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.  One of the first things that pops out from this chart is that the 1st house ruler of Virgo, Mercury, is sitting very close to the 6th house cusp at 9 Aquarius in a tight conjunction with Neptune.  The 6th house represents the seemingly unrelated areas of health and conflict.  Both can be thought of as forms of protection as it pertains to the self, either from within (the body) or without (security, defense, antagonism from others). 

Moreover, Mercury had just turned retrograde a few hours before the opening ceremony and thus is very strong due to its unusually low velocity.  The odds for some kind of noteworthy problem involving these 6th house areas is greatly heightened by this placement.  Mercury's conjunction with Neptune seems mixed at best since Neptune rules illness, weakness and deception.  Water and poisons may also be highlighted in some way in the Games due to Neptune's rulership of liquids.

Taken together, we can speculate on some possible manifestations of these planets.  Some kind of illness or flu bug is possible, or at the risk of sensationalism, perhaps some kind of poison or chemical attack or accident.  Mars (violence) is close enough to disruptive Rahu (North Lunar Node) to warrant an increased concern for this kind of thing although I would definitely not say such an attack is probable.  Given the history of cheating in the Olympics, it is much more likely that the Mercury-Neptune conjunction will  manifest as some kind of major drug scandal.  Deception is very much a part of Neptune's portfolio and its placement in the 6th house would be quite appropriate for something along those lines.  Deceptive actions more generally could mar the games.   The bottom line is it is not a good placement.

Fortunately, the Moon is exalted in Taurus (pleasure) in the 9th house (higher knowledge, popularity).  This is the saving grace of this chart since it goes a long way towards ensuring the games will be a good time for most people.  It is a good opportunity for the usual feelings of human belonging and comradeship to flow as is normally the case with these Olympic gatherings. Another less sanguine interpretation of that placement is that the Moon merely reflects the intention of the event as a spectator sport designed bring the peoples of the world together.  An exalted Moon in the 9th house in Taurus is a very appropriate placement to reflect the nature of the Olympic Games.  In this sense, the Moon placement may not indicate whether the Games are actually successful.  I'm not sure I would be that hard boiled in my assessment, however.   Overall, I think there is therefore good reason to expect the Olympics will still yield many positive experiences and create lasting memories even if there are some untoward incidents.

In terms of timing, the chart of the opening of the Games  offers two potential trouble spots worth watching.  One is when the Sun forms a square with Saturn around Feb 11.  The other time window to watch is Feb 19-21 when Mercury is square Saturn.  This second window looks more difficult since Mercury probably is more important to this chart.  Note also that the transiting Sun will be conjunct Neptune around the 21st and 22nd.  The Sun is associated with leaders and authority figures so perhaps some officials (judges? Putin himself?) come under scrutiny or criticism at that time for possible deceptive actions. 

Financial Markets Update

Stocks were mixed last week as Friday's US jobs report disappointed and thereby raised the specter of a postponement of the Fed's QE taper.  Stocks generally moved higher later in the week after falling earlier on.  As expected, we did see some downside that coincided quite closely to the entry of Mars into Libra on Tuesday.   US and European stocks took a big hit Monday while Indian stocks extended the bearish mood into Tuesday. 

This week could see a little upside early on but the midweek Sun-Saturn square looks more difficult for stocks and most commodities.  Gold may also come under pressure from this aspect.  Interestingly, incoming Fed Chair Janet Yellen will make her first appearance in front a Congressional committee on Tuesday.  If she continues the stated policy to taper QE, then stocks and commodities could fall once again.