Modern Vedic Astrology: Predictions & Forecasts

Cameron seeks a second term as UK goes to the polls

(3 May 2015)  Britain goes to the polls on Thursday as the electorate decides if Prime Minister David Cameron deserves a second mandate.  Cameron and his Conservative Party won the last election but required a coalition with Nick Clegg's Liberal Democrats to form a government.  Most observers are predicting another "hung parliament" in which no single party has a majority of the 650 seats.   Recent polls show a virtual dead heat in popular support for the Conservatives and the Labour Party.  However, most seat projections gives the Tories a slim edge over Labour due to uneven vote distribution but not enough to form a government.  It therefore seems likely that the winner of this election will again require to form another alliance with a smaller party to reach the critical 326 seat threshold. 

The left-leaning Scottish National Party (SNP) would seem to be a natural ally of Labor while the Liberal Democrats are more closely aligned with the Conservatives.  The right-wing UKIP has significant popular support but little chance of winning many seats.  The outcome of the election may therefore have as much to do with the success of these smaller parties as what happens to the two major parties.

After examining the key horoscopes, it seems most likely that Cameron will be re-elected.  Cameron has a number of positive factors at the moment.  He just began his Sun dasha in April and his Sun is well-placed in the 1st house in Virgo conjunct benefic Venus.  Read more...


Why have Chinese stocks doubled in the past six months?

(27 April 2015)  China's stock markets continued their stunning rally yesterday as investors reacted to the government's intention to launch its own QE program of buying assets in order to boost its slowing economy.  The Shanghai Stock Exchange Index has doubled in value since November and now stands at 4500.  The huge rally is the result of several factors including the electronic linking of the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges, the expectation that the People's Bank of China (PBOC) will undertake an even larger quantitative easing program as well as more relaxed margin rules that allow more investors to borrow money to buy shares. 

Astrology offers its own account for this rapid rise in Chinese stocks.  As is often the case, the planet Jupiter is pivotal in most bull market situations.  Jupiter is the planet of optimism and expansion and when it is activated in a natal chart by transit, we can see that stocks tend to rise. The Shanghai Stock Exchange was opened -- or rather re-opened -- on December 19, 1990 at 9.30 a.m.   This horoscope places Jupiter at 19 degrees of sidereal Cancer in the 7th house.  Is it a coincidence that bullish Jupiter is again sitting at 19 degrees of Cancer now after stationing at 18 Cancer just three weeks ago?  Probably not.   Jupiter returns to its natal position every 12 years so this whole period around the transit conjunction was bound to be positive.  This is even more the case since Jupiter is in the 7th house and therefore it aspects its Ascendant.  Jupiter's 13-month long transit through the sign of Cancer is a positive influence for sentiment in the stock market, all other things being equal.  Read more...


Libyan migrant ship sinking forcing EU to act

(20 April 2015) European governments are weighing their options this week after the tragic sinking of a ship of migrants off the coast of Libya.  Almost 700 people are believed to have drowned as the migrants were escaping the political instability in Libya.  The sinking highlights the plight of refugees from Syria, Iraq, and now Libya who have witnessed their societies descend into war and chaos in recent years.  Europe's proximity to the troubled region has forced it consider its humanitarian responsibility despite its own ongoing economic stagnation.  The influx of refugees and immigrants from these Islamic countries has tested European values of tolerance and openness and has provided fuel for right wing political parties.  The emergency meeting of EU foreign ministers today will attempt to formulate a better response to the refugee crisis.

This latest chapter in the European migrant situation can be seen through the horoscope of the EU (1 November 1993, 00.00 a.m. Maastricht, Netherlands).   The natal chart itself hints at possible problems with foreigners as the ruler of the 12th house, Mercury (26 Libra), is placed very close to the 4th house cusp.  Read more...


Hillary Clinton announces her campaign for President

(12 April 2015)  Hillary Clinton finally ended the pseudo-suspense today and announced her candidacy for the nomination for the Democratic Party in the 2016 US Presidential election.  Ms. Clinton made the announcement via a Youtube video that was released shortly after 3 p.m.  The exact timing of the announcement is important for astrological reasons since the timing of the launch of the campaign marks the official beginning of her endeavour to become President.  In my experience, the horoscopes of these launches reveal important information about the nature of the candidacy as well as providing clues about the eventual success or failure of the campaign.  Clearly, Ms. Clinton is the Democratic frontrunner at this point as no serious challenger has yet stepped forward.  She also stands a decent chance of winning against any Republican candidate according to recent polls.  So what does this campaign launch chart tell us about her chances?

Earlier in the week, the campaign was widely expected to be launched on Sunday, April 12th. I had looked at the chart and quickly concluded there was no astrologer on her staff since Saturn closely aspected both Venus and the Moon today.  Saturn (10 Scorpio) is generally a restrictive and limited influence in the chart and its opposition aspect with Venus (7 Taurus) suggested unhappiness or at least a relatively joyless, austere campaign.  Read more...


Andreas Lubitz and the tragedy of Germanwings 9525

(29 March 2015)  In the end, Andreas Lubitz got what he wanted.  The 27-year old Germanwings pilot had told a former girlfriend that he wanted to make a spectacular gesture so that 'everyone would know his name'.  The world has recoiled in shock and horror on learning that Lubitz deliberately crashed his plane into the French Alps killing himself and all the other 149 people on board on March 24.  It has now emerged that young pilot had hidden his history of clinical depression from his employer in order to keep his job.

There is some uncertainty about the the birth date of Andreas Lubitz.   Some sources report he was born on 18 December 1987 while others say he was born on 28 December, in the town of Montabaur, Germany.  I prefer the chart for 18 December for reasons I outline below.  As an additional obstacle, his birth time is unknown so a full analysis of his horoscope is impossible. However, even his birth date chart reveal some major planetary stresses for the present time. 

In cases of mental illness, the condition of Moon and Mercury are key.  The Moon rules the mind and the emotional self.  Mercury is said to be associated with the rational thinking process.  When both of these planets are afflicted, the odds of some kind of mental anguish increases.   Read more...


Is the Fed's patience wearing thin?

(16 March 2015)  All eyes in the financial world are on Janet Yellen this week as the Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee meets on Wednesday.  In recent weeks, there has been a growing sense that Yellen will shift the language around a possible interest rate hike later this year.  The Fed's "patient" stance on a possible rate hike may be dropped as the US economy picks up steam and inflationary pressures build.   Although any actual hike may still be months away (June at the earliest), markets are keenly aware that any changes in wording could move stocks significantly.  An abrupt shift in language could persuade investors to trim their holdings and push the market lower.  A retention of "patient", or a substitution of any similarly accommodative language would be unexpected and could spark a rally.  So are there any astrological clues that may reveal what will she say?

I can't predict what words she will use but the planets do seem to have a fairly unusual layer of intensity on Wednesday.  Looking at Janet Yellen's horoscope (actually her approximated horoscope since we don't know her birth time), we can see that transiting Mars (26 Pisces) will be in a close trine aspect with Ketu (25 Scorpio), the South Lunar Node.  This kind of Mars-Ketu aspect suggests a greater expenditure of energy and the necessity of quick reaction to unexpected developments.  Read more...


The Hillary Clinton email controversy

(10 March 2015)  Hillary Clinton has been back in the news recently, but for all the wrong reasons.  The frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic Party nomination has come under scrutiny for her emails during her tenure as Secretary of State.  Ms. Clinton apparently did not use government email as required by the rules and instead used a private email address.  In addition, she sent and received emails through a private email server located in the Clinton house in New York.

It's really the last thing she needs right now as rumors were rife that she was on the verge of formally announcing her candidacy for President.  She is likely to speak publicly about the email controversy soon as she hopes to clear the air in order that she can declare in the coming weeks.  Whether or not she can quickly douse this fire remains to be seen, however.

