  I think it could, although we should note that eclipses are only one part of a larger pattern of planetary configurations.  If these placements are connected in some significant way according to the rules of astrology, then noteworthy events are more likely to occur.  For a major event to take place, we usually need to see: 1) a close alignment of slow moving planets which are activating the natal chart in an obvious way for good or ill; 2) an eclipse should take place either near a sensitive point or key planet or in aspect to it in the natal chart; and 3) the eclipse point (either lunar or solar) should then be transited by another planet at some point after the eclipse has taken place.  The presence of other simultaneous aspects may intensify the post-eclipse effects, say if the chart is strongly marked by malefic or benefic alignments. 

The 1998 Russian Financial Crisis

In the 1998 Russian financial crisis, the Russia chart was under strong affliction by transiting Saturn (9 Aries) which was closely aspecting both Venus and natal Saturn.   Even more telling was that Saturn stationed retrograde on August 15th, just two days before the crisis began in earnest.  This greatly amplified the negative effects of Saturn as its restrictive energy was transferred to the Venus-Saturn square in the natal chart.  We can also see the transits were made more potent in August 1998 since Rahu was in close trine (5th house) aspect with Saturn and thus transiting Ketu (7 Aquarius) was in alignment with Venus (9 Libra).   Venus carried an added importance since it was dasha lord as the chart was running its Venus-Mercury period.  Both planets are clearly afflicted natally: Venus by Saturn's square and retrograde Mercury is combust the Sun.  Venus rules the 11th house (Taurus) of income and is a natural planetary significator of the economy.

The lunar eclipse on August 8th fell one degree from the 7th house cusp (20 Capricorn) and may be interpreted as destabilizing the entire chart since it is opposite the most sensitive point, the Ascendant. The crisis reached its maximum on August 26th when the Russian government suspended all trading in the ruble.  The ruble was no longer convertible to other currencies, thus preventing what would have been an even worse situation.  It was on August 26th that the crisis hit other financial markets as US stocks began their sharp decline.  And the transits bear out this difficulty as Mars (9 Cancer) was exactly square Venus and opposite natal Saturn.  It is true that the eclipse points were not subject to clearly negative transits during this time.  However, it is worth noting that retrograde Mercury has just stationed direct on the Ascendant and opposite the lunar eclipse point at 22 Cancer two days before trading in the ruble was suspended.  

To be clear, I am not predicting a similar crisis for Russia at this time.  That's because while the eclipses fall in the same places, the level of affliction to the Russia national chart is not as severe.  As in 1998, Saturn is stationing again, although this time is going direct at 27 Scorpio.  But the placement of Saturn does aspect any other planet very closely.  It does form a trine aspect with the Midheaven (MC) but that could indicate problems with government and leadership (Putin) rather than the economy.  I think Russia is more likely to become prominent in the news around the time that Mars conjoins Rahu at 0 Leo and approaches the solar eclipse point at 4 Leo.  Coincidentally, this occurs in the last week of August right around the same time of the month that the 1998 crisis reached its peak.  

Interestingly, the point at which Mars conjoins Rahu at 0 Leo also falls just one degree from the Ascendant (1 Leo) of the Putin swearing-in horoscope from May 7, 2012.  Mars-Rahu conjunctions often symbolize sudden and unpredictable actions, up to and including military action.  Russian politics could therefore move into the forefront during this period.  I wonder if the Trump-Russia investigation will become more uncomfortable for Putin.  It's possible since Trump's chart is also under heavy pressure during that time.  But that is just one possible scenario.  As I have noted previously, the activation of Mars in the USA chart still looks more like military action.  The way things are going that may well mean something involving North Korea.  I hope to post something more specific on North Korea in the coming days.

The eclipse risk to global stock markets

But the other takeaway here is that stock markets are vulnerable to declines given these similarities to 1998.  Again, the eclipses themselves are only part of the story.  The meat of it is the approaching Saturn-Rahu alignment which occurs around the time of a Saturn direct station. This is a difficult alignment that raises the risk of declines over the next month or two.  And this is the same alignment that occurred during August 1998 -- Saturn was aligned with Rahu (North Lunar Node) at a time when Saturn had stationed. 

We can see how these different factors played out in the horoscope of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (5.00 p.m., May 26, 1896). The eclipses in 1998 looked like they hit key points.  The initial lunar eclipse at 21 Capricorn was exactly square Saturn (21 Libra) and thus may have highlighted this bearish planet.  The solar eclipse two weeks later at 4 Leo was just one degree from Ketu (South Node).  Like Saturn, Ketu is considered a natural malefic which has a stronger correlation with declines.   The biggest decline occurred on August 31st when the Dow lost 6% in one day.

We can see the pattern of affliction fairly clearly: the usually troublesome inverse nodal conjunction as transiting Rahu conjoined Ketu.  The Saturn station at 9 Aries made for a fairly wide trine with natal Ketu (5 Leo) but still close enough to suggest problems.  Transiting Mars (13 Cancer) was conjunct Jupiter and aspected the Ascendant.  It also formed a larger alignment with the Moon-Jupiter-Mars grand trine pattern in the natal chart.  Mars is a malefic planet by nature and its opposition with Uranus (15 Capricorn) at the bottom of the chart could have added another layer of difficulty given the alignment with the Ascendant at 17 Libra.  This picture of affliction was also grounded by the ongoing conjunction of Pluto (11 Scorpio) to the Moon (13 Scorpio).

This time around the 21 Capricorn/4 Leo pairing of eclipse points will again activate malefics, Saturn and Ketu, as in 1998.  Transiting Saturn does not align with the natal nodes but rather only the transiting nodes.  This looks less problematic.  Saturn does align closely with the Midheaven but that seems like a weaker, second order affliction.  The nodes are again in an inverse conjunction, although Rahu is a full five degrees past exact.  But the worse part of it may be the closer aspect from Ketu to natal Mercury -- just two degrees.  Mercury is the ruler of the 12th house of loss in this chart so the Ketu aspect is more likely to be coincide with market weakness. 

The decline in 1998 occurred in the last week of August and that could well happen again.   That said, the strong eclipse-based pattern extends into the first week of September.  The Mars-Rahu conjunction looks quite negative and is more likely to coincide with some declines on Aug 28-31.  However, Mercury ends its retrograde cycle while in conjunction with Mars at 4 Leo around September 3-5 near Labor Day.  And that is exactly atop the solar eclipse point!  And that is likely to bring more bad news for the Dow since that is close to the natal Ketu at 5 Leo.  September as a whole looks like it could produce a more complex market as the current period of calm is unlikely to continue into the early fall.

Weekly Market Forecast

US stocks remain near record highs this week despite growing nervousness over the North Korean situation.  Asian and European markets sold-off today as both sides ratcheted up the war-mongering rhetoric.  US stocks are slightly negative at midday Wednesday with the Dow still trading above 22,000.  Indian stocks have trended lower so far this week as the Sensex closed Wednesday at 31,797.   This mixed outcome is not surprising as I thought last week would likely be bullish but this week looked more difficult.  That has proven to be the case in most markets, although not quite yet in the US. 

The rest of this week is similarly a mixed picture.  Some midweek upside seems possible given the Sun's alignment with Jupiter and Pluto today and tomorrow.  However, Friday and particularly early next week look more difficult as Mars conjoins the lunar eclipse point at 21 Capricorn and also aligns with Venus. 

