Venus/Jupiter Station and Pink Diamond

O.K. Now I get it. Prince William and Kate Middleton get engaged, a pink diamond sells for a record $46 million, Congress approves the nomination of Peter DIAMOND to the Federal Reserve Board. What’s going on here?

It’s easy to figure out. These are the early manifestations of the Nov. 18 stations of benefic planets Jupiter and Venus, which are turning direct. With a little luck, there’s more manna to come!

Is Alan Greenspan to Blame for the Bubbles?

Yesterday, commenter Gian Paul suggested that Lehman Brothers CEO Richard Fuld is being singled out unfairly as a scapegoat for Wall Street’s woes.

As I noted in my post yesterday, Fuld may be the poster boy for the Street’s greed, but the angry mob may have a bigger fish to fry: Pisces Alan Greenspan, who served as chairman of the Federal Reserve for 18 years.

Greenspan’s tenure (1987-2006) coincided with two bubbles — one in Internet stocks and the other in real estate. The bursting of the real estate bubble is the trigger for the current financial crisis. Here’s Greenspan’s chart, courtesy of Astrodienst.

It’s set for noon on March 6, 1926 in New York because the time of birth is unknown. Interesting that the Father of Easy Money has a generous Venus/Jupiter conjunction in Aquarius broadly opposed by bubble-oriented Neptune in Leo.

As Neptune in Aquarius was transiting his Venus/Jupiter combo in technology-oriented Aquarius, Greenspan became besotted with the idea that tech had created massive improvements in productivity that were not being reported in the official figures. This gave birth to the notion of the New Economy.

Of course, who could blame Greenspan for not recognizing that the Internet would give us new ways to waste time, say by watching Tina Fey’s imitation of Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live via You Tube? While we’re on that topic, wasn’t Queen Latifah awesome in her spoof of Gwen Ifill?

(BTW, You Tube has taken the Fey debate video down, citing copyright issues by NBC Universal, which airs SNL. Guess we’ll have to do some work today.)

Anyway, I’ve been reading a trenchant indictment of Greenspan by William Fleckenstein called Greenspan’s Bubbles: The Age of Ignorance at the Federal Reserve that accuses him of self-delusion in his memoir The Age of Turbulence. Can you imagine: a Pisces guilty of self-delusion?

Other than the house of cards collapsing on Wall Street, what’s behind the attacks on Greenspan’s legacy? Saturn in Virgo is currently opposing his natal Sun.

So what if Greenspan didn’t do his duty as Fed chairman by taking away the proverbial punch bowl before the party got too wild? Well, we’re waking up to a massive hangover, in this case once deferred if Greenspan’s critics are correct in their allegation that he dealt with the bursting of the dot-com bubble by creating another bubble in real estate. So consider it a double-whammy of a hangover.

If you’re interested in this school of thought, check out The Mess That Greenspan Made, a blog that blames the former Fed chairman for just about everything, except perhaps childhood obesity.

Since I wrote this post, The New York Times has published an article questioning Greenspan’s laissez-faire attitude toward derivative instruments. The heat is on.

Sorry, Mr. Greenspan, I think I’m going to file this post under “Fallen Heroes.”

Remembering Kondratiev, the Martyr Economist

Back in the early 1990s, when Uranus and Neptune were conjunct in Capricorn, I became quite interested in the work of Russian economist Nikolai Kondratiev (also spelled Kondratieff), who was born March 4, 1892 in Kostroma, Russia..

How about that? I’m writing about Kondratiev the day before the anniversary of his death, Sept. 17, 1938.

Kondratiev got in trouble with his Marxist bosses for positing the existence of a “long wave” that surfaced every 60 years in capitalism. The Marxists believed that capitalism was hurtling toward its end, not that it was an enduring system racked by periodic turmoil. As a result, Kondratiev suffered for his theory. He was sent to the dreaded Gulag and was sentenced to death.

As this chart from Astrodienst (with transits of today) shows, Kondratiev was a visionary Pisces Sun conjunct Mercury. He had a T-square in mutable signs — Jupiter in Pisces opposing Saturn in Virgo both square Mars in Sagittarius.

This is a personal observation, but I’ve noticed Jupiter/Saturn contacts in the charts of several noteworthy economists — Nouriel Roubini, the latest “Dr. Doom,” has Jupiter sextile Saturn, as did John Maynard Keynes. As Liz Greene has noted in her research on the Jupiter/Saturn cycles, these two planets have a lot to do with socioeconomic trends.

Many economists are hoist with their own petard, to quote the Bard, but Kondratiev’s death sentence was a cruel fate indeed for a practitioner of the Dismal Science. Without an exact time of birth, it’s hard to determine exactly why it happened.

I need to do more work on the chart, but I can see that Neptune was at his Sun/Jupiter midpoint when he died, as this chart shows. Reinhold Ebertin, in The Combination of Stellar Influences, says this aspect can result in “the undermining of the health, material loss.”

Back when I was reading about Kondratiev, I knew a fair number of commodities traders. They were followers of Robert Prechter, a devotee of the Elliott Wave, as well as W.D. Gann, a legendary trader who reportedly used astrology to time the markets.

I became a member of the Foundation for the Study of Cycles, a group that publishes Cycles magazine. Alice had indeed fallen down the Rabbit Hole!

As technical traders in the commodities markets know, you can become enmeshed in a net of confusion studying various cycles and waves. As computer screens of stochastic oscillators and Fibonacci numbers give way to a metaphysical discussion of the Golden Mean and fractals, the lines between the fields of finance, science, and the occult become quite blurred. Ah, Neptune in Capricorn: I remember it well!