Her horoscope provides some intriguing clues about the current situation. While there is some uncertainty about her birth time, I use the 8.00 am chart but try to keep an open mind about it. When the New York Times broke the story on March 2nd, we can see that retrograde Jupiter (20 Cancer 41) had just past its conjunction with her natal Mars (20 Cancer 58) while Mercury (21 Capricorn) opposed Mars within one degree.  On the face of it, that doesn't look too bad given Jupiter's bias towards favorable outcomes.   Read more...


Euphoria becomes reality: the BJP's cautious first budget

(2 March 2015)  The new government of Narendra Modi announced its much-anticipated first budget last Saturday to initially positive, if muted, reviews.  Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's budget was expected to begin the herculean task of reforming the Indian economy away from its statist and populist orientation towards a more deregulated, pro-growth stance.  The budget was seen as rather cautious and piece-meal, however, as Jaitley did not reduce subsidies nor did he introduce a general sales tax which is widely seen as necessary to fund infrastructure improvements.  Markets rose only modestly on Saturday in reaction to the budget and Monday's session similarly only mildly positive suggesting a lack of enthusiasm and perhaps even a twinge of disappointment.  All of the optimism over the promise of sweeping change from the Modi government now appears to fading as reality takes over.

Perhaps we should not be surprised that PM Narendra Modi has been having a tough go of it lately.  On February 10th, Modi's BJP was trounced in the high-profile Delhi election by the anti-elite upstart AAP.  The defeat was seen a partial critique of Modi's administration, although it is just in the first year of its mandate.  Reforms have been too slow for business and the rising middle class but too fast and destabilizing for popular sectors. Now the budget appears to continue this overly cautious approach which tries to be all things to all people.   Read more...


Ukraine suffers humiliating defeat at Debaltseve

(22 February 2015)  Score one for Vladimir Putin.  Again.  Ukraine suffered an embarrassing military setback in eastern Ukraine this week as pro-Russian rebels took control of the strategic town of Debaltseve.  The Ukrainian army was forced to flee the town on Wednesday after the superior weaponry of the rebels (courtesy of Russia) made the town impossible to defend.  The irony was that it all took place just a week after a much-heralded ceasefire that had been brokered by Germany and France.  To make matters worse, there is growing evidence that Russian troops are now actually fighting alongside the rebels.  

However unscrupulous he may be, Putin has again apparently out-foxed the West and its client state, Ukraine.  Given the failure at Debaltseve, more commentators are suggesting that the Ukraininan army may be on the verge of collapse unless the West finally decides to supply them with weapons.  The Ukrainian Prime Minister Petro Poroshenko has said that they are now preparing for total war with Russia.

This latest chapter in the Ukrainian conflict with Russia isn't too surprising given Putin's track record.   But it was all quite predictable with astrology.   Read more...


The lies of Brian Williams

(9 February 2015) Brian Williams finds himself in a lot of hot water at the moment.  The respected anchor of the NBC Nightly News has been caught out in a lie, or as they say in current damage control media parlance, a "misremembered" fact about his experience in the Iraq War in 2003. He had claimed to have been shot at and forced down while riding in a helicopter only to have that story exposed as false by US servicemen who were present at the time.  The scandal forced Williams to make a on-air apology last Wednesday.  Unfortunately, this seemed to only make matters worse as perceptions were that Williams did not come clean with the public. Other claims are now also being questioned as Williams may have embellished the truth while covering stories such as Hurricane Katrina.  Williams has taken a voluntary leave from NBC and canceled a Thursday appearance on the David Letterman show.   With their trust in him now broken, polls suggest that 80% of the public want him to resign.   Where did it all go wrong? 

We do not know the birth time of Brian Williams but we do know that he was born on May 5, 1959 in Ridgewood, NJ.  First off, let me say it is very difficult to pinpoint a specific natal placement that suggests dishonesty and lack of integrity.  Some say that Jupiter is the seat of personal integrity but we should note that this is only one factor out of several.  For its part, Jupiter is retrograde in Scorpio but unafflicted.  However, Scorpio is ruled by Mars which is opposite Saturn, a possible weakness that is fed back to Jupiter.  Read more...


Oil prices surge: is this the beginning of a rebound?

(8 February 2015)  After its long and relentless decline through the second half of 2014, the price of crude oil showed signs of life last week as investors were buoyed by improving demand prospects in Europe.  Crude oil enjoyed a 10% gain last week as West Texas Intermediate crude rallied over the $50 level.   It had previously traded as low as $44.  So we can ask the question: can oil begin to recover now and gradually climb back to its more familiar levels of $80, $90 or even $100?  Most financial analysts do not expect a swift return to its previous heights and many even think that crude will decline further in the months to come as the shale oil shakeout will continue.

The horoscope of Crude Oil Futures offers some useful clues to this question.   As noted in previous posts, the beginning of the decline in crude occurred just as transiting Ketu (South Lunar Node) conjoined the natal Mars. This is a classic bearish combination that began the correction.  Transiting Saturn then soon made its own bearish contribution as it opposed Venus and then hit the 6th house cusp (29 Libra) in November.  I had thought that Jupiter's station at 28 Cancer in December might have provided a temporary lift but this never really materialized as the transit was offset by ongoing difficult progressed alignments.  Read more...


Greece attempts to renegotiate its EU debt deal

(3 February 2015)  Anxiety in financial markets seems to have eased a bit in recent days as the newly-minted Greek government endeavours to negotiate a new debt deal from the EU.  The anti-austerity Syriza government is trying to postpone their debt repayment in order to give a boost to the domestic economy.  Spearheading these efforts is the new Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, who has become something of a celebrity through his wit and casual style, as contrasted in this picture with the buttoned-down formality with his UK counterpart, George Osborne.  Varoufakis has reiterated his government's desire to remain in the Eurozone under any circumstances by citing the lyrics to the old 70s pop song Hotel California, "you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave."

Varoufakis has the horoscope of someone who is both intellectually inclined and who seeks novel solutions.  While we don't know his birth time, he was born March 24, 1961 in Athens.  For convenience, we will use noon and use the Chandra Lagna chart as a stand-in for the proper rasi chart. Right away, we can see that key Moon-Mars conjunction in Gemini.  Gemini is a very cerebral sort of sign as it gives prominence to the exchange of information and communication.  The Moon-Mars conjunction is a classic signature for a quick-thinking and intelligent person. regardless of the sign it is placed in.  The Gemini placement likely makes him that much more witty and voluble.   Read more...


Anti-austerity Syriza romps to victory in Greece

(26 January 2015)  Yesterday's election in Greece of the anti-austerity Syriza Party opens a new and uncertain chapter in European politics.  The new PM Alexis Tsipras has vowed to renegotiate the EU bailout agreements and end the harsh austerity policies that has seen the GDP of his country fall by more than 30% over the past four years.  While both sides have avoided sounding publicly intransigent thus far, it is unclear how Tsipras will manage to walk the tightrope between increasing public spending and therefore incurring yet more debt and keeping his European paymasters happy who understandably want their loans paid back.

Financial markets are keenly watching developments in Greece as there is a greater risk to the Eurozone as a whole if Greece should decide to default on its loans or if it leaves the EU.  Neither of these extreme scenarios looks likely at this point, as the collective risk to all financial actors likely outweighs the potential upside to one side or the other.  And yet we shouldn't be surprised by anything that might happen here.  The Syriza victory is now been seen as a lightning rod to popular opposition to EU elites and status quo capitalism as a whole.  The popular movement against the EU could conceivably evolve into something much bigger than a simple election win of leftist party in the periphery in the Eurozone.    Read more...


Swiss abandon peg to falling Euro

(18 January 2015)  Investors got another bone to nervously chew on last week as the Swiss National Bank (SNB) abruptly removed the cap on the value of the Swiss Franc relative to the Euro which had been in place since 2011.  In recent months, this cap on the value of the Franc had come under increasing pressure as the Euro had lost 15% of its value.  With the ECB expected to launch its own QE program this week, the cap on the Swissie's value would increasingly distort the Swiss economy as speculators would take advantage of the undervalued Franc and bid up local stocks and real estate to bubble-like levels.  The SNB announcement of the decoupling sent shock waves through financial markets as the Franc shot up 20% in just one hour.  The Euro naturally continued its slide as it fell another 3% and ended the week at 1.15 against the US Dollar.