For more details and analysis on market trends for this week, this month and this year, please check out my weekly MVA Investor Newsletter.  The newsletter is published every Saturday and includes extended discussion of US and Indian stock markets, as well as gold, oil and major currencies.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Eclipsing of Trump? What to expect from the August 21st solar eclipse

(1 August 2017) Off the top, I want to apologize to my non-American readers who may be getting tired of these constant posts about Donald Trump and the current state of US politics.  And readers hoping for more explicitly financial content may be feeling similarly indifferent to my interpretation of the never-ending melodrama that is taking place in Washington, DC.  And yet, I find there is no more important story going on in the world right now as it has major ramifications far beyond the borders of the US. 

The United States seems to be descending into a state of political chaos as the Trump administration continues to struggle.  The once-great superpower and beacon of democracy now seems intent on its re-invention as dysfunctional authoritarian state as the Trump presidency is in danger of coming off the rails.  Trumpists knew that "Making America Great Again" wasn't going to be easy given the entrenched interests on the other side but his sagging approval ratings even among conservatives now suggest his hold on the office may be in jeopardy.

Where does it all end?  Each day brings news of a fresh White House dismissal (turn the Mooch loose!) or revelation of transgressions or misdeeds with respect to the ongoing Russia investigation.  Trump's legislative ineptitude has only made him more politically vulnerable as Congress becomes more skeptical of his leadership.   John McCain's "no" vote on health care may only have been the thin edge of the GOP wedge to come.  Unless something changes very soon, Trump could lose broader GOP support in the Senate and that could begin a chain reaction that gets impeachment proceedings underway.  "President Pence" no longer seems so far-fetched.  The Trump White House hopes that yesterday's appointment of the new Chief of Staff, General John Kelly, can turn things around.

Even worse, Trump's precarious position opens up the possibility of a gratuitous use of military power, if for no other reason than to distract and change the conversation.  Bill Clinton famously succumbed to this "Wag the Dog" distraction technique during the Monica Lewinsky impeachment hearings.   At least he had the good sense to pick the strategically less important target of Sudan where the risk of retaliation was minimal.  But what if Trump decides he needs to "fix" a more volatile situation like North Korea, which has nuclear weapons?  No wonder so many people are in a state of worried disbelief about the direction of the US government. 

Many astrologers are quite pessimistic about Trump's situation, myself included.  In astrological terms, the central problem is highlighted by the upcoming total solar eclipse on August 21st.   We are staring down the barrel of a portentous solar eclipse at 4 degrees of Leo that occurs very close to Trump's Ascendant (6 Leo by sidereal reckoning, although the eclipse has similar importance for both Western tropical and Vedic sidereal astrologers).   The eclipse also has the unusual quality of being wholly visible only in the continental US.  The last time this happened was June 1918.  This may therefore be seen to be a uniquely American eclipse not only in terms of viewing, but also potentially in its real-life consequences.

Eclipses are traditionally seen as harbingers of doom as astrologers seek to correlate negative events with all solar and lunar eclipses.  But a little confirmation bias can go a long way when the weight of centuries of tradition is invoked.   Instead, we should acknowledge that the evidence of event correlation is actually inconclusive as most eclipses do not clearly correlate with any major events.  Of course, we can always point to this or that eclipse as seemingly foretelling of some unfortunate event (e.g. the Turkish earthquake in 1999 that occurred six days after a total solar eclipse over Turkey), but it is not a reliable correlation.  Many eclipses come and go without any clear ties to a significant incident.   But perhaps if we attach some other co-factors and conditions, there may be a better way of understanding how eclipses could work.

One key co-factor is that the eclipse needs to hit some major points in the relevant national horoscope or its equivalents.  What makes this eclipse potentially more important, therefore, is how it interplays with the key horoscopes of President Trump, the USA itself, and the November 9th PEOTUS chart.  As I have noted previously, Trump's chart is hugely afflicted in August and September.  Saturn stations direct at 27 Scorpio on August 25th in a close conjunction with his Moon-Ketu conjunction.  By itself, that is a very nasty alignment which may correspond with a sense of disappointment, isolation and loss.  Plus, transiting Ketu (South Lunar Node) will form an exact trine aspect to his Sun (29 Taurus) in late August.  Ketu-to-Sun aspects often mark periods where the ego is put on the defensive or interrupted by changing or sudden circumstances.  Trump's Sun is more pivotal in this respect because it rules Leo, which is his 1st house/chart ruler.  In Vedic terms, since the Sun is Trump's lagnesh, any aspects, for good or ill, take on a heightened importance. The Ketu influence on his Sun combined with the Saturn influence on his Moon seems like an inescapable one-two punch.  Both lights of the chart are therefore aligned with malefics around the same time. 

At the time of the eclipse, Mars (26 Scorpio) is close at hand also as it is situated just behind Rahu (29 Cancer) and aligns tightly with Trump's Ketu.  Mars injects a lot more energy into the overall eclipse alignment and makes it more negative in its possible effects.  The fact that Mars and Rahu are so close to Trump's Mars-Ascendant duo is another reason why Trump is likely to experience a sharp increase in stress at this time.  Clearly, this is not a run-of-the-mill eclipse.  The close involvement of Mars and Saturn makes it more dangerous and therefore I would argue more likely to correlate with a difficult event.  The fact that the chart of the US President is also closely activated by the eclipse would seem to give more support to this view.

The US horoscope hints that the eclipse effects may have a national resonance.  One reason is that the solar eclipse point at 4 Leo will form a close opposition aspect to the Moon of the USA at 7 Aquarius.  The Moon represents the people as a whole, as well as the national psyche and mood.  The eclipse point comes fairly close to the the Moon opposition so there is a stronger case to be made for major repercussions from this eclipse.  Of course, the larger problem for this chart is the multiple afflictions to Mars (0 Gemini).  The Saturn station opposite Mars hints at intense conflictive energy with a dangerous or violent manifestation.  And the Lunar Nodes are in the picture once again as Ketu (0 Aquarius) forms its trine/5th house aspect to Mars almost exactly.  The presence of these two aspects involving malefic planets to Mars, the planet of war, is just not good no matter how you slice it. 

It is possible to make a case that the ever-belligerent Donald Trump is symbolized by Mars and that these afflictions to the USA's Mars indicate intense pressure on Trump, perhaps even resignation.  And yet I would think that a resignation or removal scenario would require more chart afflictions to the Sun and the 10th house which are the typical significators of the head of government.  So I would say resignation is conceivable but I don't think it provides the best fit for the chart patterns. 

The horoscope for President-Elect of the United States (PEOTUS) also has some telling hits at the time of the eclipse.  The eclipse point at 4 Leo sits almost exactly on the equal 12th house cusp of this chart.  The 12th house represents losses and sorrows so that would suggest a negative situation for either the country or Trump, or perhaps for both.  But the added affliction here is that the eclipse point is aspected by 8th house aspect from natal Mars at 6 Capricorn.  This is a more volatile influence that speaks to sudden events having a martial character.  And with Uranus sitting at 4 Aries near the 8th house cusp, the chart appears to have too much dangerous energy for a constructive or positive outcome.

