Archive 2017 (January-September)

The following are my weekly astrological commentaries on some
of the major events of 2017.
They are listed in reverse chronological order.

US stocks approach record highs as Jupiter enters Libra

(13 September 2017) US stock indexes again approached record highs this week as investors breathed a sigh of relief after Hurricane Irma proved less damaging than feared.  And with North Korea receding from the news cycle and Trump's surprising debt ceiling deal with the Democrats, markets are looking quite strong.  The Dow closed above 22,000 on Tuesday while the Sensex is again challenging its previous high as it finished above 32,000 in Wednesday trading.

This bullish outcome appeared to contradict my fairly pessimistic outlook for August and September.  I thought the effects of the late August solar eclipse, the Saturn direct station and the Saturn-Rahu alignment would likely dampen sentiment and increase the odds of declines.  However, I did note that these negative influences were more specifically focused upon the month of August and into first week of September.   While we didn't see anything too dramatic occur, stocks were somewhat weak throughout August and early September did see a modest pullback on renewed North Korean tensions. 

Once we were past last week's Mercury-Mars conjunction, there was a better chance for some upside.   Read more...

North Korean missile over Japan raises tensions

(30 August 2017) Tensions on the Korean peninsula escalated again this week after North Korea fired a missile over Northern Japan.   The unprecedented missile launch over Japanese territory briefly shook financial markets and again brought Pyongyang's nuclear threat into focus.   Unless China can be more effective in reining in Kim Jong-un, US military action is looking more likely.  And with tough-talking Donald Trump looking for something to boost his failing presidency, the probability of some kind of conflict is higher than in recent memory. 

As I noted several weeks ago, the August 21st solar eclipse strongly hinted at some kind violent or military event in late August or more likely, in early September.  The horoscopes of some of key players appeared to be very active during the first week of September, especially around the time of the Mercury-Mars conjunction. 

The USA chart showed the natal Mars (0 Gemini) aspected by Saturn, Ketu (South Lunar Node) and Jupiter all at the same time.  Mars is the planet of war and conflict, of course, and these aspects indicate a much higher probability that the energy of Mars will be released in some obvious way in the days ahead.  The eclipse at 4 Leo is opposite the USA Moon (7 Aquarius) and it could be triggered around the time of the Mercury-Mars conjunction on Sep 4-5, and indeed for several days afterwards as the Moon-Mars opposition aspect becomes exact.   Read more...

Dysfunction in DC: the Trump-McConnell feud

(24 August 2017) With Congress set to return after the summer recess, US president Donald Trump is looking increasingly weakened and isolated.  As he tries to shake off the Charlottesville controversy, Trump is now insisting that he will shutdown the US government if Congress does not approve funding for his border wall with Mexico.  The shutdown threat comes as Congress enters into its annual negotiations to raise the debt ceiling which is required under US law.  If Congress cannot strike a deal by the September 29th deadline, the government will default on its debt.

Negotiations will be made more complicated because of an ongoing feud between Trump and Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell.   There is no love lost between these two men and recent reports are they haven't spoken for weeks.  McConnell has even gone so far as to speak publicly about whether Trump's presidency can survive.  Trump's problem is that he needs McConnell onside to have any chance of passing his administration's agenda.  And yet it seems less the case that McConnell needs Trump, however, as the GOP risks losing seats in the 2018 midterms due to Trump's low popularity. 

While we don't know McConnell's time of birth, his horoscope cast for noon shows how he can act as a thorn in the side of Trump.  Read more...

Charlottesville aftermath: Trump defends white supremacists

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

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

I think things are going to get worse for Trump before they get better.  Read more...

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

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

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

One very important event took place in August 1998 during this eclipse period.  Russia suffered a major financial crisis in which its currency lost 75% of its value within just a few weeks.   Read more...

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

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

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

Where does it all end?  Each day brings news of a fresh White House dismissal (turn the Mooch loose!) or revelation of transgressions or misdeeds with respect to the ongoing Russia investigation.    Read more...

GOP health bill fails as Mars undermines Trump

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

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

Trump's Russia troubles deepen with son's emails

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

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

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

Defiant North Korea tests ICBM that can reach US

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

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

As I have written previously, I don't foresee a major war happening this year.  Read more...