None of this current slide comes as a surprise as I have been forecasting a major decline in the Euro in my newsletter over the past couple of years.  In my posts on this website, I have also alluded to the probability of a sharp decline and possible re-organization of the Eurozone starting in 2014.   The horoscope of the Euro (Jan 1 1999 at midnight) reveals several layers of affliction for the 2014-2016 period which made this current situation quite predictable.  Read more...


Islamist terror attack in France reignites debate over Western values

(11 January 2015)  France is reeling from its worst terrorist attack in decades after an assault on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday in Paris.  The murder of a dozen leading journalists of the magazine was perpetrated by three radical Islamists who had taken offense at the magazine's depictions of Mohammed.  The attack has once again highlighted the problem of Muslim immigration in France, who now comprise 10% of the population.  Muslims have typically not assimilated very easily into French society and the resulting disaffection has made them more susceptible to appeals from radical groups.  

The popular response to the killings has been overwhelming in France and around the world, as citizens stand up for freedom of the press and against fundamentalist Islamic terrorism. While this massive outpouring of support for Western values may be inspiring, there is uncertainty about what the future will hold.  As anti-immigration political parties gather strength throughout Europe, one wonders how France and other countries will be able to manage the often difficult balancing act between respect for its traditions and openness.and tolerance towards newcomers and their cultures.   Read more...


A question for investors in 2015: Do you feel lucky?

(4 January 2015)  As Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry famously noted, it sometimes just comes down to luck.  The New Year is upon us now and investors are once again assessing the risk-reward ratio of this vastly inflated stock market. As the world economy continues to struggle, central banks have been desperately trying to stimulate growth by various clever means of money printing.  Even though the average person isn't doing much better, the stock market has responded favourably to all this borrowed government money as the bull market now enters its six year since its 2009 low. 

Can the stock market rise for yet another year despite unimpressive economic fundamentals and so-so job growth in the US and a deflationary stagnation taking shape in Europe and Japan?  Bullish investors may pause to consider whether their luck can hold and the central banks can keep this game going for another year.   While no one can know the future with certainty, an understanding of the effects of the changing alignments of the planets can provide useful hints for the year ahead.   Read more...


New Year's Chart 2015: a look ahead

(2 January 2015)  As the calendar turns over for another year, we can again look up to the heavens to see what signals the stars may be giving for 2015.  Although it is not conventional astrological practice, I have found the planetary alignment at the stroke of midnight on January 1st can provide intriguing hints for what may come during the coming year.  As with all astrology, it is as much art as science, and we have to reserve significant room for interpretation.  The effects of the planets cannot be read deductively or according to some simple formula as one might do in chemistry or physics.  Human beings are not atoms or molecules.  They are endowed with consciousness and free will and this makes prediction an inherently uncertain and open-ended process. 

For example, my analysis of last year's New Year's horoscope left something to be desired.  I had spotted Mars rising in the Ascendant in Virgo at midnight and saw the nasty-looking square aspect with the Sun, Mercury and Pluto and thought some kind of significant destructive or violent events were more likely during 2014.  The fact that unpredictable Uranus was also in a hard angle with these planets seemed to increase the impact of any of those kinds of events.   Read more...


Stocks under pressure following oil price crash: 2008 revisited?

(15 December 2014)  Financial markets suffered a sharp decline last week as investors began to weigh the implications of the collapse of oil prices and the possibility of a wider global recession.  The Dow lost more than 3% closing at 17,280 while the Indian Sensex lost almost 4% and finished the week at 27,350.  Most other global markets also declined, with major oil producers like Russia and Canada suffering the biggest hits. 

While cheaper oil may be good news for consumers who have more money to spend on other things, the financial fallout could be more negative as higher cost US producers may go bankrupt.  Large institutional players who may have invested in the energy sector will feel these losses.  This increases the risk of contagion spreading throughout other markets as leveraged investments go bust.  As prices of these oil investments fall, margin calls go out and this forces liquidation of other assets in order to cover for the initial loss.  This creates a chain reaction of selling as the bubble bursts.  This is essentially what happened during the financial meltdown in 2008 and there is some danger here that history could be repeating itself.   Read more...


Protests against police spread across US in wake of Garner decision

(8 December 2014) The nationwide protests over the death of Eric Garner has added yet another chapter in America's historical legacy of slavery, racial tension and civil strife.  Garner died from a chokehold administered by a New York police officer in August while being arrested for selling individual cigarettes on the street.  Despite the presence of video evidence of the police actions during the arrest, the officer was subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing by a Grand Jury.  This has sparked protests in New York and across the country as African-Americans voice their anger and frustration over what they feel as unfair treatment by the police and the justice system.   The protests come just a week after rioting in Ferguson, Missouri following a similar non-indictment of a white cop who had killed another unarmed black man.

These kinds of racially-based riots and protests have been a frequent occurrence in the US for over a century.  As an astrologer, I am curious to know if the current race-based unrest can somehow be a reflection of planetary placements in the horoscope of the USA.  There is a short list of possible planetary patterns that could fit the bill.  Violence often implicates Mars in some way, so we could see some affliction there involving malefics.  Read more...


The Bill Cosby rape scandal: a case of Venus afflicted

(3 December 2014)  They say what goes around comes around.  That definitely seems to be the case here for beloved American comedian Bill Cosby whose squeaky clean image is now in tatters after the accusations of rape by more than dozen women.    The 77-year old star has is now the subject of  investigations over a string sexual assaults that date back as far back as 1960s.  After years of whispered accusations and formal denials, Cosby's luck may well have run out as he has seen his current television show abruptly canceled amidst this very public scandal.  While no criminal charges are pending at this time, the fallout thus far is such that Cosby has been forced out of the board of his Alma Mater at Temple University in Philadelphia.  The rape charges are a shocking contrast to the public persona of the friendly and avuncular Cosby whose appeal over the years cut across both age and racial lines.

It is hard to imagine how he can reinstate his name and reputation after this episode.  The first whiff that something was amiss came in October when a fellow comedian, Hannibal Buress, gave voice to the murmured attacks in a stand-up performance and publicly accused him of repeatedly drugging and raping women.  The accusation then took on a life of its own in social media.   By mid-November, the scandal became undeniable as more women came forward with more stories of abuse.   Read more...


Oil prices plunge as OPEC maintains production levels

(30 November 2014) Crude oil prices plunged last week after OPEC decided not to cut production in an effort to reduce global supply.  WTI crude oil declined more than 10%  on Friday and finished near $66 a barrel.  Saudi-led OPEC has now entered a price war with the US and other non-traditional oil producers in an attempt to push higher cost shale oil out of the marketplace in order to return OPEC to its previously dominant position.   With the advent of shale oil, the US is now poised to become the world's leading producer of oil once again.

This collapse of oil prices culminates a six-month decline that began back in June when crude was still well above $100.  Unfortunately, there is no easy or simple astrological explanation for Friday's crash although we can make a few general observations. 

Saturn entered Scorpio on November 1st and thereby may have put added pressure on oil.  Read more...


Stocks hit new record highs on ECB easing

(23 November 2014) Global stock markets marched higher last week as the European Central Bank announced it was expanding its program to buy asset-backed securities.  Taking a page from the Fed's quantitative easing playbook, the program is designed to boost growth (and inflation) in Europe as that continent struggles to avoid a triple-dip recession.  In New York, the Dow gained 1% on the week closing at a new all-time record high of 17,810.  Not surprisingly, the German DAX soared more than 5% on the ECB action although it remains below its all-time highs.  India's Sensex also gained on the week rising 1% to 28,334 which was also another all-time high.

