2012 Forecast : the New Year's chart

January 1, 2012 That most inauspicious of years, 2012, has finally arrived in all of its hyped-up, gloom-laden glory.  2012 has long represented the key date for those in the apocalypse business.  As everyone knows, the Mayan calendar ends on December 21, 2012.   So is the world going to end on a snowy Friday this December?  Hardly.  Actually, I don't believe a word of it.   I have no idea why the Mayan calendar abruptly ends this year.  Perhaps they simply ran out of stone or assumed a return to the beginning of the calendar not unlike a car's odometer hitting 99,999.  What's puzzling about the popularity of this prophecy is that no one has bothered to check their track record.  What else have they correctly predicted?  As far as I know, nothing.  They didn't predict the collapse of their own civilization around 1000 C.E. nor the subsequent Spanish conquest which transformed the entire region forever.  So you have an ancient source with no track record to speak of and all of a sudden the world is going to end.  Forgive me, but this doesn't seem very persuasive.   A more compeling explanation of the calendar is offered here from National Geographic

Of course, astrology has its own share of credibility problems (now there's an understatement!) but at least there are some pieces of actual evidence in the form of planetary correspondences that suggest some trends for the coming year.  I am a strong advocate of the the New Year's chart for forecasting general themes for the upcoming year. While it does not do a good job on precise timing, general themes that are reflective of planetary aspects often do seem to manifest at some point during the year.  The New Year's chart therefore becomes a handy barometer for narrowing down the overarching themes of the next twelve months.  While I am not expecting the world to end in 2012 (bad news perhaps for those of us with an underwater mortgage), I should say off the top that the New Year's chart for 2012 looks quite afflicted.  This suggests that 2012 could be a difficult year on a number of fronts, including the economy.

A short detour to 1989

First, a word on the New Year's chart itself.  The most obvious objection to this chart is that it does not represent any significant astronomical event such as an eclipse or a conjunction.  That is certainly true and yet the first of January has been a hugely important symbolic event for many hundreds of years across an increasingly wide swath of the globe.  And of course the proof of the pudding is in the eating.  The track record for this chart has been impressive for capturing major events.  By way of an illustrative example, we can look at the New Year's chart for 1989, the year the Berlin Wall came down and communism suffered its official defeat as a rival to democratic capitalism. This was an extraordinary year in human history which saw the end of totalitarian dictatorship and the emancipation of many millions of people from a tyrannical system that characterized much of the 20th century. We would expect such a momentous event to show up quite clearly in any horoscope that purported to describe these events.  The good news is that it clearly does. 



January 1, 1989  Midnight  (00.00)


The Moon-Mars opposition suggests antagonism and popular rebellion.  The Moon usually stands for the people as a whole so any affliction by malefic planets such as Mars can indicate some suffering or expression of their displeasure or unhappiness.  This was very much in evidence in the months leading up to the fall of communism that came in November 1989. 

Now look at the Sun in the 4th house in this chart.  It is closely conjunct Neptune, the dissolver.  The Sun represents governments and leadership in mundane astrology and its tight conjunction with Neptune reflects a weakness or even sickness in government.  Authority is dissolving in this chart as leadership is rendered powerless and perhaps relying too much on Neptune's impractical utopian visions.

Another close aspect that stands out here is that almost exact trine aspect between Ketu (South Node) and Saturn, again in the 4th house.  Saturn symbolizes structures of all kinds and its placement in the 4th house suggests foundations of society -- the very bedrock upon which order rests.  One of the unique contributions of Vedic astrology is that Ketu is correctly seen as a malefic planet that breaks down order.  Ketu aspects usually confer some notion of breaking boundaries or denying substance.  In its pure form, it is a spiritual planet that renunciates the material world.  In the broader sense, it suggests destruction.  And its close linkage with Saturn here seems unmistakable: the foundation of society will be broken.

But the happy resolution to all of these other harsh or negative influences can be found in the other close aspect -- the tight Mercury-Jupiter aspect.  Jupiter's wisdom and justice combines with Mercury's intellect to deliver a desired result that half of Europe had been waiting for for 40 years.  Mercury-Jupiter therefore embodies notions of freedom and "correct" results.  At its most basic level, Mercury-Jupiter simply means "good news".