In addition, Mars is square the Sun in late August so that may translate into conflict involving leaders.  Well, that is not really news since Trump is constantly involved in conflict of one type or another.  However, transiting Mercury (14 Leo) is conjunct the natal Rahu (15 Leo) at the time of the eclipse on the 21st.  Usually, this only refers to situations of confusion or miscommunication in the worst case.  But here, Mercury is lagnesh since it rules Virgo, the sign in the first house.  With the chart ruler Mercury subjected to Rahuvian disruption there is an added sense of uncertainty.  It is even possible that we could see some kind of eclipse hysteria emerge at that time as the self-fulfilling prophecy of all this eclipse talk in the media takes center stage. 

Eclipse events: the time lag

But when discussing eclipses, it is important to remember that any linked events are unlikely to occur on the day of the eclipse.  There can be a time lag.   One simple timing technique focuses on the transits of malefic planets to the eclipse point.  The aforementioned 1999 Turkish earthquake occurred when transiting Mars aligned with the eclipse point by square within a degree or two.  The 1906 San Francisco earthquake that killed 3000 people occurred more than two months after an eclipse period.  But it is worth noting that the earthquake happened  just as transiting Ketu conjoined the lunar eclipse point at 27 Capricorn and Mars had just passed a backwards square aspect to that same point by three degrees.  It isn't quite clockwork but it definitely qualifies as interesting

That previous total solar eclipse in the US in 1918 may have foretold the Spanish flu epidemic that killed over 500,000 people in the US.  While the flu outbreak occurred in the spring, it first appeared to be a typical flu outbreak with low levels of mortality.  However, a much more deadly second wave hit in late summer and early fall.  This deadly second flu wave coincided with the transit of Ketu over the June eclipse point at 24 degrees of Taurus. 

Fortunately, the August solar eclipse occurs with Rahu having already passed the Sun-Moon conjunction.  That means that Rahu (the North Lunar Node) cannot act as a trigger for any untoward events.  Rahu and Ketu are arguably more problematic as planetary influences since they move quite slowly.  However, Mars will be moving across the solar eclipse point in early September about two weeks after the eclipse.  We should therefore pay closer attention to that time window for any possible eclipse effects.  September 2-4 sees an exact conjunction of Mars to the eclipse point and with a conjunction of stationing Mercury thrown in for good measure.  Even then, I would allow for a few days margin of error to see if anything is going to happen. 

But as I noted above, eclipses do not always have to have a clear connection with events.  In a sense, the various Trump-related charts I've outlined above don't even need an eclipse to foretell increasing problems in the coming weeks.  The other afflictions would be sufficient reason to predict deepening stress and troubles for the White House.  The eclipse may only act as an additional trigger or catalyst for whatever may be coming.  Overall, I think some kind of exercise of military power fits better with the alignments here, although nailing down the precise type of event is very speculative.  Hopefully, I will be able to better narrow down the possibilities next week.

Weekly Market Forecast

Despite the turmoil in Washington, US stocks continue to touch all-time highs as corporate earnings remain strong.  The Dow is on the verge of passing 22,000 as the Trump rally is about to enter its ninth month.   India's Sensex has also pushed to new highs at 32,500 on a positive monsoon outlook and more signs of recovery from the EU.  

The current rally appears to correlate with this week's Jupiter-Pluto alignment. While I thought we might have seen a bit more downside in late July on the Sun-Mars conjunction, the presence of this bullish Jupiter influence in early August hinted at more upside.  We could see more record highs this week and perhaps even into next week or the week after.  However, Monday's lunar eclipse (August 7th) looks quite volatile given the proximity of Mars.  I would think that stocks are more likely to decline, at least in the first half of next week. 

And just to reiterate, the rest of August and September look much more problematic for financial markets.  The combined effects of the eclipses, the Saturn station and the Ketu-Saturn alignment look like formidable celestial obstacles for the stock market.

For more details and analysis on market trends for this week, this month and this year, please check out my weekly MVA Investor Newsletter.  The newsletter is published every Saturday and includes extended discussion of US and Indian stock markets, as well as gold, oil and major currencies.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

GOP health bill fails as Mars undermines Trump

(19 July 2017) The besieged Trump administration suffered another setback this week as the Senate health care bill failed to come to a vote.  Despite taking extra time during the early July break, Mitch McConnell's Republicans could not find the 50 votes to get it passed.  The failure highlights the divisions in the GOP and the inability of President Donald Trump to bring together the moderate and far right wings in the party. 

This latest failure may also be seen as a consequence of the difficult transit of Mars through sidereal Cancer in Trump's 12th house of loss.  As noted last week, Mars entered Trump's 12th whole sign house (as per standard Vedic astrology parameters) on July 11th just as the scandal involving a meeting between his son and the Russians exploded in the media.  The health care morass indicates that Mars is continuing to undermine Trump's hopes and ambitions.   Mars will remain in the sign of Cancer until August 26th and could therefore exert an extended negative influence on Trump.  With Saturn stationing on his volatile Moon-Ketu conjunction (and Rahu aspecting it also) also through that time, the summer looks pretty stressful for him. 

After years of talking up its plan to "repeal and replace" Obamacare, the GOP looks lost at the moment as it will try to regroup and find a new path on health care.  As I noted back in March, I think the GOP will have a better opportunity to realize its campaign promise next year as the Obamacare horoscope looks more difficult in 2018.  This would suggest that Obamacare is more likely to not only be repealed by 2018 but also replaced with a new plan. 

The difficulty for the Obamacare horoscope (March 23, 2010) is that Saturn is due to transit the first half of Sagittarius (i.e. the 7th house) throughout 2018.  This transit will therefore oppose both the Moon and the Ascendant.  This double dose of Saturn is rarely a positive influence in any chart.  Additional tense transits such as the square of Uranus and Mars and the conjunction of Rahu to Mars transit underline the severity of the stresses upon Obamacare.  I would think there is a high likelihood that it will be mostly or completely replaced by the midterm elections in November 2018. 

I had wondered if the GOP might be able to get something done here, however.  In a June post, I noted that there were some noteworthy planetary aspects in the charts of the principals as well as some significant troubles in the Obamacare chart.  Mostly,  I was seeing a lot of tension from the upcoming Saturn-Rahu alignment in August as well as the more immediate Sun-Mars conjunction this week (July 21-22).  The Sun-Mars conjunction hits the Obamacare Mars at 7 Cancer almost exactly.  This may not always be a negative development although it usually indicates stressful situations at the very least.  Could Trump and the GOP pull a rabbit out of the hat at the end of this week and somehow claim at least a symbolic victory?  It's possible but I wouldn't bet on it either.  The planetary picture is not straight forward.

Coincidentally, the Sun-Mars conjunction occurs right on the 12th house cusp of Donald Trump.  This is usually more difficult given the 12th house's association with losses and punishments.  It is very hard to think of this as an astrological signature of a "win" such as he would claim for even a partial repeal of Obamacare.  And yet the near-simultaneity of the transit to key points in both charts suggests a possible linkage.  Maybe Trump does something unexpected that exacerbates the health care stalemate. 

