In January 2016, just as the Davos Summit got underway and the Sun moved from Capricorn to Aquarius, newspaper and the financial media headlines begin to fill with doom and gloom as the FTSE 100 index, which represents UK’s Top 100 blue chip companies, plummeted to a low of around 5673 points – some 20% lower than the trading highs it reached in April 2015 of around 7103 points, which by definition is considered to be bear market territory.
The reason? On the face of it, China’s economic slow-down, along with a lower than average slump in oil prices, which have seen the black gold fall to just under $30 per barrel. Although prices have since picked up again somewhat, the market remains volatile, with the FTSE 100 remaining in 5000-6000 point territory.
So are we headed for another 2007-8 style global recession in 2017? Certainly, it is this fear which is driving many private investors and pension fund managers into switching their portfolios to safer options, anxious to protect their dwindling savings and meager returns, already hit by the poor interest rates that have become something of the norm since the global financial crash.
No doubt many forecasters will be getting out their crystal balls, touting all sorts of systems and formulae that claim to track the trends of recent decades. I am no financial expert, and financial astrology is something rather new to me, so while I do not profess to be any kind of guru on the subject, I couldn’t help but notice a number of trends that seemed interesting from an astrological point of view.
Eclipses, Saros Cycles and the Financial Market
First of all, if we look at a graph of the FTSE 100 index for 2015-16, we notice that, apart from the odd peak over the summer of 2015 (when the Greek Euro Crisis finally seemed to resolve itself) share prices have been steadily falling. However, they really seemed to bottom out around September 2015, after which they rallied again over the Christmas period before crashing again this week in the lead up to the world Economic Forum in Davos. This appears to coincide with the 2015 solar eclipse in Virgo, which took place on September the 13th. So, could there be something to this?
Scouring the net for answers, I came across a website that suggested a strong correlation between stock market/property prices and the 18.6 lunar cycle that astrologers refer to as a Saros Cycle. This study was based on the work of a trader named William Delbert Gann, who claimed to have identified a number of planetary cycles that correlated with the ups and downs of the US stock market.
William D Gann & Financial Astrology
A highly successful broker, Gann apparently made a small fortune for himself and his clients by using astrology and sacred geometry to time his trades and choose his options on the New York Stock Exchange and the Dow Jones commodities market. A curious Sun Gemini with an intuitive natal Moon-Uranus conjunction, and a stellium of planets, including a Mercury-Pluto conjunction, in Taurus, it is easy to see why Gann was so remarkable. Aside from his photographic memory (Mercury-Pluto), which allowed him to store and compare large amounts of data (rather like a super computer today), he was also a big proponent of the scientific method, constantly refining his ideas by testing them against reality (Taurus stellium) as well as a gifted astrologer with a finely tuned gut instinct (Moon-Uranus conjunction) which he used to determine when and what trades to make. Of his methods, he is alleged to have said:
I have determined the major and minor time factors which repeat in the history of nations, men and markets. I have determined this to mean that the planets rule our destinies. I believe in the stars, I believe in astrology, and I have figured out my own destiny. It is right for us to understand them..and interpret the secret and hidden things.