GOP postpones Senate healthcare vote

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

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

Last week, I suggested that Trump's fortunes were improving in the month of June as evidenced by the special Congressional election wins and the absence of any personally damaging revelations in the Comey testimony and the Russia investigation.  Read more...

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

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

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

In a May 10th post, I offered that June could bring some improvement for Trump as Jupiter stationed direct on June 9th.    Read more...

UK politics in chaos as May loses majority in early election

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

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

Trump pulls US out of Paris Agreement on climate change

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

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

The horoscope for the Paris Agreement currently has Saturn sitting on the cusp of the equal 6th house of conflict.  Read more...

ISIS attack kills 22 at Manchester concert in UK

(24 May 2017)  As the planet of violence, Mars has no mercy.  On Monday, the UK became the latest target of ISIS as a suicide bomber blew himself up in the Manchester Arena shortly after a pop concert.  The attack was apparently perpetrated by a UK citizen of Libyan descent, Salman Abedi, and arrests have made in both in the UK and Libya.  The UK is now on high alert with troops stationed at key locations in the aftermath of this second attack of 2017.

There are several possible ways to look at this event.  It is possible to focus solely on the transits for the time of the explosion (10.30 p.m.), but in my experience this provides only limited information.  In hindsight, we can see whatever we want to see in transits and the resulting chart is usually not conducive to prediction.  In my view, a more compelling approach is to use the relevant national chart, in this case, the UK national chart, dated 1 January 1801 at midnight.  While hindsight is always 20/20, at least we can make a better assessment of how the chart is operating and whether such an event was predictable. 

For all violent attacks, we should see Mars very prominently placed in the chart by transit.   And we do.  At the time of the attack, Mars was just one degree past an exact opposition aspect to Mercury.  Mars-Mercury aspects usually coincide with tense or stressful situations of all kinds.   Read more...

Stocks fall as Trump crisis deepens

(17 May 2017) When it rains, it pours.  The embattled presidency of Donald J. Trump appeared to enter a new and more tumultuous phase yesterday with the revelation that he may have asked FBI chief James Comey to stop his investigation into pro-Russia former cabinet member Michael Flynn.   If proven true, the attempted intervention in the FBI's work could amount to an obstruction of justice.  This would be an impeachable offense under US precedent as president Richard Nixon was forced to resign for a similar intervention during the Watergate cover-up.  And tonight there is word that a Special Counsel has been appointed to Russia inquiry to clear the air.

The possibility that Trump obstructed justice comes after a very difficult week following the firing of James Comey after he asked for more resources for Russia-Trump probe and the controversial sharing of classified intelligence with Russia during an unprecedented visit by Russian officials to the White House.   All this turmoil in DC is finally taking a toll in financial markets as stocks fell sharply today as markets began to factor in the possibility that Trump may be unable to push through his pro-business tax and regulatory reforms.   For the first time, investors (and betting markets) are now seriously assessing the odds that Trump will be impeached.  Of course, the irony is that Wall St. would likely prefer a President Pence anyway.   Read more...

Trump fires FBI's Comey: Nixon revisited?

(10 May 2017) The Trump presidency took an unexpected and disturbing turn on Tuesday with the surprise firing of FBI chief James Comey.  Comey has been a controversial figure on both sides of the aisle in Washington since his very public investigation of Hillary Clinton and her private email server and then later with his unprecedented intervention in the election.  It now seems likely that Comey's letter to Congress on October 28th cost Hillary Clinton the presidency.   Recently, Comey and the FBI had been leading an investigation into the alleged links between the Trump campaign and Russia.  It has now come to light that Comey's dismissal came just days after he requested additional resources to probe more deeply the Trump-Russia connections.

While his firing of Comey may solve one of Trump's imminent problems, it is unlikely to boost his political fortunes in the short run.   The optics are terrible for Trump as it now looks like he is a man on the run desperately trying to silence further questioning about possible collusion with Russia.   Where this all is leading is hard to say although the astrological perspective suggests that Trump is unlikely to find solace for the rest of the month of May at least.   The problem would appear to center on Rahu, the North Lunar Node. 

Trump's horoscope is strongly influenced by Rahu at the current time.  Rahu is a malefic planet by nature and is symbolically linked to situations that disrupt the status quo.  Read more...