The importance of this week's Sun-Mars conjunction also shows up on the PEOTUS chart as an opposition to the natal Mars at 6 Capricorn.  This is closest on Friday and Saturday.  The aspect to Mars symbolizes strife and conflict, perhaps even violence.  The November 9th PEOTUS horoscope ought to be a reference for all matters that occur during Trump's term as president.  It could even represent events that do not involve him personally, although I would think it is more likely to symbolize events that pertain directly to him. 

The late week Sun-Mars conjunction hints at the possibility that we could see another chapter in this endless political wrangling over health care in DC.  A full or even partial repeal seems unlikely but there could be some interesting developments that could have ramifications down the road.  But the bottom line is that while Obamacare should remain in place now, it will be in serious jeopardy next year.  Even Barack Obama's horoscope is under heavy stress in September 2018 when Saturn stations direct opposite his Venus.  I wonder if his signature health care legislation will finally be superseded at that time.  Stay tuned.

Weekly Market Forecast

Investors shrugged off the GOP legislative failure as US stocks moved higher again this week.  The Dow is again approaching a new all-time high while the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ have already made new highs today.   Other markets have been more mixed.  India's Sensex has essentially moved sideways over the past several sessions as it again finished above 32,000 on Wednesday. 

This outcome was in keeping with last Wednesday's market forecast as I thought we could see some upside.  This week's Venus-Jupiter aspect looked somewhat bullish as did last week's Mercury-Jupiter alignment.

The rest of this week looks less positive, however, as the Moon and Venus oppose Saturn during the US trading day on Thursday.  The approach of the Sun-Mars conjunction next week also carries with it an added downside risk, especially in the first half of next week. 

For more details and analysis on market trends for this week, this month and this year, please check out my weekly MVA Investor Newsletter.  The newsletter is published every Saturday and includes extended discussion of US and Indian stock markets, as well as gold, oil and major currencies.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Trump's Russia troubles deepen with son's emails

(12 July 2017) The ongoing Russia controversy involving President Donald Trump has taken center stage again this week.  Following a story by the New York Times,  Trump's son Donald Trump Jr.  released emails that revealed that he had met with a well-connected Russian lawyer before the election in order to obtain damaging information about Hillary Clinton.  

The details of the emails make the strongest case yet that the Trump campaign had knowledge of the Russian hacking efforts intended to get Trump elected.  While this may or may not not qualify as a clear case of collusion, it raises more questions about the legitimacy of Trump's presidency, to say nothing of his political viability as the head of the executive branch.   And if these emails have come out as the result of an investigation by the NYT,  one can only imagine what the ongoing FBI and Senate investigations may find down the road.

This is a clear setback for the Trump administration.  Not surprisingly, the planets were negatively aligned against the key players here: President Trump, Donald Trump Jr., himself and yes, even Vladimir Putin.   Let's take a look at these horoscopes one at a time. 

As I suggested in a June post on Trump, I thought the entry of Mars into sidereal Cancer on July 11th would likely bring bad news for him.  Well, that's definitely come to pass given that the NYT story appeared on Tuesday, the 11th.  The reason why the entry of Mars into Cancer is stressful for Trump is that the sign of Cancer is in his 12th house of loss and sorrows -- among other things.  

Mars is a malefic planet and it is said to be debilitated during its seven-week long transit of Cancer.  It's most negative attributes of anger, frustration, and mistaken actions are believed to manifest more readily during this transit.  And in Trump's chart, it just so happens that he was born when Saturn was at 0 Cancer.  That's exactly where Mars is this week, along with the upcoming conjunction with Venus at 2 Cancer on Friday.  Mars-to-Saturn transits usually coincide with very stressful situations that can be frustrating and involve a lot of hard work.  They aren't always bad, but in Trump's chart, the likelihood of bad news is greater because Saturn is in Trump's 12th house.  All other things being equal, it's considered a bad house in Vedic astrology, as it is in traditional Western astrological systems. 

Donald Trump Jr.

While Mars is not prominent in the horoscope of his son, Donald Trump Jr., the chart is nonetheless clearly afflicted this week and indeed, for much of the summer.  We don't know when the son was born but even an approximated chart shows that transiting Mercury (15 Cancer) was conjunct natal Mars on Tuesday (=frustrations, intense situations, angry communications). 

But the deeper problem with the chart is that the upcoming Saturn station in late August at 27 Scorpio will exactly conjoin his natal Mercury (27 Scorpio).  Saturn-Mercury aspects imply slow or blocked progress, especially in business or communication-related matters.  Setbacks are also likely more common with this pairing although it often depends on other factors.  We can also see that Saturn is forming a difficult square aspect with his Leo Moon.  Depending on how close it really is, which is birth time dependent, Trump Jr. is likely feeling depressed and isolated and may well be on the defensive for the duration of this transit. 

Without his time of birth, it is difficult to say with confidence that Trump Jr. will remain under pressure for the rest of the summer.  And yet, the transit alignments do tend to lean towards that conclusion.   The transiting Sun-Mars conjunction in late July and early August will line up with his natal Mars suggesting a very intense and perhaps conflictive situation.  Perhaps he will be called to testify in the Senate investigation at that time.  It's one of many possibilities.  

Vladimir Putin

Perhaps the most intriguing chart of the three is is that of Russian President Vladimir Putin.  After Putin's apparent PR win at the G-20 meeting on the weekend, revelations about the Russia meeting with Trump's son could be a big embarrassment.   Outside of the Trump White House, there is already a broad consensus within Washington that Putin and Russia were involved in meddling in the US election with the aim of electing Trump.  Now there is evidence that links members of Trump's campaign to the Russian government. 

Mars (0 Cancer) is again very active in Putin's chart as it was exactly squaring his Mercury (0 Libra).  Mars-Mercury transits are typically involved in stressful situations involving bad news, especially involving sudden events where intentions and plans unexpectedly fail.   Of course, it hasn't been all bad for Putin, as last weekend's G-20 summit occurred just as the Jupiter-Sun conjunction was approaching exact at 20 Virgo.   But Putin will still have to contend with the approaching Rahu-to-Ketu conjunction which is due to be exact in the fall.   This will coincide with the return of Saturn to its own conjunction with Mars (3 Sagittarius) in October and November.   Both of these patterns suggest significant obstacles.  But just to be clear, Putin's chart looks much less afflicted than President Trump's in the coming months. 

Another unusually telling chart is the Putin swearing-in chart  Putin took the Russian presidential oath for his third term as president on 7 May 2012 at noon.  We can see how the discovery of the Trump Jr. emails is apparently manifesting in this chart also.   Rahu (2 Leo) is just one degree from the Ascendant and indicates disruptions of order and expected events.  The Mars entry into the first degree of Cancer also happens to hit the cusp of the 12th house of loss and disappointment.  The bigger problem with this chart is that the retrograde Saturn (28 Scorpio) is sitting opposite the Venus (28 Taurus) and will continue to cast its affliction for the rest of the summer at least up until its late August direct station.  Venus may only be indirectly related to Putin's political fortunes, however.  It may also relate to renewed weakness in the Russian economy.

Saturn and the solar eclipse: the uncertain path ahead

August 20-23 will see Mars align with Rahu (North Lunar Node).  This will also align with the nasty Moon-Ketu conjunction in Trump's chart and therefore also bring in the Saturn station.  To matters even more weighty, the August 21st solar eclipse atop Trump's Ascendant could further intensify the importance of events at the end of August.  It is definitely a very serious alignment of planets here that speaks to some kind of highly stressful situation where Trump will likely feel the burden of presidency very heavily.