In previous posts, I suggested that risk was rising in November due to the exit of Venus and Saturn from the sign of Libra.  Both of these planets tend to do well in Libra and hence they could seen as planetary indicators for positive market sentiment.  Saturn exited Libra and entered Scorpio on 1 November while Venus followed close behind on 13 November.  And yet most markets around the world have continued to rise despite this apparently more negative planetary environment.  Why?  Read more...


GOP takes control of Senate

(10 November 2014)  Not surprisingly, the Republicans earned a solid win in last week's US midterm elections as the voting public delivered a stinging rebuke to President Obama and the Democrats.  The GOP now controls the Senate and House and will likely further hamper Obama's ability to implement his policies.  The GOP gains were fairly clearly seen through the horoscopes of the key players as Obama's chart continues to be weighed down by a stationary Rahu (North Lunar Node) and while the planets looked better for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.  As I noted in a previous post, however, I think that McConnell will suffer some kind of major setback in early 2015 which could seriously diminish his leadership.  I'm not sure what form it will take, but it is likely to involve significant disappointment for GOP. 

The planets are looking increasingly tense this week and next.  There are a couple of near-simultaneous patterns which may foretell some noteworthy developments in the world scene.  First, both Venus and the Sun make their annual conjunction with Saturn in the coming days.  This is not inherently positive nor negative but rather simply brings forward the qualities of Saturn.  We may therefore see notions of authority and government highlighted in some way as their Saturnian role is brought into relief through events.  Read more...


Stocks rise as Bank of Japan takes QE baton from Fed

(2 November 2014)  For anyone who owns stocks these days, it is surely comforting to know that no matter what, there is a central bank somewhere in the world that's got your back. Just two days after the U.S. Federal Reserve announced that it would end its QE bond buying program on Wednesday, the Bank of Japan revealed that it would undertake its own massive QE-style program designed to boost inflation, depreciate the Yen and prop up the stock market. Quantitative Easing (QE) is the modern equivalent of the printing press, a monetary tool long-used to try to boost sagging economic growth, usually after a period of policy failures and excessive borrowing.

The Fed's QE program has played a key part in the US economic recovery and caused a tripling of the stock market since 2009. We may also humbly suggest that it has increased inequality in the US as the Wall St. wealthy have disproportionately enjoyed the fruits of Janet Yellen's largesse while Main Street has suffered wage stagnation. The paradoxical assumption of QE is that stagnation brought about by excessive debt can be miraculously cured by issuing more debt as central banks assume the role of the lender of last resort. Most sensible people realize this insane scheme will eventually fall apart and the lenders will have to be repaid. Financial markets cheered this fresh injection of liquidity as it freed up investment capital to chase riskier assets like stocks.  Read more...


Stocks rebound as Venus leaves Virgo

(21 October 2014)  Financial markets appear to have calmed down now after suffering from a serious case of the jitters over the past couple of weeks.    After ISIS, the possibility of recession in Germany and then the Ebola scare in the US, investors had become wary of future prospects and had assumed a more defensive position.  But now it seems to be a case of 'no news is good news' as sentiment is more stable this week and stocks have rebounded across the globe. 

The Dow finished down 1% last week and even briefly traded below 16,000 before recovering on Friday and ending the week at 16,380.  The rebound has continued into Monday.  India's Sensex also dropped 1% last week as the Sensex closed at 26,108 and came back strongly in Monday's trade.  This outcome was largely in keeping with our expectations as I thought last week's Mars-Saturn alignment would likely correlate with significant declines.  This was definitely the case as the midweek low was the lowest level for US stocks since April. 

The other factor in the decline and subsequent rebound in financial markets is that the transit of Venus through sidereal Virgo is now over.  Read more...


US Midterm Elections: Obama's bad timing

(13 October 2014)  The bad news keeps on coming for US President Barack Obama.  Not only has Ebola arrived on American shores in the face of his previous reassurances to the contrary, but now a medical worker in Dallas who treated the late Thomas Duncan has contracted it despite following all the appropriate safety protocols. Questions are now being raised about Obama's ability to lead the country amid this worsening crisis in addition to the CDC's competence in trying to keep Ebola under control.  If that weren't enough, reports are emerging about the ineffectiveness of the US air strikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.  ISIS continues to advance on its targets and has now surrounded Baghdad.  If Baghdad falls to advancing ISIS forces, Obama may have no choice but to put US troops on the ground in order to protect its strategic interests in the region. 

The timing of these setbacks could not be worse for the President as the US prepares to go to the polls for the midterm elections on November 4th.  In a previous post, I suggested that the ongoing stationary transit of Rahu (North Lunar Node) on Obama's 9th house cusp was a plausible astrological explanation for his current troubles.  With the 9th house symbolizing foreign places and Rahu representing disruption, especially involving foreign-born people, it was not hard to put two and two together and recognize that Obama's problems very much originate beyond US soil.  Read more...


Ebola arrives in US

(5 October 2014)  The deadly Ebola epidemic entered a new phase last week as the first case was recorded in United States.   On September 30th, the CDC confirmed that Thomas Duncan had contracted Ebola in his native Liberia and had become ill after arriving on a visit to his family in Dallas, Texas.  While Duncan is undergoing treatment, the CDC is scrambling to find all his contacts between September 24 and 28 when he was symptomatic but not yet quarantined in hospital.  This is the first recorded case outside of West Africa since the latest outbreak began in March in Guinea.   This Ebola outbreak is not yet under control and has killed more than 3000 people to date.

In a previous post in August, I offered an admittedly preliminary and somewhat speculative analysis of the current outbreak.  The problem was that the beginning or "birth" of Ebola is ultimately unknowable: we cannot know exactly when it first jumped from animals to human.  In the absence of any reliable data, I suggested a possible chart for the first case of Ebola in terms of an individual seeking medical attention.  Based on this chart, I thought that the outbreak might begin to ebb by now.  Obviously, this hasn't happened as the number of cases continues to grow exponentially.    Read more...


Obama's war on ISIS and the perils of Rahu

(28 September 2014)  One of the ironies of American history is that the presidents who are seemingly the least inclined towards the use of military power end up being some of its main practitioners.  Woodrow Wilson (WW1), FDR (WW2), LBJ (Vietnam) are famous for campaigning against war but ended up in the thick of it despite their more humanitarian or isolationist impulses. Now it seems Barack Obama is the latest president to undergo this reluctant conversion to military force as he has committed US troops and air power into Iraq and Syria to fight the rising threat of ISIS.  In 2008, Obama campaigned on getting the US out of Iraq after a long and painful war and finally achieved this goal in 2011 to much popular fanfare and national relief. 

However, things haven't gone well since then as the Iraqi government has been narrowly dominated by Shiites and have therefore alienated much of the Sunni population in the north.  This has opened the door to radical groups like ISIS to move into Iraq from its base from the already war-ravaged Syria.  The lack of a US military presence on the ground has made a bad situation worse since there was no co-ordination or oversight to the fledging Iraqi army.   Read more...


Alibaba IPO sets record

(21 September 2014)  China-based e-commerce giant Alibaba went public on Friday as its $22 Billion IPO was the biggest in history.  Started in 1999, Alibaba is now among the biggest companies in the world and is poised to erode the market dominance of US-based companies like Ebay and Amazon.  While the financial structure of the company and its shares have come under some criticism, the future looks bright for this rising Asian star in global e-commerce. 

After some delays matching the huge volume of buy and sell orders, the first trade of Alibaba (symbol:BABA) took place at 11.54 a.m. The resulting first trade chart is now the horoscope of Alibaba's shares.  First trade charts represent a kind of "birth" of the publicly traded version of the company and provide useful clues to the ups and downs of the share price going forward.  Founding and incorporation dates also reflect the overall fortunes of the company, and therefore can add additional information about the direction of share prices.   Read more...