Shiller, Saturn and the NASDAQ: perspectives in market timing

(3 May 2017) Conventional wisdom is that the stock market is the best place to put your money for the long term.   While periods of volatility can cause some sleepless nights, it is hard to argue with the basic premise that stocks do better in the long run than most other assets like bonds, cash, or even gold.  A case in point is the NASDAQ, the US-based technology index. If you had invested just $100 at the time of its inception in 1971, your investment would have increased 60-fold as the NASDAQ is now trading at a record high above 6000.  Even adjusted for inflation, the investment has grown impressively by 10 times over that 46-year period, which amounts to a 5% return compounded annually.  That's definitely way better than holding cash when you think about what $100 would have bought back in early 70s. 

But just how long is the long term?  It you had been unlucky enough to have bought a basket of tech stocks in 2000 at the very top of the tech bubble, your investment would only have begun to show profit in 2016 in what would certainly have been a long and painful exercise in investor patience.  Actually, when corrected for inflation that ill-timed investment in 2000 would still be down 10%.  Similarly, money invested the stock market in 1929 before the crash would have taken at least 25 years to have shown a positive return.  Clearly, the long term is sometimes a very long time indeed.

How long will the Trump rally last?

(25 April 2017) Most global markets were strongly higher this week after the win by pro-EU centrist Emmanuel Macron in the first round of the French election.  The narrow defeat of anti-EU right wing populist Marine Le Pen allowed investors to breath a sigh of relief as the status quo carried the day.  Many stock markets are now at or near new all-time highs.  Much of this bull market can be explained by the deliberate attempt by the Fed to increase asset prices (read: stocks) through its zero interest rate policy and later its experimental QE program after the 2008 financial crisis.  But the most recent upward leg in the markets have been as a result of the election of Donald Trump and his pro-business agenda.  Since the November 8th election, US stocks have risen almost 15%, with similar gains posted in Europe and some emerging markets such as India. But how long can this Trump rally last?

There is no single chart that can answer this question simply or unequivocally.  One difficulty lies in translating planetary positions with market moves of a specific size.  Even if we can isolate a future bearish planetary alignment, for example, it is unclear if it will produce sufficient downside that would negate the rally (i.e. -15%).   A bearish alignment involving  Saturn or Mars may only coincide with a minor 5% pullback rather than a full-blown 10-20% correction.   Therefore, even when we get some garden variety bearish planetary patterns, the Trump rally is likely strong enough to withstand some downside without seriously underlying its upward momentum.   Read more...

North Korea's Kim Jong-Un under pressure from US

(18 April 2017) What to do about North Korea?  US President Trump is now confronted with the same thorny question that has confounded most of his predecessors.  The hermit kingdom of North Korea has long operated outside the norms of international politics and has frequently resorted to threats of war in order to secure any strategic or economic advantage.  Under the uncertain leadership of Kim Jong-Un, North Korea continues to pursue its nuclear weapons program aimed at providing the ultimate bargaining chip with any hostile foreign powers.  By most accounts, the isolated totalitarian regime only survives through the largesse of its only patron, China, through generous trade and aid agreements.

Recent missile tests have provoked a more assertive reaction from the Trump administration.  Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and now Vice-President Mike Pence have both argued for a tougher stance again the North Korean regime which may well be approaching a critical moment in its push for nuclear weapons.  For the US, the time for diplomatic talks and negotiations may be coming to an end as military options have now been put back on the table.  This tougher stance and the possibility of a unilateral US strike against weapons installations has, in turn, angered Kim Jong-Un, as tensions have increased to a dangerous and unpredictable level.   Read more...

China's Xi meets Trump as Saturn turns retrograde

(5 April 2017) The leaders of the two most economically powerful countries on the planet are due to meet tomorrow.  US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping will meet Thursday and Friday in Mar-a-Lago, Florida to discuss a range of issues from global trade to North Korea.  There is some trepidation that the meeting could be rather tense given Trump's often blunt and hostile comments about China and its economic practices.  Trump's unpredictability means anything is possible, although it seems more likely that everyone will be all smiles in front of the cameras.  What insights does astrology offer on this meeting?