That major alignment of Mars, Rahu and Saturn will also be very close to the Ascendant of the Putin oath horoscope.  Whatever is happening at the end of August will likely create some problems for Putin and Russia.  Overall, it seems likely that the pressure from the Russia investigations will intensify for Trump and Putin over the next 4-6 weeks. 

Weekly Market Forecast

Stock markets pushed higher on Wednesday after Janet Yellen indicated that the Fed would follow a cautious path towards normalizing interest rates.   The Dow is at new all-time highs now above 21,500.  India's Sensex is also making new highs this week above 31,500 on lower than expected inflation data.  In last week's forecast, I thought we might have seen more downside this week on the Mars-Ketu aspect.  

The rest of this week could see some gains on the Mercury-Jupiter alignment.  The first half of next week also offers bulls some hope for some upside as Venus aligns with Jupiter.  Things could get more interesting after that, however.   Some of the alignments noted above in August look unfriendly to financial markets.  I would be surprised if stocks remained at these lofty levels.

For more details and analysis on market trends for this week, this month and this year, please check out my weekly MVA Investor Newsletter.  The newsletter is published every Saturday and includes extended discussion of US and Indian stock markets, as well as gold, oil and major currencies.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Defiant North Korea tests ICBM that can reach US

(5 July 2017) Geopolitical tensions are on the rise this week after a successful test launch of an ICBM by North Korea.  Pyongyang claimed the missile could reach as far as Alaska and had the capacity to carry a nuclear warhead.  The test is a potential game-changer in the ongoing stalemate between the renegade communist state led by President Kim Jong-Un and its increasingly alarmed neighbours.  China remains the key to any solution to the stand-off as it is North Korea's only substantial trading partner and foreign sponsor. 

After trying the softer approach under Obama, President Trump has tried to turn up the heat with tougher talk but so far has little to show for it.  In fact, Trump's tough approach may well have made things worse by pushing North Korea to test even more aggressive weapons against what it perceives to be a more imminent threat.  The problem for the US and its Asian allies is that there is no viable military option in the region.  Any pre-emptive attack on North Korea would result in tens of thousands of South Korean casualties at a minimum. 

As I have written previously, I don't foresee a major war happening this year.  Based on the approximate timed charts of Kim Jong-Un and North Korea, however, I think the odds for some kind of destabilizing military action rises in 2018 and especially in 2019.   One noteworthy factor is that President Kim will begin his Saturn-Mars dasha period in early March 2019.  Mars is the natural significator of conflict and war and its placement in Kim's chart with power-hungry Pluto is also indicative that the period will be marked by an intensifying sense of conflict.

In terms of transits, we can see that Uranus (4 Aries) is now opposite his Mars (4 Libra).  This is a bad transit that may make Kim Jung-Un more reckless than usual and is one important reason why he has conducted this test.  It also increases the likelihood of bad outcomes from aggressive actions.  Due to the slow velocity of Uranus, it will last for almost two years.  It will finally station direct at 4 Aries exactly opposite his Mars at the end of 2018 and early 2019.  This is a very dangerous combination that offers some confirming evidence for a greater likelihood of military or violent actions in that approximate time window.  

The test launch also occurred when Kim was likely feeling emboldened and powerful when Mars (25 Gemini) was opposite his Sun (23 Sagittarius) and therefore aligning with transiting Pluto (24 Sagittarius).  It's definitely an shoot first, ask questions later sort of alignment as Mars' desire for action is harnessed by Pluto's obsession with control and power.  The ego-driven Sun in the middle of this pairing has little choice but to follow through on these ambitions.

It's worth noting that the final Uranus-Mars opposition aspect will occur after transiting Saturn has conjoined all of this 1st house Sagittarius planets throughout 2018.  Saturn tends to be a planet that blocks progress so Kim may feel boxed in and lacking any other options.  

While I don't think a major armed engagement is likely in the coming weeks, we should pay special attention to a couple of Mars transits which could act as triggers for events that create worsening tensions. Mars moves much faster than Uranus so its aspect can often bring about events that fulfill the potential of transits involving slower-moving planets such as Uranus.  On July 16-20, Mars will square natal Mars Kim's chart.  This is likely to coincide with a difficult or aggressive event, perhaps one where luck goes against him.  It appears to be a setback of some kind. 

This also fits with the likelihood of some kind of conflictual or aggressive action in the coming weeks in Trump's PEOTUS chart as the Sun-Mars conjunction will be opposite the natal Mars.  With Uranus (4 Aries) very close to the 8th house cusp in July and August, there is an additional instability to the Trump administration this summer.   Uranus is the planet of sudden and unexpected events and the 8th house can signify setbacks and scandals.  It's hard to imagine an all-out war happening this soon, but it could well represent a serious ratcheting up of tensions, such as from a symbolic or incidental attack. 

Another period to watch in this respect would be August 8-12 when Mars aligns with his natal Ketu.  Maybe China pulls the plug on his regime in some way (sanctions, etc) or he suffers some kind of public embarrassment such as another failed missile launch.  It looks more serious than that though.  It's definitely a situation I will be following carefully. 

Weekly Market Forecast

Stocks have moved higher so far this week as investors focused on positive macro data in the US and in Europe.  The Dow was enjoyed a modest rise since last week as it closes in on 21,500 and a possible new record high.  India was also higher as the Sensex again pushed above 31,000 following the roll-out of the new GST.   This rise is not unexpected as in last week's market forecast I thought that the bullish influence of the entry of Venus into Taurus and the Sun-Jupiter-Neptune alignment would likely boost optimism. 

We could see a bit more upside this week as Mercury aligns with Venus on Thursday and Friday.  However, anxiety and pessimism may be on the rise in the coming days as Mars enters sidereal Cancer on Tuesday July 11th where it will form an unstable alignment with Ketu, the South Lunar Node.

For more details and analysis on market trends for this week, this month and this year, please check out my weekly MVA Investor Newsletter.  The newsletter is published every Saturday and includes extended discussion of US and Indian stock markets, as well as gold, oil and major currencies.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

GOP postpones Senate healthcare vote

(28 June 2017) The Trump agenda suffered a major setback yesterday after GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell was forced to postpone the vote on the controversial Better Care Reconciliation Act.  The GOP had drafted its bill to repeal Obamacare in secret and allowed less than a week for public scrutiny, a move with later backfired after a damning report from the CBO on Monday compelled several Senators to remove their support. While McConnell intends on bringing it to a vote by mid-July, it is unclear if the differences between the moderate and conservative wings of the party can bridged by that time. 

The failure to get the much-hoped for "big win" for Trump's legislative agenda has again put this administration back on its heels. There are large fissures in the GOP which not even the famously deal-making Trump can easily fix.  The larger problem for Trump and the GOP is that without passage of the health care bill, the more important tax reform bill likely cannot move forward either. 