Followers of Kondratiev like myself were waiting for the bottom to drop out of the U.S. economy in the early 1990s because it was roughly 60 years after the Great Crash of 1929. But though the economy suffered twin recessions in the early ’90s following the Crash of 1987, a Thirties-style Depression never materialized. What happened instead was globalization (Pluto into Sagittarius in 1995) and the advent of the Internet (Uranus into Aquarius, also in ’95) combined to usher in a new era of expansion.

As much as I believe in Kondratiev’s 60-year cycle, I also subscribe to the idea of a roughly 100-year cycle operating in U.S. history. A few quick examples: War of 1812 and World War I, Civil War in the 1860s and upheaval and Vietnam War in the 1960s, financial panics in 1873 and 1973.

When Pluto went into Sagittarius, I got back into the business of trying to earn a living and put my cycles studies aside. But this week’s events are bringing me back to the 100-year cycle.

Market maven Barry Ritholtz has blogged on a book called The Panic of 1907: Lessons Learned from the Market’s Perfect Storm by Robert F. Bruner and Sean Carr (McGraw-Hill, 2007).

Now, Wall Street Weather is making the connection between 1907 and yesterday’s bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers and the merger between Merrill Lynch and Bank of America that occurred under the “Harvest” Full Moon in Pisces.

You may know that the Panic of 1907 led to the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913. You can see the Fed chart here. The Fed’s natal chart is being transited through the end of the year by expansive Jupiter. Then, it’s going to be activated by Pluto in Capricorn, as it was earlier this year.

Remember, things don’t always work perfectly, so the Panic of 1907 and the Collapse of 2008 are 101 years apart, not a century. It’s close enough for me. If readers have any ideas about the astrological aspects that might produce a 100-year cycle, I’d be very interested to hear about them.

Nouriel Roubini: The New Dr. Doom

You know the way some people gush over movie stars and athletes? With a Sun/Mercury/Saturn in financially-minded Capricorn opposing a cyclical Cancer Moon, I get a little starry-eyed over economists.

Maybe the reason why practitioners of the so-called Dismal Science get my heart beating a little faster is because I secretly consider them to be fellow travelers. After all, both economists and astrologers spend their time poring over charts and making prognostications. This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, from economist John Kenneth Galbraith: “The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.”

Earlier this year, I wrote an ode to the late economist Hyman Minsky and I’ve been known to blow virtual kisses at market maven Barry Ritholtz.

I’m out of town so I’m just catching up with this New York Times Sunday Magazine story on Nouriel Roubini, whom I quoted in my Minsky post. Don’t have time to read it right now? Here’s a key point:

Only a handful of 20th-century economists have even bothered to study financial panics. (The most notable example is probably the late economist Hyman Minksy, of whom Roubini is an avid reader.) “These are things most economists barely understand,” Roubini told me. “We’re in uncharted territory where standard economic theory isn’t helpful.”

The NYT has dubbed Roubini “Dr. Doom.” Want to know the last time the mainstream media nicknamed an economist Dr. Doom? Interestingly enough, it was when Saturn was last in Virgo, 29 years ago. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Salomon Brothers chief economist Henry Kaufman had that moniker. Kaufman was a talking head who influenced markets during the tenure of Federal Reserve Board Chairman Paul Volcker. You can read about that period here.

I love the symbolism: Dr. Doom as a finance icon is having his Saturn return! By the way, the original Dr. Doom is still going strong at age 80. Henry Kaufman runs an eponymous consulting firm and gets a seat on the dais at Economic Club of New York functions in honor of his longevity.

Why is Roubini, the new Dr. Doom, getting so much ink right now? He is an Aries born Mar. 29, 1958, according to the Wiki. You can see Roubini’s chart with transits and progressions of Aug. 17, the day the NYT article was published, here courtesy of Astrodienst.

Interesting that Roubini’s progressed Sun and Moon are conjunct in late Taurus. This often signifies marriage or the beginning of a new creative partnership. The economist’s got the transiting North Node, which is traveling with Neptune and Chiron, on his Venus/natal Chiron in Aquarius right now. The Sun was a little past an opposition to his Venus on Aug. 17.

The transiting North Node, which is good for connections with the public, is bringing attention from the media, and increasing Roubini’s popularity, though the article mentions his perennial “outsider” status. I believe this reflects the conjunction of Chiron, the Wounded Healer, with Venus in his natal chart. The son of Iranian Jews who was raised in Turkey, Roubini is an immigrant. So is the original Dr. Doom, Henry Kaufman, whose family left Germany to escape Hitler after living through the hyperinflation of the 1920s.

Let’s hope the two Dr. Dooms, and the rest of us, don’t have to live through U.S. hyperinflation of the 2010s.

Jupiter in Cap and Welfare for Wall Streeters

We’ve had some thrills and chills over the past 24 hours with JPMorgan’s acquisition of Bear Stearns and the Federal Reserve Board cutting interest rates on a Sunday night. Since I’ve been involved in covering financial markets for the past 25 years and like to put my two cents in, a lot of people have been asking me lately about the prospects for the U.S. economy.

Here’s my bottom line: This year won’t be that bad because Jupiter in Capricorn will be opposing the U.S. Sun ( “Born on the Fourth of July”) and will be moving in the same sign as Pluto, also in Capricorn for part of the year. What this means to me is lots of government benevolence — or welfare for Wall Streeters. That’s why we’re getting tax rebates when we need tax hikes and why the Fed is coming up with programs to stop the subprime bloodbath by allowing investment banks to borrow directly from it, a privilege previously extended only to commercial banks.

Don’t worry, folks. Oil and gold may be skyrocketing and the dollar will be tanking, but Uncle Sam has deep pockets.