While we don't know President Xi's birth time, we do know he was born 15 June 1953.    As it happens, Xi's birthday is just one day after Trump's so both men will have a close conjunction of their Suns, although Xi's is in the first degree of Gemini and Trump's is in the last degree of Taurus.   Right there, we may note a small difference in approach. Trump is the sensualist and assertive bull (Taurus) while Xi may be more the intellectual data-collector typical of many Geminis.   Xi is much more the thinker of the two due to his very strong Mercury in its own sign of Gemini in a close conjunction with Uranus.  The wider conjunction with Mars and the Sun also boosts his rational thinking capacity (Mercury).  Xi can think quickly on his feet and may be quite open to innovative solutions where they are deemed necessary.   Read more...

Uranus re-enters Aries: beware the black swan

(28 March 2017) It's that time again.  Once every seven years, the planet Uranus changes its sidereal sign.   In keeping with its symbolism of rapid change and rebellion, the Uranus sign changes or ingresses often mark instances of instability and sudden black swan-type developments in world affairs.  To that end, Uranus is due to leave Pisces and re-enter the sign of Aries next week on April 5th according to the Krishnamurthi aynamasha.  The ingress happens two days later according to the more widely-used Lahiri ayamamsha. 

The last time Uranus changed signs was last year on June 23, 2016.  The next day the UK shocked the world by voting for Brexit, thereby launching the beginning of a populist rebellion in the Western world.  The similarly shocking election victory of Donald Trump in the US soon followed as the anti-elite, nativist rebellion evolved into a wider movement.  The rise of right wing populism can't be explained solely in terms of this Uranus ingress but it certainly played a role. 

The important thing to note about Uranus ingresses is that there are usually clusters of two or three ingresses over a one-year period due to its retrograde motion.  The previous cluster of Uranus sign changes occurred in 2009-2010 when it entered Pisces.  Since Uranus moves forward on average of four degrees per year (8 degrees of forward motion followed by 4 degrees of backward motion), it takes about 7-8 years for it to transit through each 30 degree zodiac sign.  We are therefore in the middle of another cluster of a sign ingress.  Read more...

Trump's troubles as seen through the PEOTUS chart

(15 March 2017) One of the most fascinating aspects of astrology is how horoscopes belonging to different people, institutions or events can confirm the same reality.  All other things being equal, these different sources of confirming evidence can boost our predictive accuracy about the future.  Like all other human sciences, astrology is not perfect and astrologers make their fair share of mistakes.   But when considering the future prospects of one President Donald J. Trump, it's helpful to be able to go beyond his personal chart and refer to other relevant horoscopes.

This week I wanted to look at the horoscope for the moment when Trump was declared the winner in the November 8th election.   This is the chart of the President-elect of the United States (PEOTUS).  Due to the closeness of the race, Trump was actually declared the winner first by Associated Press at 2.31 a.m. in the early morning of the 9th.  But the first major television network that declared him the President-elect was Fox at 2.40 a.m.  The other networks quickly followed suit a few minutes later.  As a median time, I will use the Fox call at 2.40 a.m. as my working chart for the moment when America and world realized that Donald Trump was the new president.   The total Ascendant range between the different media calls is about three degrees (4 Virgo - 7 Virgo)

We can see how this chart works by seeing the transit hits of significant events in his administration.   Read more...

GOP introduces new AHCA health bill to replace Obamacare

(8 March 2017) Amid a circus-like atmosphere in Washington, DC marked with wild accusations, calls for investigations and a simmering sense of chaos, the Trump administration and the GOP finally announced their plan to replace Obamacare.  The American Health Care Act (AHCA) was unveiled by Speaker Paul Ryan as a plan which would eliminate the controversial individual mandate and reduce costs without compromising the nation's quality of health care.  So far, there has been strong criticism of the proposal by both left and right wings of the Republican Party with the Democrats rejecting it outright.  The right wing opposition may well be more salient to this equation as their votes could be more important for the bill's passage in the House of Representatives.  Many political observers are skeptical the bill can pass in its present form, if at all.

So the question for us this week is: will Obamacare really be repealed by this less-than-perfect GOP proposal and if, so, when?  There may be a few ways to look at this question astrologically but I think the most direct way would be to look at the horoscope of Obamacare itself which was signed into law at 11.56 a.m. on March 23, 2010.  When that chart comes under intense affliction, then we should assume that it is being replaced by a new health care law.  In that sense, the "death" of Obamacare should manifest as multiple simultaneous afflictions of the highest order.   However, if we can see favourable alignments in the Obamacare chart, then the new replacement bill may be seen to be running into legislative roadblocks which may allow Obamacare to remain intact.   Read more...