Scottish referendum pushes UK to the brink

(14 September 2014)  The people of Scotland are on the verge of making history this week.  On Thursday, they will vote on whether they will become an independent country or remain part of the United Kingdom. Under the leadership of First Minister Alex Salmond, the "Yes" side has enjoyed considerable gains in the popularity in the past weeks. Recent polls now show about a 50-50 split for Scottish independence.  The gains for the independence side has brought about a vigorous response by pro-Union "No" supporters including intensive campaigning by the leaders of all four UK political parties.  The vote will likely be very close but which side will win?

Based on my understanding of the key astrological influences at the time of the referendum, I think the chances are high that Scotland will vote to remain in the UK.  There are a few angles one could take in answering this question, but let's focus on the chart of pro-independence leader Alex Salmond.  Born 31 December 1954 at 4.30 p.m., Salmond's chart is quite strong as one would expect.  His 10th house Moon in Pisces hints at his ability to lead (10th house) people towards an idealistic vision (Pisces).  His talents in this kind of undertaking receives a huge boost from the very close trine aspect of the Jupiter-Uranus conjunction in his second house.  Read more...


Draghi cuts rates as Europe slips back into recession

(7 September 2014)  One wonders when all this talk about an economy that is "moving in the right direction" will finally end and the economy will truly get back to "normal".   But six years after the Great Recession of 2008, most Western economies are still struggling and remain below their pre-meltdown levels by most measures. 

This never-ending recovery has seen the official US unemployment fall to 6% but many discouraged workers have simply dropped out of the labor force and are therefore not counted.  Wages have been stagnant while much of the Fed's zero-interest rate and QE policy seems to have helped Wall St. and the wealthy more than the average person.  The Fed's version of trickle down economics has purposely driven up the stock market to record highs.  Unfortunately, someone should inform Janet Yellen that the majority of Americans don't actually own stocks so this only makes the rich richer.  The situation in Europe is arguably worse as several countries have now actually slipped back into recession as official unemployment is stuck at a stubbornly high 12%.

Enter ECB President Mario Draghi.  Last week, the head of the European Central Bank followed the Fed's playbook and cut EU interest rates to near zero (0.05% to be precise) and announced a QE-style debt buyback program of his own.   Read more...


Russia invades eastern Ukraine

(31 August 2014) Russian troops invaded eastern Ukraine last week prompting calls for tougher sanctions against the Putin government.  Putin denies that any invasion took place but evidence is mounting that the Russian adventure in Ukraine has entered a new phase.  Some observers are suggesting that Putin wants a land connection to Crimea, which Russia already took control of several months ago.  Thus far, US and EU sanctions have had little effect in deterring Russia and the eastern Ukrainian rebels.   Putin continues to bank on the unwillingness of the West to stop him militarily.  Meanwhile, newly-elected Ukrainian President Poroshenko is calling for NATO membership and armed intervention by the West. 

In a previous post in July, I suggested that Putin was likely to do something unpredictable and likely unsuccessful in August and September.  I noted that transiting Rahu (North Node) conjoined his Saturn at 24 Virgo.  I also thought that last week's Mars-Saturn conjunction at 23 Libra could also signify important developments in this crisis since it would align with Putin's Saturn.  Read more...


Hillary Clinton's difficult summer

(18 August 2014)  It's been a tough summer for Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.   The former first lady and Secretary of State published a political memoir that met with tepid reviews and poor book sales.   Many commentators saw it as thinly-veiled political ploy designed to boost her profile before her formal declaration for the race to the Democratic nominee for President for the 2016 election.  Her subsequent book tour did little to improve the the book's reception as Ms. Clinton tried in vain to deflect criticism.  Then in a magazine interview two weeks ago, she was openly critical of Obama and distanced herself from him over his handling of the Middle East and Syria in particular.  She was forced to awkwardly walk back her comments in order to appear less confrontational towards the Obama White House.  These missteps have seen her popularity fall 10% in the past two months although she remains the overwhelming favorite to be the nominee of the Democratic Party. 

We can see that Hillary Clinton has been suffering from a bout of "Saturnitis" for much of the summer.  The Saturn station in late July was just one degree off her natal Venus.  Saturn-Venus transits are often times when life feels like it is contracting rather than expanding.  Read more...


Robin Williams 1951-2014: the burdens of creativity

(13 August 2014)  Millions of people around the world are mourning the passing of beloved American actor and comedian Robin Williams who died by his own hand on Monday.  Williams had endured a life-long struggle with depression and substance abuse which belied his high energy and cheerful public persona.  He was 63.  Williams was known for his lightning quick wit and improvisational ability in his comic roles as well as his depictions of a tender and often wounded soul in his dramatic performances.  He also had a singular talent for creating -- often on the spot -- numerous voices, characters, and hilarious dialogue for his many animated children's films.  As a measure of his popularity, his many films are said to have grossed $5 Billion.

While astrology can only begin to capture his unique genius, Williams does have a remarkable horoscope that befits one of the most popular actors of all-time.  Venus is usually a dominant planet in the charts of entertainers as it reflects an aesthetic sensibility that is pleasing to others.  His Venus was conjunct Ketu in the 11th house (gains!) in a close opposition to the Moon, which was tightly conjunct Rahu.  The Venus-Moon aspect is a marker for an ability to please others through aesthetic creativity such as acting.  The fact that Venus rules Libra, the rising sign, suggested how artistic pursuits would be the guiding force of his whole life.   Read more...


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%.   Read more...


Palestine under Saturn and Mars: the war in Gaza continues

(3 August 2014)  The fighting in Gaza resumed this weekend after the failure of Friday's cease-fire.  It lasted only ninety minutes.  There are hints that this round of bloodshed may be ending as Israel claims it destroyed most of the Hamas' network tunnels.  Israel may also have an interest in ending its attacks as it has been widely criticized for hitting several civilian targets, most recently a U.N. school which was being used as a shelter.  In last week's post, I wondered if we might get some kind of cease-fire around 2 August and the Mercury-Jupiter conjunction.  As it happened, the cease-fire came the day before.  I also thought it may not hold, and that proved to be correct.  Perhaps peace has a better chance near 16 August when Venus conjoins Jupiter.  We shall see. 

This war presents a problem for astrologers since the Palestinians do not have a proper national horoscope.  They are not yet a full-fledged nation.  All we have is several lesser charts which may or may not be significant for describing developments in Palestine, whether on the West Bank or Gaza.  The best one I have found thus far is the chart of the declaration of Palestinian independence in 1988.  Read more...


Mars-Rahu Part 2: Israel under pressure for Gaza attack

(27 July 2014)  Israel came under increased international criticism for its military action this week as the Palestinian death toll in Gaza topped 1000.  The incursion into Gaza, dubbed Operation Protective Edge, began ten days ago as the Israeli army attempts to stop Hamas rocket attacks and destroy its network of tunnels which have been used to launch attacks on civilians.  The current eruption of violence in Palestine is the worst since the Israel's 2008 Gaza invasion and is another reminder of the intractability of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  

From an astrological perspective, the current action by Israel was very much a reflection of the major influences in its horoscope. The independent nation of Israel was proclaimed on May 14, 1948 at 4.00 p.m.  One of the first things that one notices in the natal chart is that the Ascendant sits at 0 degrees of Libra.  Actually, 00 Libra 00 (i.e. 0 degrees and 0 minutes), according to the Krishnamurti ayanamsha.  This is exactly conjunct the star Spica which is used as the reference point for the entire sidereal zodiac.  Spica is quite auspicious by nature and the fact that Spica was rising on the horizon exactly at the moment that Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion brought the formal independence ceremony to order at 4 o'clock must be seen as similarly auspicious.  Read more...


Global violence erupts on Mars-Rahu; Putin blamed for MH17 shootdown

(20 July 2014)  The world this week seems to be caught in a violent and unstable mood.  Pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine shot down a Malaysian airliner killing all 298 people aboard while Israel's invasion of the Gaza strip has produced hundreds of fatalities.  The brief astrological explanation for these unfortunate events is that Mars, the planet of violence, conjoined Rahu (North Lunar Node), the planet of distortion and disruption.  The Mars-Rahu conjunction happens about once every two years and is often a time of sudden and violent events.   Let's take a closer look.