Although these remained largely a proprietary secret, Gann did share some of his theories with the world via a series of books, published between 1909 and 1959. Of these, two catch my eye. First of all, Ganndivided his trading year in half, equivalent to 6 months or 26 weeks, which he then sub-divided into smaller fractions.2 Another of his cycles is alleged to revolve around a pattern that allegedly mimics the peaks and troughs of the US stock market, which roughly runs for 18 years and 8 months and is encapsulated in the following table.3
Although this is supposed to mimic the 20-year cycle of interaction between Jupiter and Saturn – the planets representing boom and bust in financial astrology, the numbers intrigued me for another reason – eclipses – after all, six months or 26 weeks is roughly the period between eclipses in any given year, and it is the 18.6 year interval in the Saros cycle which determines the gap between eclipses of similar astrological identity, thereby creating different so-called Eclipse families, each with a different ‘character’ that start at either the north or south node and gradually work their way towards the other nodal point over the space of a millennium or so. For example, if you consider the blue lines marked C on the graph above, you will find that each of these years mark a sequential unfolding of solar eclipses from Bernadette Brady’s Saros Families – bounding from north to south nodes in succession – as follows:
1791 – Saros Series 10 North (27 Sep in Libra)
1810- Saros Series 10 South (4 Apr in Aries)
1828 – Saros Series 11 North ( 9 Oct in Libra)
1847 – Saros Series 11 South (15 Apr in Aries)
1865 – Saros Series 12 North (9 Oct in Libra)
1884 – Saros Series 12 South (27 March in Aries)
1902 – Saros Series 13 North (31 Oct in Scorpio – only just – 1 degree of Scorpio, so very near to the cusp with Libra)
1921 – Saros Series 13 South (8 Apr in Aries)
1939 – Saros Series 14 North (12 Oct in Libra)
1958 – Saros Series 14 South (19 Apr in Aries)
1976 – Saros Series 15 North (23 Oct in Libra)
1995 – Saros Series 15 South (29 Apr in Taurus)
If we take the list forward in time, the line continues as follows:
2013 – Saros Series 16 North (03 Nov in Scorpio)
2014 – Saros Series 16 South (29 Apr in Taurus)
2014 – Saros Series 17 North (03 Nov in Scorpio)
2015 – Saros Series 17 South (29 Mar in Pisces)
2015 – Saros Series 18 North (13 Sep in Pisces)
In the table above, the lines marked by C are supposed to corrolate to years when there is panic in the market – and indeed, the Sep 2015 eclipse is EXACTLY when the FTSE started to experience major and ongoing volatility – which seems to corroborate my hunch that the September 2015 eclipses may have some kind of relational link to the drop in FTSE 100 share prices.
Here is another another pattern related to eclipses which I noticed within the table above – the lines largely marked by ‘E’. This time, though, instead of switching from north to south Saros Series, the list descends at intervals of 2 eclipses per SOUTH Saros series (so sticking with the same eclipse family, rather than alternating between the north and south nodes), and brings us finally to the eclipse of March 2016.
Mar 2016 – Saros number 130 – Solar eclipse in Pisces (18 South)
Feb 1998 – Saros number 130 – Solar eclipse in Pisces (18 South)
Feb 1979 – Saros number 120 – Solar eclipse in Pisces (17 South)
Feb 1961 – Saros number 120 – Solar eclipse in Aquarius (17 South)
Mar 1942 – Saros number 148 – Solar eclipse in Pisces (16 South)
Mar 1924 – Saros number 148 – Solar eclipse in Pisces (16 South)
Mar 1905 – Saros number 138 – Solar eclipse in Pisces (15 South)
Feb 1887 – Saros number 138 – Solar eclipse in Pisces (15 South)
Feb 1868 – Saros number 128 – Solar eclipse in Pisces (14 South)
Feb 1850 – Saros number 128 – Solar eclipse in Aquarius (14 South)
Feb 1831 – Saros number 118 – Solar eclipse in Aquarius (13 South)
Feb 1813 – Saros number 118 – Solar eclipse in Aquarius (13 South)
Mar 1794 – Saros number 146 – Solar eclipse in Pisces (12 South)
All these eclipses occur close to the south node of the Moon – known as the Dragon’s Tail in many astrological systems. According to the Gann chart key, these should equate largely to high, rather than low stock prices, although this seems to occur every OTHER YEAR in the row. So does that mean that stock prices will rise again close to the Solar Eclipse in Pisces that we are due to experience in February 2017? We’ll have to wait and see…Possibly we could infer from the entry D in the key, which falls between these two lines, that 2016 will indeed be a year in which global stock markets remain in bear territory.
Many analysts say that we have now entered totally unchartered terriroty in global mrkets, and that there is no historical precedent for what is happening now, so perhaps we will need to throw out all the old models, including Gann’s, and start afresh? But is this really what drives trends? Or is it more to do with those age-old human drivers of behaviour linked to fear and desire that continue to shape trends?
The Moon & Crowd Behaviour
Lunar cycles, and the lunar nodes in particular (the point where eclipses generally take place) have long been associated with the ‘herd mentality’ that can lead to phenomena such as panic buying or selling, and which in turn, can cause or significantly influence or amplify trends that might otherwise not really be of consequence.