Last week, I suggested that Trump's fortunes were improving in the month of June as evidenced by the special Congressional election wins and the absence of any personally damaging revelations in the Comey testimony and the Russia investigation.  I also thought that his luck could carry over into this week and help the Senate GOP pass the health care bill.  Well, I guess even Jupiter's beneficence has its limits.  Jupiter is still a positive planetary influence for Trump because 1) he is running the Jupiter-Jupiter dasha period and 2) transiting Jupiter is in conjunction with his natal Jupiter and aspects his Sun.  He is still subject to some very afflicting transits by malefic Rahu (North Lunar Node) to his Mars and then of course the Saturn conjunction to his Moon-Ketu (South Lunar Node) combination. These are both very stressful patterns that strongly suggest he will be under significant pressure for several more months. 

But the ongoing double Jupiter influence may be one reason why he is surviving in the White House to the extent that he is, albeit with an approval rating below 40%.  The Jupiter influence may be why the Russia investigation is less likely to find an impeachable smoking gun this year, and therefore why he can avoid resigning.  When Jupiter shines down on you, it acts as a kind of protective shield against those kinds of worst-case scenarios. 

Trump did earn a win on Monday, however, as the Supreme Court partially allowed his travel ban to go into effect thus restricting immigration and travelfrom majority Muslim countries. Trump didn't hesitate to claim victory and, indeed, it was a major shift for travel ban which had experienced nothing but judicial resistance in the lower courts.  So the week hasn't been a complete write-off for President Trump.

One reason why I thought the GOP health care bill had a decent chance of passing was that the Obamacare horoscope looked to be under pressure at this time.  The Mercury-Mars conjunction lines up very closely with Ketu (South Lunar Node) in the chart for the moment when President Obama signed the ACHA into law.  I thought the Mars and Ketu components in this alignment would reflect a very stressful situation with respect to Obamacare and its survival.  I therefore assumed that it might have equated with the successful Senate bill passage.  This was a misinterpretation on my part, however, as it may have only highlighted a near-death experience for Obamacare.  Stressful yes, but not fatal.

There are more difficult transits in the Obamacare chart this summer so we cannot rule out a successful Senate vote.  The interpretative challenge for astrologers is to try to distinguish between various events that may impact the viability of Obamacare.  Obviously, if the Senate bill is passed then that would show up in the Obamacare chart as a negative influence.  But so would news of another insurance company pulling out which would hasten its underfunded "death spiral". 

The last week of July and first week of August could also reflect a stressful period for Obamacare.  The Sun-Mars conjunction aligns with the natal Mars on July 24th and then Mercury opposes Neptune on the natal MC/IC on August 9th.  Although this may not look overly terrible, but it is not positive.  Whether or not it is sufficiently negative to coincide with something as significant as a GOP Senate health bill passage is harder to say. 

Even if the Senate does eventually pass the GOP health bill this summer, there would still be several important steps before Obamacare was formally repealed.  It's a very complex legislative labyrinth that I don't pretend to fully understand.  As I wrote back in March, the Obamacare horoscope looks more afflicted in 2018, especially in the late summer and fall.  This is the time when Saturn will station retrograde in Sagittarius directly opposite the Ascendant and Moon.  This seems like a more likely astrological alignment we would expect for a major or even final defeat for Obamacare.  Formal repeal could well happen then, just before the critical mid-term elections in November 2018.

Weekly Market Forecast

Financial markets have been fairly mixed over the past week as investors are weighing the possible fallout of a delayed or failed Trump agenda.  US stocks have pushed higher in Wednesday's session as the Dow is again trading near its all-time high.  European and Indian stock markets have been somewhat weaker, however, on concerns about a possible withdrawal of central bank liquidity from both from the Fed and the ECB. 

In last week's market forecast, I thought that stocks would be more prone to declines.  This hasn't quite panned out as expected as the Mars-Jupiter square aspect may be seen as a bearish influence.

The rest of this week could actually be somewhat positive as Venus enters sidereal Taurus.  It may even be enough for a positive weekly close.  Next week also has some bright spots as the Sun aligns with Jupiter and Neptune in the middle of the week.

For more details and analysis on market trends for this week, this month and this year, please check out my weekly MVA Investor Newsletter.  The newsletter is published every Saturday and includes extended discussion of US and Indian stock markets, as well as gold, oil and major currencies.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

GOP wins Georgia special election: charting Trump's ups and downs

(21 June 2017) Donald Trump scored another "win" yesterday as the Republicans narrowly won the hotly contested special election in the Georgia 6th Congressional District.  The election was widely seen as a referendum on the Trump administration as Democrats were hoping for an upset in the traditionally GOP district.  The victory will help boost the GOP's legislative agenda including the controversial healthcare bill that is currently in the Senate.  A Senate vote on the bill is expected before the recess at the end of June although it is unclear if the GOP bill can pass given its secretive and controversial nature.

Trump's improving fortunes likely began with the Comey hearings where the former FBI chief did not provide clear evidence of a smoking gun with regard to Trump's alleged collusion with Russia during the 2016 election campaign.  While the investigation is far from over, the absence of any shocking revelations at that time was seen as a plus for Trump as it took a lot of the pressure off.

In a May 10th post, I offered that June could bring some improvement for Trump as Jupiter stationed direct on June 9th.  I suggested that since he was running the Jupiter major and minor Vimshottari dasha periods, the return of Jupiter to its normal direct motion could bring some benefits to him.  The Comey testimony took place the previous day on June 8th.  And we can see how this favorable special election result also fits with a more positive transit picture. 

The Sun (self, ego) and Mercury (communication, work) were conjunct at 5 Gemini on Tuesday which is almost exactly on the equal cusp of Trump's 11th house signifying gains and wishes fulfilled.  It's very unusual to have things go against you when those two planets sitting on the 11th cusp.  Transiting Mars (16 Gemini) was just one degree past Trump's very strong 11th house Mercury (15 Gemini) and this should also be seen as generally favorable placement.  Mars is often negative by square or opposition aspect, but its conjunction here in the 11th house is more a symbol of energy and action, or an action that brings good results.

Amazingly, this Sun-Mercury conjunction is also in a very positive place for Trump in the chart of President-Elect of the United States (PEOTUS).  The conjunction at 5 Gemini sits at the very top of the chart on the 10th house cusp reflecting an achievement and increase in status.  And if we want to dig deeper, we can see that the Moon-Venus conjunction was in a very close 135 degree alignment (8th harmonic) with the Ascendant.  Although it is now moving forward slowly, transiting Jupiter (19 Virgo) is still closely conjunct its natal position at 18 Virgo.  It's definitely not a bad set up of planets.

So how long can Trump ride this little wave of momentum?  I think these more positive planets should extend into early or perhaps mid-July.  That means that the chances look good for the Senate to pass the GOP health care bill if it happens next week before the July 4th recess.  Trump's natal chart looks quite good towards the end of next week (June 28-30) as Venus conjoins his unequal 10th house cusp (=success) while the Mercury-Mars conjunction at 22-24 Gemini aligns with his Jupiter by square aspect.  The transiting Sun will conjoin his 11th house Mercury (=gains) around the same time. 

The PEOTUS chart also places the Mercury-Mars conjunction in a powerful position aligning with the Sun (23 Libra), Saturn (21 Scorpio) and Pluto (21 Sagittarius).  This isn't necessarily an alignment for a shining success as Saturn and Pluto imply coercion and the blunt application of power but it still seems like it fits better with the vote being forced through one way or another.  The Venus (0 Taurus ) opposition to Mercury (0 Scorpio) seems somewhat indicative of a desirable outcome for Trump.

