November 2008 GALACTIC
by Alex Miller-Mignone
When Pluto made its final turn in Sagittarius on September 8, preparatory to its official passage into Capricorn, where it is scheduled to transform and purge governmental, corporate and banking structures, few imagined how quickly its effects would be felt in financial markets. But if you’re an American with an IRA or a 401k account, it shortly became crystal clear just how ephemeral our digitized wealth can be.
Pluto’s station degree of 28 Sagittarius falls exactly conjoined a newsy, information-evoking Pulsar, and within orb of the Galactic Center at 26 Sagittarius—suddenly the global credit crunch became big news. Within the week the bottom had begun dropping out of the Dow and other financial markets worldwide, urged by a rapid series of investment firm failures and government bailouts—mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, AIG, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers. From 28 Sagittarius, Pluto highlights the largest grid of Deep Space anomalies of which we are aware—fully eight points are activated on this grid, including a square to the Black Hole at 28 Pisces, sextiles to additional Black Holes at 28 Libra and 28 Aquarius and inconjuncts to a fourth at 28 Cancer and a volatile Maser at 28 Taurus. Aided by personal finance-ruling Venus in square to a Black Hole, on September 15 the Dow plummeted 500 points, and another 450 on the 17th. Huge rallies have alternated with massive drops ever since, until the government decided that in order to avert a complete meltdown, a major $700 billion bailout of Wall Street was needed.
The Bush Administration’s first proposal was a mere two and one- half pages, but managed to combine such sweeping powers for Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson that its defeat was perhaps inevitable. Among its bizarre conditions, the bill guaranteed complete freedom of action and a total lack of oversight or accountability for Paulson, who was empowered to do just as he liked with the $700 billion without having to answer to anyone now or at any point in the future. Coming from the Bush Administration, which used the tragedy of 9/11 to railroad through Congress the incredibly draconian provisions of the PATRIOT Act, this was a not-surprising approach to the problem.
Despite its deficiencies, when the bill failed on Monday the 29th of September, it evoked a 777-point drop on the Dow, the biggest single-day loss in the market’s history, representing $1.1 trillion in market value. Congress’ response was to “revise” the bill, which exploded from two and one-half pages to 451 pages, and somehow managed to add $110 billion in pork-barrel projects to legislation designed to ease a financial crisis. The resulting Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 grants the government authority to purchase and insure troubled assets from banking and investment firms, in an attempt to thaw the credit freeze and promote the free flow of credit and capital. Democrats managed to insert oversight provisions and curbs on how the money is spent by the institutions which receive it (including caps on CEO compensation), and the bill was passed in the House of Representatives on Friday, 3 October 2008 by a vote of 263-171.
Fair financial winds did not result. Continuing its rollercoaster ride for investors, the Dow and global markets continued to seesaw between extremes, with record gains alternating with record losses. October 9 was a case in point—that day the Dow fell below 9000 for the first time since 2003. Ironically, it was the one-year anniversary of the Dow’s all-time high of 14,165 on 9 October 2007, a drop of 39% in market value over that time. The Sun for October 9, 2007 was exactly conjunct the success-oriented Quasar at 15 Libra, indicating the peak performance; on October 9, 2008, the Sun was a degree further along in the zodiac, and from 16 Libra it formed an exact inconjunct to the Black Hole at 16 Taurus, evoking the major adjustment. Another record was set October 13, its 936-point gain the largest ever in the market’s history. The $1.2 trillion gain ended an eight-day losing streak totaling 2400 points, a drop of 22% or $2.4 trillion in market value. More Quasar activity was evinced for the huge gain, with Venus at 23 Scorpio squared the Quasar at 25 Aquarius and exactly sesquiquadrate another at 8 Cancer as well as more broadly sesquiquadrate the 10 Aries Quasar; Jupiter at 14 Capricorn lent support with its square to the 15 Libra Quasar.
Global markets remain volatile, and continue to lose over all. Nothing the government does, by itself or in tandem with other nations, appears to have any effect on improving investor confidence, and with news of negative growth in Britain and rising unemployment in the US, fears of a global recession, even depression, loom.
Will the Bailout Bill work in the long run? A galactic analysis of its passing suggests that we are not out of the woods yet.