Stocks at record high ahead of Trump speech and Venus retrograde

(28 February 2017) The US stock market continues to make new all-time highs with each passing day as the Trump rally moves into its fourth month.  The promise of a business-friendly administration featuring lower taxes, less regulation and massive infrastructure spending has fueled the rally which has also boosted stock prices across most global markets.  But how much longer can it last?

In practical terms, investors will soon demand to see tangible evidence of Trump's promises in the form of detailed plans and actual legislation.  Perhaps Trump's speech to Congress tonight have go some ways to that end.  But the plan will still need to come to fruition in terms of real growth and rising corporate earnings.  For now, stocks are trading only on the future prospect of higher economic growth.

One possible detour for markets will be the upcoming Venus retrograde period.  Venus turns retrograde once every 19 months or so, as it traces a backward path through approximately 16 degrees of the sky.  The Venus retrograde period lasts on average 41 days.  Venus is due to turn retrograde this Saturday, March 4th at 19 degrees of Pisces.  Its retrograde cycle will end on April 16th at 2 degrees of Pisces at which point Venus will again begin to move forward.    Read more...

The US economy in 2017: the Sun-Jupiter forecast

(21 February 2017) Despite all the chaos and controversy of the first month of the Trump presidency, the larger US economic picture is still basically positive.  US stock markets are trading at record highs as many investors are anticipating the benefits of the administration's business-friendly agenda of tax cuts, deregulation, and infrastructure.   For now, the US economy continues to chug along at the same modest growth rates that marked the Obama administration but with signs that consumer spending may be on the rise. 

But the outlook still contains some uncertainty.  Trump's border tax plan is problematic as it would increase the cost of imported goods and could thereby stoke inflation.  Moreover, the plan is politically dubious and lacks clear support in Congress as members are wary of a possible trade war with its trading partners.   Many economists wonder if Trump is more likely to enjoy the initial benefits of his populist "America First" policies for a year or two but then will have to face the negative consequences of his anti-globalization protectionist bias.

This uncertainty makes economic forecasting all the more valuable.   Economists themselves do not have a good track record in forecasting, as the old joke tells us: "economists have correctly predicted nine out of the last five recessions."  And neither do most astrologers for that matter.  It's a complex area of human affairs that resists simple explanations no matter what paradigm one uses.   Read more...

Trump's trial by Saturn: Flynn resigns from WH post

(14 February 2017) The Trump presidency is still less than a month old and there are growing signs of chaos and conflict within the administration.  Yesterday, national security advisor Michael Flynn  resigned amid suspicion that he was vulnerable to Russian blackmail after discussing the lifting sanctions before he had been sworn-in and lying about it to VP Mike Pence.  And President Trump's travel ban remains in limbo awaiting further judicial clarification.  Meanwhile, a chaotic picture of insider leaks, backbiting and factional conflict within the White House is emerging. 

While much of the his ad hoc shock-and-awe governing style may be welcomed by supporters, there is a sense that all is not quite right at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  Polls shows Donald Trump is less popular than he was on Election Day while 40% of the country want to see him impeached already.   Some of this is due to growing pains, perhaps not unexpectedly given that Trump and his inner circle have no experience in government and are trying to implement historic changes in DC.   Creating chaos may not even a bad thing for Trump, Bannon et al., as it keeps the establishment off balance and guessing as to their next move.  With so many storylines injected into the news cycle every day, Trump can evade closer scrutiny, especially since the media has been given reduced access to the administration.

But my understanding of these chaotic early weeks for President Trump is informed more by some difficult astrological alignments.  It's impossible to say if things are unfolding as Trump would like them but the planets are suggesting that life in the Oval Office is proving more difficult than a reality TV show.  Read more...

US checks and balances stifle Trump: court blocks travel ban

(6 February 2017) After giving up the freewheeling celebrity lifestyle of a billionaire businessman, Donald Trump is facing a more constrained range of action in his new job as president.   His controversial travel ban on citizens from seven Muslim nations has been put on hold by a Washington state judge who declared Trump's executive order did not adhere to the principles of the Constitution.

However deep his authoritarianian impulses may run (thanks to his angular Mars), Trump must now learn to work within the US political system with its elaborate system of checks and balances.  The US Constitution was written specifically to prevent a dictatorship as power is divided between the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government.  The Trump administration has appealed the stay of the judge but it is unclear when the case will finally be settled.  Many observers now think it could go up to the Supreme Court within weeks, if not days, in order to produce clarity on the matter.