2012

While I am not suggesting that the 2012 will resemble 1989, we may be able to drawn some useful lessons from the similarities and differences between the two charts.  The first thing that strikes us about the 2012 New Year's chart is the relatively high number of close aspects.  As a general rule, the higher the number of close aspects, the more historically significant the year will be in terms of major events.  The opposition aspect between Jupiter and Saturn figures prominently in this chart.  This is a stressful aspect that suggests blocked progress or distorted application of reason and intelligence.  Saturn's influence here on Jupiter can sometimes translate into a stubbornness and even fanaticism about beliefs.  This may therefore indicate intransigence in the international arena where cooperation is hard to find.  Both Uranus and Neptune are also involved in this alignment so that may magnify the historic importance of this intransigence between the forces of tradition (Saturn) and progress (Jupiter).  This combination could manifest in any number of ways.  Progressive movements such as the Arab Spring may encounter stiffer headwinds from entrenched elites and theocratic conservatives.  This seems to be already happening anyway, but the Jupiter-Saturn influence does not bode well for movements such as those. Attempts to implement new ideas and policies will likely encounter strong opposition from the status quo.  This does not look like a time of revolution, in other words.  At best, it might be pre-revolutionary where gaps in the existing order are exploited for tactical advantage by the other side.



January 1 2012  Midnight (00.00)


Even more problematic is the almost exact Mars-Mercury square aspect. Close Mars aspects are never good and this one may well mean another difficult year for the economy.  2011 was pretty weak economically speaking, but 2012 looks worse.  Mercury is said to represent communication and transport but it is more generally taken to symbolize trade and commerce.  This Mercury affliction therefore would suggest the world economy will continue to sputter.  It also increases the likelihood of another recession.  Stock markets may also be negatively affected by this Mars-Mercury influence.  The fact that Mercury is fairly close to Rahu in this chart only makes the probability of real economic trouble that much greater. 

The hits just keep on coming.  The very close Venus-Ketu aspect could represent the rise of poverty and hard times.  Venus symbolizes luxury and enjoyment and its affliction by renunciatory Ketu may produce a sense of a surrendering or taking away of consumer wealth.  A less grim interpretation might suggest the emergence of a social movement of asceticism and anti-consumerism.  The Occupy Wall Street movement may have touched a nerve on that score, as it sprang out of the anti-consumerist Adbusters ethos.  Perhaps we will see the OWS 99% movement morph into something that takes direct aim at consumer culture.  

We can see another stressful aspect in the Sun-Moon square.  Indians call this the "Ashtami Day" and coincides with the First Quarter of the Moon. It is associated with situations of conflict or where there is a state of awkwardness or absence of resolution.  It is considered quite unlucky.  By itself, it may not mean that much in terms of actual events.  The year may simply "feel" off kilter or slightly off in some indescribable way.  But given the high number of clearly negative aspects that are occurring alongside of it, it does make me think that 2012 will be a tough year.   The people (Moon) may feel out of sync with their governments (Sun) and this could lead to more protests and rioting.  The Mars influence on Mercury, which rules both the 1st and 10th houses,. means that conflict and strife could be repeating themes this year.  Unlike last year which saw many governments topple in the Middle East, this year may not bring about as much wholesale change.  As I noted in last year's chart, the 10th house was afflicted and this suggested obvious trouble for government and leaders.   This seems to have broadly corresponded with the Arab Spring which saw several autocratic rulers fall by the wayside. This year's chart seems less punishing to leaders somehow.  The volatility and opposition to authority will be there, but I can't quite see the follow through that would produce real change.

So while the world isn't going to end as the Mayan calendar would have it, it will get a lot more interesting.  While recent years have seen the natural disasters in focus (Japan, Haiti, 2004 tsunami), this year may see the focus shift more towards the man-made world of the economy, politics and culture.   Our economic challenges will likely deepen and this will stoke more criticism of the prevailing system.  But the lack of any clearly positive aspects in this chart, suggests that no resolution will be found any time soon.  Unlike the 1989 chart which did feature a very nice aspect and reflected the positive end to an unjust system of government, there is no happy ending in store for us this year.  The worsening economic situation may only generate more questions, criticism, and opposition.  I would expect elites and established institutions to come under increased scrutiny.  The world may not be ending in 2012, but it may well be changing into something more unrecognizable.  After all, things have to fall apart before they can recombine in a new form.  Perhaps 2012 will be seen as a year of erosion, dissolution and dismantling. 

I hope I will not be accused of bringing in my own version of doom and gloom through the back door here.  I am merely reporting the evidence as I see it.  If the chart is bad, then I have to say it is bad.  But even if it is fairly nasty, it does not mean there is going to be total anarchy and mayhem or anything of the kind.  It simply means that society is likely going through a period of significant structural change in the economy where dislocation and hardship affect a larger proportion of the population.  That is what happened in the 1930s and it is happening again now as globalization and the technological revolution have cast aside the 20th century's model of industrial production.  Times of change can be painful but they also open up new paths to prosperity.   Let's try to focus on the long term benefits of this change while we muddle through the short term turbulence as best we can.  

May I wish a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2012 to all MVA readers.