The ongoing crisis in eastern Ukraine took a dangerous and tragic turn this week with the shooting down of an airliner bound by pro-Russian rebels.  In a cruel twist of fate, the crash of  MH17 marks the second time Malaysia's national airline has been beset by tragedy after the loss of MH370 four months ago.  While the shoot-down of the passenger plane was unintended, the rebels and their sponsor Vladimir Putin have come under intense criticism from the global community.  Russia likely supplied the rebels with the missile that shot down the plane and now may be actively assisting the rebels in obstructing the crash investigation.   Read more...


Indian budget disappointment: Jaitley takes cautious approach

(13 July 2014)  India's Finance Minister Arun Jaitley delivered a much-anticipated budget last week as the incoming NDA government made its first significant mark on the post-election political landscape.  The budget was met with considerable criticism from many quarters, however, as Jaitley left in place the current tax regime as well as the thorny issue of subsidy rationalization, preferring to defer it to some future date.  Most measures taken were seen as too cautious by most in the business community as many wondered if the ambitious 4.1% deficit target was realistic given the fairly lethargic economy.   Indian stocks declined on the budget news as investors reflected on commitment of the government for serious economic reforms.  Clearly, FM Jaitley and PM Modi are trying to steer a middle path that appeals both to business and the wider population.

This early stumble for the newly minted NDA administration is seen through the current affliction to the horoscope of the swearing-in of PM Narendra Modi.  The swearing-in chart is the "birth" of the government and many subsequent developments on the political scene may be seen through this chart.  The budget disappointment is likely a reflection of the near-conjunction of Rahu and Mars.  Read more...


The astrology of sports: Lionel Messi and the World Cup

(6 July 2014)  What does it take to be a great athlete?  A tenacious work ethic, fiery ambition, natural talent and a supportive family and community environment all play their part, but it doesn't hurt to have a great horoscope as well.  Argentine forward Lionel Messi is widely considered to be the world's best football player.  Whether as member of the FC Barcelona club or as captain of Argentina's national team, Messi tops all the relevant scoring and analytic rankings as the world's best player.   As the World Cup enters its semi-final round, it is worthwhile to take a look at the Messi's horoscope to see what it may reveal about his talent and fame as well as providing hints about the fate of Argentina in their upcoming games.

Messi was born June 24, 1987 at 5.55 a.m. in Rosario, Argentina.  There is some uncertainty about his time of birth as there is a second 8.20 p.m. time out there also.  I would tend to favour the 5.55 time as the chart seems to fit his life better. That said, we should keep an asterisk handy just in case.   One of the great things about this chart is the powerful 1st house.   The sign of Taurus (the Bull) rises with its ruler Venus and the exalted Moon also in the 1st house just below the horizon.  The 1st house represents vitality and self-projection and whenever it is this strong it describes a person who has a lot of positive karma who is successful and gets noticed for his efforts.  Read more...


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.   Read more...


Predicting success: when George 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.  Read more...


Iraq in chaos as insurgents advance 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.   Read more...



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.   Read more...


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.  Read more...


Narendra Modi sworn-in as India's 15th PM

(28 May 2014) In a much-anticipated celebration, BJP leader Narendra Modi was sworn-in as the 15th Prime Minister of India on Monday.  Modi was swept to power in a landslide as Indians rejected Congress and the Gandhi dynasty in favour of free-market reforms, bureaucratic transparency and deregulation.  Modi now faces the daunting challenge to having to live up to expectations and fulfill the hopes and aspirations of his countrymen. How successful will he be? 

Astrology offers a window on the Modi's incoming BJP administration through the swearing-in horoscope.  The moment that Narendra Modi took the oath marked the symbolic beginning or "birth" to his tenure as PM.  The resulting chart therefore provides clues to not only the nature of his government, but also insights of specific times of triumph and setback.  I would caution, however, that the oath horoscope cannot simply be read as one would read a natal horoscope of person.  In my experience, we have to be more general in our analysis of the oath-taking chart by focusing more on planets and aspects rather  and less on house placements or house rulerships.  By way of comparison, it is useful to look at some documented swearing-in charts of US presidents just to see how these charts work. 

On paper, Ronald Reagan may have the most in common with Modi's promise to move towards free market solutions and away from more a more activist, government-run economy.  Reagan's business-friendly administration represented a sharp break with the previous government of Jimmy Carter.   Read more...


Coup in Thailand: Endgame for Thaksin?

(25 May 2014)  Democracy in Thailand took a step backward last week as the military launched its 12th successful coup since 1932, the year that marked the end of the absolute monarchy in what was then Siam.  The coup attempted to restore order in Bangkok following a period of protests and violent unrest against the elected government of Yingluck Shinawatra, the sister (and proxy) of the exiled former PM Thaksin Shinawatra.   The coup is the latest move in an ongoing struggle between the populist Thaksin and his mostly rural and working class supporters and the royalist elites and their middle class supporters centered around the capital Bangkok.  Since first becoming PM in 2001, Thaksin and his surrogates have won the largest majorities in the history of Thai democracy but have been widely criticized for corruption, human rights violations and censorship of the media.  Under the leadership of General Prayuth Chan-Ocha, the military junta is generally regarded as favoring the monarchy and traditional elites and is hostile to Thaksin's new-style authoritarian populism.  The military's promise to reform the constitution before new elections may be seen as a warning against the Thaksin regime.

In a previous article from early February, I had suggested that a coup was more likely to occur in June and July around the Saturn-Uranus alignment which activated a key planet in the 1932 chart of Thailand.  This prediction was somewhat off the mark in terms of timing (the coup happened on May 22 -- just two days after Mars stationed direct), although we can see from the chart just how close that Saturn-Uranus alignment is to Mercury (21 Gemini).  Read more...



Narendra Modi scores historic victory in Indian election

(18 May 2014)  Narendra Modi scored a landslide victory in India's Lok Sabha election last week as the incumbent Congress Party suffered a devastating defeat.  The win for the pro-business BJP  promises to bring sweeping change to India which has seen its economic progress slowed by endemic corruption, bureaucratic red tape, poor infrastructure, and stubbornly high inflation. But how successful will Mr Modi be in undertaking these massive challenges?

A reliable way to gain insight into the future tenure of a sitting government is to view the horoscope of its swearing-in ceremony.  At this time, however, it is still not yet known when Narendra Modi will be sworn-in as Prime Minister, although current indications suggest it will be May 21st.  I will update my site once the date and time of his swearing-in becomes known.  Alternatively, the other tool we have is Modi's natal chart.  While his birth time remains in dispute, it is still possible to glean some indications of future trends using just his day and year of birth. 

The first year of his administration looks quite mixed with no shortage of obstacles and setbacks.   Read more...


Understanding China's stock market boom and bust

(11 May 2014)  Readers of this site will know that one of my main areas of astrological interest is the stock market.  While I find economics and investments inherently interesting, stock prices provide a continuous flow of data against which astrological ideas can be measured and evaluated.  The stock market is therefore incredibly useful for an evidence-based astrology where changing planetary alignments can be correlated against the ups and downs in the financial markets.  This is not to say any such correlations are easy or obvious since the potential number of independent variables in terms of planetary positions is almost prohibitively high.   The challenge for financial astrology is to exclude mixed conditions where no clear outcome is suggested and focus instead on the smaller number of high probability planetary scenarios where clearer outcomes are more apparent.

An an illustration of high probability alignments, we can look at the ups and downs of China's stock market.  Since unleashing the free market in 1978 under Deng Xiaoping, China's booming economy has been a key ingredient in global economic growth.  Its economic expansion reached its apex in 2007 just before the financial meltdown.  At that time, the Chinese stock market reached a high of 6000 on the Shanghai Composite Index in October.  Optimism had reached its maximum as domestic and foreign investors had bid up prices on stocks 500% in just the previous two years.  But the meltdown changed all that as stocks crashed through most of 2008.  Read more...