Aside from the very predictable uphill (read: Saturnian) battles Trump is facing here, it is worthwhile to examine Trump's potential relationship with the courts from an astrological perspective. Can the courts keep the racist extremes of his "America First" agenda in check over the course of his four-year term?  More specifically, will Trump's executive order eventually be upheld by the split Supreme Court or will the ninth pro-Trump judge have to be appointed first?  I'm not sure astrology can answer all of these questions but some insights are still possible.   Read more...

Trump's Muslim travel ban sparks chaos and outrage

(30 January 2017) So it turns out that Donald Trump should be taken both seriously and literally.  As America's experiment with authoritarian populism entered just its second week, President Trump has sparked outrage and confusion with an executive order banning refugees and visitors from seven predominantly Muslim countries. Trump campaigned on getting tough on terrorism and radical Islamists and he is following through on that promise regardless of consequences.  The new order was quickly stayed by Federal judges on constitutional grounds so it remains to be seen how this partial Muslim travel ban will play out. 

Certainly, it has added to chorus of anger and protest that has followed Trump since the election.  Emotions have become so inflamed that opponents of Trump now speak about organized resistance to his whole administration rather than merely single issue protests.  It is shaping up to be a long and loud four years as Trump tries to completely remake the US in the face of popular and institutional opposition.  Depending on one's point of view, this is either the thin edge of the fascist wedge or merely a necessary period of disruption as the post-war outward-looking Pax Americana is dismantled in favour of an inward "America First" stance. 

The protest, anger and conflict fit neatly with the ongoing Saturn aspect to Mars in the natal USA horoscope.  As I noted previously, the Saturn influence on Mars began in December and will continue for most of 2017.  Read more...

The Trump inauguration horoscope: more like Reagan or... Nixon?

(17 January 2017) The day is finally upon us.  On Friday, Donald Trump will be sworn-in as the 45th President of the United States.  The outspoken businessman and reality TV star will takeover as commander-in-chief and begin to undo not only the legacy of Barack Obama but much of the post-war global consensus.  It is a potential sea change in world affairs that cannot be underestimated in its historic magnitude. 

But how successful will Trump be in realizing his nationalist vision by reshaping the economic and political landscape?  There is no shortage of anxiety surrounding Trump who is threatening to end free trade and globalization and usher in a new period of protectionism.  Economists fear that Trump's policies may boost economic activity in the US in the short term, but may prove more damaging in the longer term as inefficiencies take hold and global trade declines. 

There are different ways to analyze this question.  The easiest is to look at the horoscope of the swearing-in at noon, January 20th in Washington, DC.   The inauguration chart doesn't supersede other charts such as the USA national chart or Trump's individual chart, but it can provide a quick snapshot of Trump's term in office in the White House.

Donald Trump will be inaugurated at a time when the planets are very unsettled.  Read more...

Trump poised to assume presidency amid controversy and opposition

(10 January 2017) There are just ten days before Donald J. Trump is inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States.  According to recent polls, Trump will enjoy the lowest popularity of any incoming president in US history.  The Trump transition from the November election to the January 20th inauguration has been as controversial as his campaign.  Despite Trump's initial dismissal of Russia's interference in the campaign, last week's US intelligence revelations confirmed that Russian hacking had been ordered by President Vladimir Putin and had been intended to favour Trump and discredit Hillary Clinton. Putin's logic was simple: undermine Clinton whose stated foreign policy sought to oppose Russian expansion and boost Trump who has been far more conciliatory towards Russia's strongman.  Mission accomplished: Moscow will now have a friend in the White House. 

I have previously written that Trump's problems would likely worsen in January and this difficult phase could well extend through the rest of the winter.  Trump survived December with little damage despite all the symbolic gnashing of teeth surrounding the Electoral College and the record number of faithless electors.  But the Russian hacking has been a significant embarrassment that has forced Trump to agree with the GOP Senate leaders and admit that it was real.  No matter what kind of gentleman's agreement he may have already struck with Putin, Trump knows that he needs Congress on his side or his legislative program will not succeed.  This means he may now have to actually punish Russia for its illicit actions in the US election.   Read more...