Trump's string of good luck may end in July, especially once Mars enters sidereal Cancer on July 11th.  Mars is debilitated in Cancer and it will enter his 12th house of losses and isolation.  It will also conjoin both his Saturn and Venus in mid-July.  This looks like a time of fresh conflict and disputes, possibly involving women in some way.  The period from late July to late August looks very difficult for him and the White House.  I should also note that it may also reflect problems for the US as a whole. 

Since the Sun-Mars conjunction will conjoin Rahu (North Node) in the USA chart in early August, it is possible that we could see some kind of secret (8th house) violent action involving foreigners (Rahu).  Alternatively, news may emerge of some kind of scandal along those lines (e.g. Russia) which could damage Trump.  As I have pointed out previously, the impending Saturn station on August 25th will sit right on Trump's Moon-Ketu conjunction.  It is a very heavy and burdensome combination that indicates intense pressure and stress and a high level of emotional instability.

To add to this picture of intensity and stress, the solar eclipse of August 21st occurs right atop Trump's Ascendant and Mars.  And Mars will conjoin Rahu in late Cancer just a few degrees behind the eclipse degree.  Conflict and possibly violence may be the prevailing themes at that time.  Since the USA chart is also impacted by the Mars-Rahu conjunction, it seems more likely that Trump's troubles may be less likely to be ethical or political and perhaps more military in nature.   We shall see. 

I don't think there is much chance of Trump resigning or getting impeached before the 2018 midterms.  The GOP are still supporting him and that probably won't change.  But Trump's horoscope looks terrible in the fall of 2018 so it should mean that the GOP loses control of at least one house of Congress.  His charts are so bad that it could coincide with something worse than just losing the midterm elections.   That broadly fits with the dasha periods also since he is running Jupiter-Jupiter until November 2018.  After that time, he will run Jupiter-Saturn until 2021.   This is more likely to be difficult for him since his Saturn is placed in the 12th house, the house of loss and sorrows.  If impeachment is going to happen, it still seems more likely to take place in 2019.

Weekly Market Forecast

World stock markets remained firm over the past week after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates in a widely anticipated move.  While US stocks fell modestly after the Fed hike, the Dow bounced back strongly on Monday and is still trading near its all-time high above 21,000.  Indian stocks also stayed buoyant despite the Fed hike as the Sensex is still above 31,000.  In last week's market forecast, I thought stocks would be weaker on the Sun-Saturn opposition after the Fed statement and this was largely the case although the declines were small.

I thought we might have seen more downside so far this week as Mars approaches its square aspect with Jupiter so it remains to be seen if I will be proven wrong on that score.  Falling crude oil prices have introduced some uncertainty into the market after Monday's rise but stocks are fairly flat so far in Wednesday's session in the US.  The Mars influence here still seems to be the most noteworthy.  For that reason, I think the path of least resistance may still be down for the stock market over the next several sessions.

For more details and analysis on market trends for this week, this month and this year, please check out my weekly MVA Investor Newsletter.  The newsletter is published every Saturday and includes extended discussion of US and Indian stock markets, as well as gold, oil and major currencies.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

UK politics in chaos as May loses majority in early election

(14 June 2017) UK politics has been thrown into a state of chaos after last week's unexpectedly close election has resulted in a hung parliament.  Conservative PM Theresa May had called an early election in order to strengthen her hand ahead of Brexit talks due to begin this month.  But the gamble backfired with May's government losing its comfortable majority so now it has to form a coalition with the far right Northern Ireland DUP in order to cling to power.  Even if May manages to secure a functioning agreement (likely but not a certainty, especially given the pro-Labour planets on June 19-20), her status as leader is now in jeopardy as other Tories are now positioning themselves for a new leadership contest.  She has been described as a 'dead woman walking' as both her leadership and her government may not last another election.

How did it all go so wrong for her?  One reason lies in the respective planetary alignments for both her and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. The stars aligned against Ms. May and shone brightly on opposition leader Mr. Corbyn who was seen as a surprise winner of sorts.  As is often the case when we suffer failures or setbacks, Saturn was front and center in Theresa May's chart (1 October 1956, no time).  Saturn (0 Sagittarius) is casting its full strength square aspect to her Mercury and Sun in Virgo. 

Yes, the aspect is quite wide but I would suggest that it was intensified by the simultaneous square aspect of Mars (9 Gemini) to the Sun and Mercury.  Mercury was probably more pivotal in this respect since it is the dispositor of the Sun as rule of the sign of Virgo.  As it happens, the midpoint (4 Virgo) of the transiting Mars and Saturn was almost exactly conjunct Mercury at 5 Virgo.  Overall, it's a very difficult double-barreled transit by malefic planets.

But by contrast Jeremy Corbyn (26 May 1949, no time) saw the light of benefic Jupiter shining on him.  Jupiter (19 Virgo) was near its direct station at the time of the election and was in a close trine aspect to his Venus (22 Taurus) which would also play a disproportionately important role here because it is the dispositor of both his Mercury and the Sun in Taurus.   One of the most fundamental rules of astrology is that a Jupiter station is a time of increased good fortune when it forms a close alignment with a key planet or planets in the natal chart.  In Corbyn's case, his good luck was likely enhanced by the transit conjunctions of the Sun to his Venus-Mercury conjunction as well as Mercury's conjunction to his natal Sun.

Most observers do not expect the new Theresa May government to last very long.  Some are even suggesting the coalition with DUP may collapse this year and trigger another election.  I'm uncertain we could see another election in 2017 but certainly Theresa May's chart looks very difficult through to 2018 due to the ongoing transit of Saturn in Sagittarius.  I would think there may be an increase in her political problems in early 2018 when Saturn approaches its retrograde station at 15 Sagittarius in April.  This will exactly square her Sun and could coincide not only with her being unseated as leader but quite possibly also as an election defeat at the hands of Labour. 

Interestingly, the horoscope of Jeremy Corbyn's leadership of the Labour Party also suggests that early 2018 could be a time when Ms. May's problems will multiply.  Corbyn won the leadership of the Labour Party at 11.46 a.m. on 12 September 2015.   As we can see, it's an excellent horoscope in its own right with a powerful 11th house of gains tenanted by Sun, Moon and Jupiter in Leo.  Regardless of timing specifics, we should expect his leadership to be successful by any measure and he would be more likely to win an election eventually on the strength of this chart. 

Last week's election saw stationary Jupiter (19 Virgo) conjunct natal Mercury (20 Virgo) which is a very nice placement indeed and fits well with his party's surprising gains.  But now that Jupiter is moving forward again, it will enter the 1st house of Libra in this chart later on this year and will provide further energy to his leadership chances in the coming months.   Jupiter is due to station direct again in July 2018 at 19 Libra which will be in an exact conjunction with this natal Ascendant.  That looks like a very good alignment that should boost the fortunes of Corbyn and Labour even further. The bottom line here is that I think the chances are good that Corbyn will be elected the next Prime Minister of the UK sometime between March and July 2018.

This instability and eventual change in government is likely to make the road to Brexit even more unpredictable.  In fact, Brexit may not even happen if Labour gets into power and it finds more sympathetic negotiating partners in Germany and France. 