Many modern exponents of crowd behaviour theory have suggested that humans do not follow rational lines of action but instead, tend to respond emotionally to external circumstances. Such ideas have now received wide acceptance through the works of theorists like Vernon L. Smith, Amos Tversky, Daniel Kahneman, and Robert Shiller. So the fact that lunar (or soli-lunar) cycles may be able to partly explain panic buying and selling trends makes sense. According to one well-known financial astrologer, Malcolm Bucholtz, the reason why the Moon is so useful in forecasting the stock market is because:
Today, we are so busy in our half-crazed world that we have lost sight of the fact that the planets affect our emotions. The financial markets are nothing more than a gigantic exercise in emotion. Fear and hope are the two primary emotions that govern the buying and selling activity on all global markets.4
The FTSE 100 and lunar movements
According to established financial astrologers such as Christeen Skinner, eclipses are a well-known catalyst for creating market turning points. Skinner also points out in her book, The Financial Universe, that within the astrological tradition, certain countries or currencies are ruled by certain planets – and in the case of the UK, which operates in Pound Sterling (i.e silver), that planet would be the Moon.
Lunar indicators also have another special significance for the FTSE 100 index, which we can see if we look at its inception or ‘birth chart’, set for its first day and hour of trade – 4 January 1984 at 07h50, which is when the markets on the LSE usually open for trading.
- From the above, it is clear from the conjunction of the Sun & Moon in the first house, that it is New Moon. Generally, this might be considered a good time for a new business venture. However, there is a slight downside in that the New Moon is in Capricorn, a zodiacal position where the Moon is considered to be weakened or in detriment.
- The other thing that is interesting about the chart from a lunar point of view is that Uranus, ruler of the 2nd house of money and possessions, is close to the soli-lunar nodal axis (it is conjunct the south node) in the 11th house of groups and collective activity. I would therefore expect innovation and sci-tech companies to be a big driver of the FTSE 100 index. Furthermore, I would also expect this particular index to be quite susceptible to sudden, sharp, herd mentality-driven nervous market reactions to environmental changes/news, especially around eclipses, because these tend to take place along the nodal axis.
Given all the factors above, you would expect some kind of correlation between FTSE index share price movements and lunar phenomena. However, it would probably also be irresponsible of me not to mention Mercury, the planet of trade and monetary/currency exchange, which is not only rising i.e. on the Ascendant, but is also stationary, about to go retrograde.
For the sake of research, let’s do a small experiment and compare the last few years of FTSE 100 stock market dips and troughs to eclipse cycles and see what comes out of it.
A mini experiment
Above is a chart reflecting the movements of the FTSE 100 index between Jan and Feb 2016. We can clearly see several sharp falls, notably, around January the 9th/10th and again around the 20th before prices start to rally again towards month end. So what was happening at these points?
In the case of the first dip, there was a New Moon in Capricorn on Sunday the 10th of January 2016 – which fell on the weekend – the same weekend that David Bowie died. Things were definitely at a bit of a low ebb astrologically. Not only did the New Moon occur very close to Pluto, the planet of death and dark imaginings, but Venus also made a conjunction to malefic party-pooper, Saturn, ruler of Capricorn – the sign of the New Moon (and the FTSE’s AS) on Saturday the 9th. This occurred at 12 degrees Sagittarius – very close to the Uranus-south node conjunction in the FTSE 100 birth chart. Put together, these two cosmic events may well have caused a pessimistic sentiment to set in. Just a few days before, on the 8th, Jupiter, the planet of luck and optimism, also turned retrograde, which may have further dampened outlooks.
So what of the 20th? Again, a number of soli-lunar phenomena seem to have been at work. Firstly, the Sun ingressed into Aquarius on afternoon of the 20th – in and of itself no big deal, except that Aquarius is a sign in which the Sun is considered to be in detriment. Furthermore, there was a Full Moon on January 24 – again a Sunday – which puts the last trading date leading up to this event Friday the 22nd – pretty close to when the market seems to have turned from down back to up.
Initially, then there do seem to be some significant correlations between soli-lunar phenomena and FTSE fluctuations. But of course, this is a very small sample, so perhaps we need to look at a longer period of time to see if anything else stands out.
Here’s a three month graph dating between Nov 2015 and Feb 2016 where we can see some clear ups and downs occurring at fairly regular intervals, including a slump in share prices between 10-17 Nov, again between 8-15 Dec and then ones we’ve already looked at in January. The same thing happened in October when the FTSE 100 index fell around 2% for three consecutive days around the time of the New Moon in Libra (October the 13th) amidst lower than expected figures released by China which showed signs that all was not well in the world’s second biggest economy. One analyst was quoted as saying:
In the short-term, sentiment appears to have turned substantially negative again … Chinese inflation data has come in well below expectations overnight.