The MERS virus arrives in US: what is the threat?

(4 May 2014)  The US recorded its first case of MERS this week as an Indiana man returning from a visit to Saudi Arabia came down with the mysterious virus and was hospitalized.  He is said to be recovering and out of danger.  MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) is a new and deadly virus that has sickened more than 400 people, of whom a quarter have died since 2012.  MERS has similar features to the SARS virus that caused a worldwide travel alert in 2003.  While the MERS virus seems to be inefficiently transmitted and thus has remained fairly contained within Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, its high mortality rate is cause for concern.  But just how much of a threat is MERS?

In a previous article on SARS, I noted how global epidemics may be more likely to occur when the planet Neptune is prominent in some way, either by transit or within the national horoscopes of affected countries.  Although it is not always a malefic influence in our lives, Neptune is the planet most closely associated with disease and weakness.  Read more...


Ukraine tensions rise as Putin weighs options

(26 April 2014)  The Ukraine Crisis remained front and center last week as Russian troops massed on its eastern border while NATO beefed up its military presence in nearby Poland.  Russian President Vladimir Putin appears to be ignoring diplomatic efforts and Western economic sanctions aimed at defusing the situation as the world is entering a new and dangerous Cold War 2.0.  Putin seems unwilling to accept the new pro-Western government in Kiev and is giving aid to pro-Russian factions in Eastern Ukraine.  If Russia sends its army into Ukraine, it would mark a new phase in the crisis which will send shock waves throughout the world. 

As I have written previously, the current Mars retrograde cycle is one possible culprit for this geopolitical impatience and brinksmanship.  Mars turned retrograde back on March 1st and will culminate its backwards journey through the sky on May 20th.  Mars retrograde may be less about the implications of the backward direction of the red, warrior planet than its velocity.  When a planet is retrograde, it is moving more slowly than normal.  As a rule, slower moving planets have more energy and become more prominent in their effects.  It is not too surprising that this slow moving Mars is correlating to a greater sense of conflict and an inability to compromise.  Read more...


US stocks drop ahead of Lunar Eclipse and Grand Cross

(13 April 2014)  Stocks were mostly lower last week as weak data out of China and Japan suggested the global economy may be slowing.  The technology sector led US stocks lower as the the Dow lost more than 2% closing near the 16,000 level.  The Indian market fared better on optimism on the growing likelihood of a Modi election win.  The Sensex touched a new all-time weekly closing high at 22,628.  This largely bearish outcome was somewhat surprising as I thought we might have seen more strength later in the week on the Mercury-Venus aspect.  Monday was negative across the board as the Sun-Mars aspect fulfilled its bearish promise and then we began to see Mercury and Venus take hold after that.  But the late week sell-off appeared to foreshadow the coming of a more difficult Mars influence (see below).

I had also thought that stocks would likely remain fairly firm here in the first half of April as the Jupiter-Uranus-Pluto aspect becomes exact on April 20th.  This is a fairly reliable bullish influence and is the main planetary reason for the rally in Q1 2014 and the current lofty levels of most stock markets worldwide.  Read more...


India goes to the polls

(6 April 2014)  Voting in the world's biggest democracy begins tomorrow as India goes to the polls to elect a new government.  The BJP-led NDA alliance is well ahead in recent polls so it is seems likely that Narendra Modi will be the next Prime Minister after the final results are announced on May 16th.  There is still some doubt if the NDA will have the required 272 seats for a majority in the Lok Sabha or if other parties will have to be coaxed into joining any BJP government.

As I noted in this space last week, the astrological influences are broadly favourable to a Modi and BJP victory.  Of course, without clearly established birth times for either Modi or Congress candidate Rahul Gandhi it is more difficult to make a categorical prediction of the outcome.  Various birth times have been suggested for both candidates, but thus far none has emerged as definitive or accurate.  For this reason, we need to use whatever auxiliary means to provide supporting evidence for forecasting the outcome. 

The chart of India may be useful in this respect.  Read more...


Narendra Modi to be next Indian PM?

(30 March 2014)  If recent media polls are any indication, it looks like the BJP's Narendra Modi will be the next Prime Minister of India.  Modi has enjoyed a large double digit lead over Congress rival Rahul Gandhi for several months and with voting to begin on 7 April, it seems quite likely that the BJP will oust the Congress Party in the Lok Sahba elections.  The elections take place over a five-week period with the announcement of the final results due on 16 May.  The Indian stock market rallied strongly on the expectation of a BJP win as investors anticipate more pro-business policies from a Modi-led government.

While we do not know Modi's time of birth, we can cast his Chandra Lagna chart from his date of birth, 17 September 1950.  When the Ascendant is unknown, the Moon can be used as a substitute Ascendant to approximate the 1st house in a chart.  The Moon is in Scorpio with Mars suggesting a capable and assertive character who can act decisively.  He was born was a very strong stellium of planets in close conjunction in sidereal Virgo: Saturn, Sun, Mercury and Ketu (south lunar node).  Read more...


Yellen's comments boost US Dollar

(24 March 2014) Fed Chair Janet Yellen threw the US Dollar a life preserver last week.  Yellen's off the cuff remark that the Fed could raise interest rates just six months after ending its QE program later this year caught markets by surprise as it was sooner than many expected.  Stocks and gold sold off and the Dollar took flight on anticipation the higher rates may be on the way as soon as early 2015.  Despite the threat of higher rates, the Fed is maintaining its zero interest rate policy for the foreseeable future and will likely only raise rates if there is more weak economic data to justify such a move.  As long as official core inflation remains below 2% and growth is sluggish, the Fed has promised to keep the cost of borrowing money as low as it can. 

But the question is whether Yellen's comment was a rookie mistake or a sign of an evolution of interest rate policy as the Fed seeks other means to support the US economy.  More pointedly, is the Dollar going to extend its rally against other world currencies as more investors anticipate higher US interest rates?   Read more...


Gold outlook: Is the rally for real?

(16 March 2014)  Gold prices moved higher last week as Russia tightened its hold on Crimea and threatened a full-scale invasion of the rest of Ukraine.  Gold is a traditional safe haven investment that often does well in times of geopolitical uncertainty, as the current crisis in Ukraine shows.  Gold finished the week at $1382, well above its recent low of $1180 set at the end of December.   But can gold extend its rally and recapture its previous levels of $1900 or is this just a short-lived technical bounce?  With the Fed going ahead with its taper of QE, gold seems less attractive as currency debasement and inflation fears are receding. A major war on European soil would no doubt revive gold's fortunes, but that seems unlikely as most analysts do not expect NATO or the US going to war over Ukraine, a traditional Russian satellite within its sphere of influence.

There are any number of astrological techniques that are useful in forecasting the price of gold.  The one I would like to highlight today is tertiary progressions. 
Tertiaries are a Western astrological technique that assume a symbolic equivalence between time frames of planetary motion.  Tertiary progressions (TP) assume that one day's worth of motion of the planets will contain a symbolic significance for one lunar month.  This is a condensed ratio of time that is 1:27, in which 27 is the approximate number of days in a lunar month.   Read more...


The mystery of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370

(9 March 2014)  Almost two days after it disappeared from radar screens, there is still no sign of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.  Originating out of Kuala Lumpur and bound for Beijing, MH370 apparently vanished from tracking radar less than two hours into its flight.  It is believed to have gone down somewhere in the Gulf of Thailand between Malaysia and Vietnam.  There was no distress call from the pilots and thus far there is also no sign of wreckage in the sea.  There were 279 people on board.  There is a possibility of terrorism as several passengers were travelling with stolen passports but that remains speculative at this point.  The vanishing plane is a mysterious and disturbing event that has so far not yielded any answers.