Weekly Market Forecast

Stocks have been slightly bullish since my last post two weeks ago.  While I thought we would likely see some further gains up to the Jupiter direct station on June 9th, stocks have generally been positive this week as well.  As usual, the stock market is defying gravity but now it is happening somewhat paradoxically at the same time that the bond market is also rallying. The falling yields in the bond market is telegraphing a slower US economy (lower inflation, etc) but this seems difficult to square with the resilient optimism in equities.  One of these markets is likely wrong.  But which one? 

I would make a case that the equity market is "wrong", at least for now, as the planetary alignments are still looking bearish.  While I thought we would have seen more in the way of downside in late May on the Mars-Saturn opposition, we are again confronted with a potentially important alignment of malefic planets.  The Sun opposes Saturn today and Thursday just in time for the latest Fed policy statement.  The Fed is widely expected to raise interest rates but the market will wait to hear what its plan is to unwind its massive balance sheet.  Also, Mars will gradually tighten its aspect to Jupiter this week and next week so that is another potential source of pessimism and caution.  As I have indicated previously, the main event is still the approaching Saturn-Lunar Node alignment which will be within range for several months this summer.   It is not an alignment to be taken lightly. 

For more details and analysis on market trends for this week, this month and this year, please check out my weekly MVA Investor Newsletter.  The newsletter is published every Saturday and includes extended discussion of US and Indian stock markets, as well as gold, oil and major currencies.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Trump pulls US out of Paris Agreement on climate change

(1 June 2017)  Well, climate change just got Trumped.  President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of the US from Paris Agreement today fulfilling a key campaign promise.  The US joins a tiny group along with two other nations (Syria and Nicaragua) out of 190 which has rejected the climate agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to reduce global warming.  Trump intends to renegotiate the deal on more favourable terms to the US.  Early reaction from other signatory countries suggests this may be wishful thinking. 

There are several interesting astrological angles worth exploring here.  The most important is the horoscope of the Paris Agreement itself which was passed by unanimous vote at the COP 21 conference on 12 December 2015 at 7.26 p.m CET.   With the future of the agreement now in doubt after the withdrawal of the world's greatest contributor of greenhouse gases, we should expect to see malefic planets like Saturn and Mars more prominently placed.  And that is exactly the case. 

The horoscope for the Paris Agreement currently has Saturn sitting on the cusp of the equal 6th house of conflict.  Saturn (1 Sagittarius) is in an almost exact alignment with the Ascendant (0 Cancer) and reflects intense stress as a consequence of the US abandoning its global leadership on this issue.  Saturn symbolizes setbacks, delays, and disappointments and its exact conjunction with the 6th house of disputes is very fitting this latest development.  Saturn is also squaring the Jupiter-Rahu conjunction suggesting an obstacle to the wisdom and reputation (Jupiter) of the accord. 

The Lunar Nodes are also within range of their respective house cusps as Rahu (4 Leo) conjoins the 2nd house (= distortion or interruption of voice) and Ketu (4 Aquarius) conjoins the 8th house (=sudden scandals or setbacks).  Mars (4 Gemini) is the triggering planet as it aligns almost exactly with the MC/IC or unequal 10th and 4th house cusps.  While these cusps are not widely used in traditional Vedic astrology, they nonetheless are sensitive points that often correspond with significant events when under close aspect.  Mars typically brings shocks and disputes as President Trump has called into the question the future of the entire deal.  Without US participation, some commentators wonder if the accord can now survive and if so, if it will be effective.

The planets this summer indicate that the Paris Agreement will be under intense pressure now more than ever.  Transiting Saturn is due to station at 27 Scorpio in late August.  This will be very close to the natal Sun (26 Scorpio) in the horoscope.  So we should expect more doubts about the viability of the agreement over the next few months.  Even if China, India and the EU countries pledge to uphold its terms in the coming days, the Saturn transit to the Sun may mean that the legitimacy of the agreement will in flux.  We may see another setback for the accord such as another major nation opting out in the summer.  Alternatively, we could a movement towards the possibility of some renegotiation which would be in line with Trump's thinking.  A change in the original agreement could manifest as a serious affliction to the horoscope since it would entail an injury or amendment to its current form. 

The Nodes will also intensify its problems as they will conjoin the cusps of the 2nd and 8th house.  Nodal influences are often indicators of uncertainty and sudden or difficult changes that require major adjustment. The nodal affliction to this horoscope will continue through to November when Rahu will exactly aspect the Sun.  This could well signify an additional setback for the deal in its current form. 

An additional underlying problem is that Pluto forms a t-square with the Mars-Uranus opposition for the rest of 2017.  No doubt, the US withdrawal is already a manifestation of this troublesome energy.  But since Pluto moves very slowly, we should interpret this Pluto influence as representing powerful and possibly hidden forces that are working to undermine the agreement.  Things do not look much better in early 2018 as Saturn is due to station retrograde while in close conjunction with the Moon-Mercury conjunction in Gemini.  Since the Moon rules the chart as a whole (i.e. the Cancer Ascendant), it is quite possible that the deal will suffer further setbacks.  I would not be surprised if it goes on life support in early 2018. 

But the outlook should improve by the spring and summer of 2018 as Jupiter transits through Libra and will conjoin the natal Venus.  It is very possible that the accord will have new life at that time, possibly as a result of Trump's declining fortunes.  I have previously predicted a serious setback for Trump in the fall of 2018.  Given the time frame, it seems likely that the GOP will lose control of Congress in the midterm elections.  Without GOP control of Congress, the complex legal process for quitting the agreement may be delayed or even stopped altogether.  Early 2019 also looks very good for the Paris Agreement as Jupiter will station retrograde in close conjunction with the natal Sun.  This could well represent a Democrat-controlled Congress decisively blocking Trump's withdrawal plan or maybe even impeaching him.  I'm not prepared to go out on the impeachment limb just yet but the planets are sufficiently bad for Trump that it is definitely in the conversation.  More on that question soon.

Weekly Market Forecast

Meanwhile, the stock market has resumed its upward march this week.  US markets rallied on a positive jobs number today as the Dow closed at 21,144.  India's Sensex has been slowly climbing since last week as the benchmark index finished Thursday at 31,137.  I thought we might have seen more negative sentiment around the Mars-Saturn opposition earlier in the week.  This proved to be something of a misfire, however, as US stocks only fell fractionally on Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Friday's Venus-Uranus conjunction looks bullish enough, especially given the larger alignment with Saturn and Rahu (North Lunar Node).  Next week also offers some upside potential as Venus will align with Mercury and Mars in the first half of the week.  Alignments containing the planet Mars may be less reliably positive than ones involving only benefic planets like Mercury and Venus.  Nonetheless, there is some reason to expect more gains next week, at least in the early going.  Things may get murky by the end of the week as Jupiter stations direct on Friday the 9th.  This could alter some of the growth assumptions in financial markets and produce a reassessment of asset values.  It may also encourage reallocation of assets into different asset classes  e.g. moving out of stocks and into bonds, etc.

For more details and analysis on market trends for this week, this month and this year, please check out my weekly MVA Investor Newsletter.  The newsletter is published every Saturday and includes extended discussion of US and Indian stock markets, as well as gold, oil and major currencies.