Again, the FTSE dip in November seems to coincide with the New Moon in Scorpio, which took place on the 11th of November, with steady rises occurring around the Gemini Full Moon on the 25th. On the face of it, this seems counter-intuitive – there being a very auspicious Mercury-Jupiter sextile on the same day – until we consider that the terrorist attacks in Paris took place on November the 13th – just two days after the New Moon. Then the rather ominous conglomeration of Sun, Moon and Mercury in vengeful Scorpio, right on the FTSE’s natal Saturn/Midheaven begins to take on a new light. This is forcible downward pressure being brought to bear on any aspirations for success/growth by deadly fear and intimidation. Many commentators have suggested that a similar situation occurred in 2001 when the bursting of the tech bubble in 2000 was rapidly followed by the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which sent the global economy sliding into a mini-recession. In another article, I hope to look at this event a little more closely to see whether any significant comparisons/parallels can be detected between global and market conditions in 2001 and 2014-15, so keep your eyes peeled for it in the near future.
A similar picture emerges in early December, with share prices falling close to the New Moon on the 11th of December. This time, the Sagittarius New Moon is located in the 12th house of the FTSE 100 chart (the house of hidden fears, secret enemies and worry) and very close to its Uranus-south node conjunction, suggesting a build-up of nervousness and possibly contagious panic linked to catastrophe thinking.
On this occasion, transiting Mars was also opposing transiting Uranus, which happened to be contacting the FTSE nodal axis from the 3rd and 9th houses, suggesting that news headlines at home or developments abroad, may have played a role in stock market falls around this time. At this time, people were concerned about a possible interest rate rise by the US Federal Reserve Bank in mid-December 2015 and what it might mean for the world economy. Certainly, over the autumn and in the lead-up to the 16th of December, when the announcement finally came, financial newspapers and economic commentators were filled with warnings from organisations like the IMF and Washington-based IIF that such a move could trigger a third wave of global recession, sparked by possible mass defaults by corporate borrowers, unable to service their dollar-based debts due to an evaporation of foreign credit and ever weakening currency levels. One could see how heightened emotions, including hysteria and mass panic, might lead people to divest themselves of investments or just cut and run, as they did on Black Monday back at the end of August 2015 when the Chinese stock market faltered – at that time, the Moon was also in Sagittarius.
So, looking at the yearly overview then, it might be fair to say that share prices first began to tumble post Black Monday (end of August), a trend catalysed by the September eclipses which then led to increasing levels of volatility, possibly led by lunar-driven herd mentality, that has peaked at every new moon since then.
Generally, solar eclipses last for six months, so if I am correct, then this trend should continue until at least the February 2017 lunar eclipse Whether the downward trend continues may depend on the nature of these soli-lunar events – something I hope to evaluate further in my Spring Eclipse Forecasts – look out for these on the Eclipses section of http://www.astro-sphere.com in the near future.
To be continued…
Post-script: I now see that there is an Australian analyst named Phil Andersen who has become something of a cult figure amongst certain investors. Although I haven’t read his book, it seems to me that a lot of his theory is based on that of William Gann, which means, in turn, that it is based in astrology. Many people seem to put great store in what he advises, which is interesting. For my own money, if he has got more data to back up what Gann (and in turn, astrology) already suggest, then good on him. For my money, I just think it’s a question of language: taking something ‘esoteric’ and making it more palatable by dressing it up in ‘finance speak’ and adding a few graphs to ‘prove’ it. I say, whatever floats your boat.
- Extracted from http://cyclesresearchinstitute.org/pdf/cycles-economy/Applied1-GANN.pdf
- Mentioned in a biographical article about Gann entitled ‘William Gann – A Legend. Who was William Gann?’ published in FX Trader Magazine – http://www.fxtradermagazine.com/technical-analysis/William-Gann-square-biography.php
- ‘The 18 Year Property Cycle,’ Astro Analyst website – http://www.astro-analyst.com/18-year-property-cycle/
- Malcolm Bucholtz’s ‘Investing Success website – http://www.investingsuccess.ca/about-me/