A horoscope cast for the time of take-off provides an intriguing picture.  MH370 took off from Kuala Lumpur at 00.41 a.m. on March 8th.  The resulting chart of the flight shows nearly exactly angular Moon and Neptune.  The Moon (13 Taurus) is exactly on the 7th house cusp while Neptune (11 Aquarius) sits precisely on the unequal 4th house cusp (or IC).   This combination is about as appropriate as one can imagine since Neptune symbolizes mystery, confusion and above all, water.  Read more...


Putin calls Obama's bluff in Crimea

(2 March 2014)  Vladimir Putin apparently called Barack Obama's bluff this week as Russia prepared to invade the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine.  Despite Obama's repeated warnings not to invade, Putin nonetheless received Parliamentary approval to send the Russian army into this predominantly ethnic Russian region in Eastern Ukraine. Putin has taken advantage of the instability in Ukraine which was just in the process of forming a new government after ousting President Yanukovych. With the US and the West seemingly reluctant to engage Russia militarily, Putin is taking a calculated risk that Obama and his allies will not be able to intervene.  And even if the West did decide to help Ukraine to defend its borders, any military aid may be too little and too late to stop the nearby Russian tanks.

We can see some clear sources of trouble in President Obama's horoscope that reflect his latest foreign policy problem.  Most crucial is that Mars, the planet of conflict and violence, had just stationed retrograde at 3 degrees of Libra on Saturday, the day after the covert invasion of advanced forces.  Mars is almost exactly aspecting Obama's Saturn at 2 Capricorn by square aspect.   Read more...


Ukraine protests ousts President on planetary stations

(23 February 2014)  Ukraine's ongoing violent protests against its authoritarian pro-Russian government came to an abrupt end this week as a defiant President Yanukovych escaped the chaos by helicopter.   A new unity government was sworn-in the next day.  After months of street battles and violence had destroyed Independence Square of Kiev, the end came more suddenly that most of the protesters could have hoped.  The victory of this so-called Ukrainian Revolution will likely once again orient the former Soviet Republic towards Europe and the EU.  Although freely elected, the previous government had become increasingly intolerant of criticism and free speech in recent years and had moved away from Europe and into closer alliance with Russia.  It is an open question if Ukraine's political system is pliable enough to handle the deeply-rooted divisions in the country as half want closer ties to Europe and half want to be closer to Russia. 

As an astrologer, I am naturally curious about how the current planets might have related to the natal chart of the Ukraine.  Certainly, there is an unusual amount of energy in the sky these days as we approach a rare quadruple station of Mercury, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter all within one week of each other.  A station occurs when planets change their apparent direction from our vantage point on Earth.  Read more...


Markets applaud Yellen's inaugural testimony as Fed Chair

(16 February 2014)  Incoming Fed Chair Janet Yellen made her first appearance before Congress this week as legislators quizzed her on the Federal Reserve's monterary policies.   Yellen's remarks were well received as US financial markets generally rose throughout the week.  Yellen emphasized the continuity of the Fed's policy of near-zero interest rates and the promise to extend the tapering of QE as long as the economic data warranted it.  US stocks climbed through the week on her testimony which seemed to calm worries over a possible slowdown.  Gold investors were especially enthused over her desire to increase inflation to 2.5% through further measures.  Gold gained 3% on the week closing near $1320.  Indian stocks slipped a bit, although they remained within their recent trading range.

In other words, Yellen is telling markets exactly what they want to hear.  If things turn sour again for the economy, the Fed will be there to open the taps and flood the market with lots more free money.  Whether this will actually improve employment and the economy as a whole is another question, but it will certainly boost stocks and make the Wall St bankers happy.  Read more...


Sochi Winter Olympics open under Mercury and Neptune

(9 February 2014)  The Sochi Winter Olympics got underway this week amidst extremely tight security, criticism about the incomplete state of some facilities, as well as ongoing human rights criticism about Russia's anti-gay law.  The Games are an opportunity for Vladimir Putin's Russia to show the world that 'Russia is back' after spending many years in a post-Soviet malaise.  Aside from the athletic competitions themselves, questions arise about what these Games will bring.  Observers are wondering if security will be tight enough to protect athletes and spectators from the terror threat from Russia's Chechen minority.  More broadly, we can ask if Russia will be successful in hosting the games or whether any snafus or missteps could undermine the spirit of goodwill that the Olympics typically engender.  It is also reasonable to ask if any anti-gay law protests will disrupt any events thus causing Putin and Russia embarrassment on a global stage.

The horoscope of the opening of the games is a good place to start to address these questions.  Putin declared the games open at 9.28 p.m. local time (-3:00).  The resulting chart provides a glimpse into the nature of the event as well as a possible template against which transits can be analyzed for future developments.  Read more...


Political crisis in Thailand: Saturn-Mars preclude resolution

(2 February 2014)  Thailand's controversial election was held today amidst an atmosphere of violence, distrust, and confusion.  Voting in many districts was postponed due to protesters blocking the arrival of ballots and officials.  There was no election at all in nine southern provinces where all candidates had been prevented from registering in January.  The election seems to be little more than a public relations exercise for the besieged government of Yingluck Shinawatra, the sister of the indicted exiled former Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra. The main opposition Democrat party boycotted the election as they consider the government illegitimate due to numerous corruption charges and chronic economic mismanagement.  With the election unlikely to settle anything, there seemed to be little hope that deep class and regional divisions in this normally peaceful Southeast Asian country would be resolved any time soon.

The astrological perspective on the crisis in Thailand suggests that the political stalemate will likely continue.  The Thailand chart that marks the beginning of the current Chakri royal dynasty -- a moment in time chosen by Thai astrologers in 1782 --  shows a very heavily afflicted Ascendant by the transit of Saturn.  Saturn (28 Libra) is slowing down ahead of its retrograde station at 29 Libra on March 2nd.  Saturn is usually a bad planet, especially when it opposes a sensitive point in the chart like the Ascendant.   Read more...


Global stocks fall sharply on Argentine devaluation

(26 January 2014)  US and European stocks plunged Friday on worries of a possible emerging markets meltdown following the surprise devaluation of the beleaguered Argentine Peso.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average had its worst week in months losing more than 3% and closing below 16,000.  Indian stocks fared better as encouraging domestic data continued to fuel optimism.  Although the Sensex did get caught up in Friday's global downdraft, it closed modestly higher for the week at 21,133. 

The extent of Friday's decline was somewhat surprising, although I did expect negativity to manifest in the second half of the week given the Mercury-Mars aspect.  The first half was more positive as I thought the effects of the approaching Venus direct station opposite bullish Jupiter would likely put a floor under stocks.  The somewhat different outcomes in Asia vs. US/Europe is partially attributable to the specific natal charts in question.  The chart of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) was not clearly under pressure by the bad aspects this week.  However, the NYSE chart was much more afflicted due to the aspect between transiting Mars and the natal Moon.  In addition, transiting Ketu (South Lunar Node) is closing in on its conjunction with natal Saturn.   Read more...


Gas prices continue to tumble: how low can they go?

(19 January 2014)  Gasoline prices are continuing to fall in most places as the market adjusts to a glut of oil on the market.   Although crude oil bounced a little higher last week closing at $94 for West Texas Intermediate, the price trend has been mostly down ever since the Syrian Crisis met with a negotiated conclusion in the fall.  This is one critical factor in the reduction of the usual Middle East geopolitical price premium.  Actually, there is a world surplus of oil now as the US has continuously increased its domestic production through the introduction of shale oil.  More recently, the emerging prospect of a nuclear treaty with Iran means that the US will likely lift the embargo on Iranian oil thus increasing the world's supply by up to five million barrels a day with the stroke of a pen.

Some analysts suggest that the price of crude could continue to fall to $80 or below in the near term as long as there are no sudden changes in the supply-demand balance.  But just how realistic is this forecast of $80 crude oil?  Based on my reading of the Crude Oil Futures horoscope, I would say that $80 is very possible over the next 1-2 months.   Read more...







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