Cast for 1:35 PM EDT Friday, 3 October 2008 in Washington DC, probably the most striking feature of the chart is the exact conjunction of the Ascendant with the USA’s natal Pluto at 27 Capricorn. Transformative the bill certainly is, as it makes the US government, and by extension the people, a major investor in the banking system. Charges of socialism from the bill’s opponents may be somewhat extreme, but it is a fact that Republican deregulation allowed capitalism to run rampant and unchecked, to the benefit of the few, creating the circumstances we now find ourselves in, which require that we spread the losses to the many. This certainly appears to be capitalism on the way up, and socialism on the way down. But the USA Pluto on the Ascendant signals this as a powerfully transformative crossroads moment for the nation, which will never be quite the same again.
The chart is more than apt as a descriptor of the crisis. Saturn, Mercury and the Sun all fall in the Eighth House of investments and shared resources. Saturn here signals restrictions, limitations and loss, while Mercury defines its effects on commerce and the Sun indicates the centrality of the problem, which ultimately pervades every area of our lives. Saturn in the Eighth depicts the bear market with a vengeance, and its financial opposite, bullish Jupiter, is invisible and hiding out in the Twelfth House. Jupiter forms an exact square to the Black Hole at 13 Libra in the Eighth, which falls on the Sun/Mercury midpoint. The message is clear: optimism is a thing of the past, relegated now to some parallel universe to which we have no access.
Uranus at 19 Pisces retrograde is, not surprisingly, the sole tenant of the Second House of personal finance, ably imaging the profound shock to the bank and retirement accounts of average Americans. Its exact trine to the 19 Scorpio Midheaven suggests that more shake-ups are in the works. Venus at 11 Scorpio in the Ninth House is square to the Black Hole at 12 Aquarius and Chiron at 16 Aquarius, and rules the 19 Taurus Nadir. We are certainly at or approaching the nadir of our collective financial fortunes, and security of all types—from paper investments to psychological comfort—is a major issue now. We are facing a major reversal (Black Hole) in our philosophy (Ninth House) about money, and what “value” (Venus) truly is. The square to Chiron certainly reflects the intent of the bill, to heal financial stresses, but Chiron can be a less-than-tender ministrant. Its lessons may simply be that we need to stop living above our means, and find value in less consumerist, commodities-oriented things. From 11 Scorpio, Venus is also exactly semisquare the Galactic Center at 26 Sagittarius, denoting this as a global issue not just restricted to the US.
Mars at 29 Libra is exactly conjoined a Black Hole and in square to the Ascendant/Descendant axis—the appearance (Ascendant) of taking assertive action (Mars) is essential to reviving confidence in our fiscal interactions with others (Descendant). Pluto at 28 Sagittarius in the Eleventh House reflects the devastation the crisis has wrought in the dreams, goals and aspirations (Eleventh House) of many Americans. Neptune at 21 Aquarius in the First House, conjunct Chiron, implies that we need to re-image ourselves, and face some unpleasant truths: we are much more vulnerable (Neptune) than we realized, and we in the US are all inextricably bound together as one (Neptune) with the global community in this crisis, rather than being the maverick loner (Chiron) we liked to think ourselves. The Moon at 1 Sagittarius in the Tenth House shows the emotional nature of the situation—that this is, more than anything, a crisis in confidence. The continually changing nature of the Moon is a further indicator that this problem is still evolving, and may undergo many permutations and changes in fortune (and fortunes) before we reach the crisis’ end.
Finally, asteroid Midas, named for that Cretan monarch famed for turning everything he touched to gold, appears at 4 Libra, again in the Eighth House of investments, conjoined the Sun and the highlighting Quasar at 5 Libra, squared Black Holes at 4 Cancer and 5 Capricorn. Wall Street may have thought it had the Midas touch, but Black Hole reality came crashing down along with the Dow, perhaps causing us to engage in a Midas-like revaluation of what it is that we possess which has true worth and value beyond the bottom line of the balance sheet.
Alex Miller-Mignone is a professional writer and astrologer, author of The Black Hole Book and The Urban Wicca, former editor of "The Galactic Calendar," and past president of The Philadelphia Astrological Society.
His pioneering work with Black Holes in astrological interpretation began in 1991, when his progressed Sun unwittingly fell into one. Alex can be reached for comment or services at Alixilamirorim@aol.com.