OPEC’s Staying Power: The View From Brazil

Today is turning out to be a doubleheader for Gian Paul, our Brazil bureau chief. Do they have beisbol down in Brazil? I think not. Probably Ronaldinho and Ronaldo would not allow it.

About a week ago, Gian Paul filed a long comment that referenced OPEC and I promised that if he fleshed it out a bit, I’d give him a post of his own. After some crossed signals and technical difficulties (Mercury retrograde), I think we have a readable, interesting post on the chart of OPEC. Here’s Gian Paul:

Anybody who has any doubts about the long relationship between oil and Saturn should take a look at the chart for OPEC, the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Using a birth time of noon on Sept. 14, 1960 in Baghdad produces a chart with the Sun on the midheaven making a T-square to Jupiter and Mars. The Moon is in Cancer (not bad for liquids) opposing Saturn retrograde at 1 degree of Capricorn.

It’s seldom that one finds a chart with four planets in the sign of their rulers: Venus in Libra (must be fun to own an oil well or two), Jupiter in Sagittarius (moving almost overnight from riding camels to driving Mercedes-Benzes to flying Learjets and Falcons – the metallic kind), Moon in Cancer (the crescent is on all Islamic flags), and finally Saturn in Cap, retrograde.

In the style of astrology I follow, this gives the OPEC chart four “governors.”

Some salient aspects of the chart: Expansive Jupiter is in a tight opposition to martial Mars. This world’s arms dealers a long time ago discovered the beauty of Middle Eastern deserts.

Another striking feature of the OPEC map is its “cutting” planet, Mars, and its “trailing” one, Saturn. (The cutting planet is the one with the biggest open space ahead of it, moving in a counterclockwise fashion, regardless of degree.) In the almost 50 years that OPEC has been in existence, the group has functioned in a fairly cohesive manner, thanks to its strong Saturn and generally favorable planetary positions.

Of course, its members are periodically shaken by infighting, conquests, war. Big fluctuations in the price of oil are the norm. As the stuff is getting rarer or at least more difficult to find cheaply, the trend can only be up, especially with China as a big new consumer. No need for economists nor astrologers to predict that.

Today, OPEC’s members in total must sell large quantities of oil to simply maintain their high standards of consumption. That’s why I suspect that Iran is pushing towards nuclear energy. Knowing that once nuclear power is up and running, they, and others, could reduce selling oil at critical moments, thereby pushing up the price etc. The other “nuclear problem” with Iran is playing games, mostly.

It’s useful to remember here that OPEC member Indonesia has a population of over 250 million. Add Algeria, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Somalia, Nigeria, and a few others to the account, and one gets at least 400 million to 500 million car-loving oil producers generating their electricity from oil today.

“Sheik” Lula, as the Brazilian President is increasingly called around here (he loves the role), recently visited the United Nations in New York. There are rumors circulating that he may be tempted to make a bargain: If Brazil is admitted as a permanent member of the Security Council, he may forget about wanting to join OPEC. Tough decision, isn’t it?

Looking at the current transits on OPEC’s chart, simply using the Fall Equinox chart, it’s truly exciting from an astrological point of view. Jupiter has just crossed natal Saturn, Neptune soon will terminate its opposition to Uranus, Saturn is heading for its 29-year encounter with OPEC’s Sun and will activate the T-square with Jupiter and Mars.

In the days of Yasir Arafat, it would have been easier to forecast OPEC’s next step. By looking at Arafat’s chart, as the guy had some emotional grip on OPEC, one was able to “combine things.” Presently it’s more difficult. But I have no doubt that something serious will happen leading to higher oil prices ahead, perhaps as high as $200 a barrel.

The transits on OPEC’s chart are crying for it. It’s possible that Israel will take action against the Iranian nuclear laboratories. Both Pakistan and India have nukes, remember. Not that they will use them. But they may get the CIA running, and others behind. We are “at the edge of a possible precipice,” so to speak.

As an aside, I have an acquaintance in Geneva in real estate. One day he was really lucky. One of Saddam’s brothers or a cousin bought a villa from him. The price (neither one of the two spoke English very well ): 2 million. The Iraqi made a bank transfer for 2 million dollars, when the price was 2 million Swiss francs, giving the seller more than double the then-exchange rate. These were the days when the dollar was a lot stronger.

The real estate guy bought himself not a Mercedes-Benz but a Ferrari, four-seater, a very rare model to have. Not bad.

Thanks, Gian Paul. Well, I’ve been on the receiving end of many a mathematical error in my day, but the mistake never seems to be in my favor. Maybe I’ll be lucky enough to be Swiss in my next life!

A Cosmic Take on Cuisine: The View From Brazil

Gian Paul, who has emerged as the Brazil bureau chief of Astrology Mundo and Lula watcher par excellence, is back with a fascinating look at cuisine and the cosmos, peppered by some personal insights. After all, this is a blog.

Here’s Gian Paul, a Swiss-born finance type who follows French astrology and loves Belgian chocolate. (Pralinée only, s’il vous plâit.)

In a recent edition of BusinessWeek, there are two alarming items, related and of astrological interest:

The first is that an increasing percentage of Greek children today are overweight, similar to in the U.S. The second is that nearly 3,000 restaurants and cafés have closed in France this year already.

The decline in the number of French eateries is most likely taking place in the Western Hemisphere as well.

What’s truly alarming is the speed at which things are going downhill in France, where a a gourmand culture has existed since before the French Revolution. One hundred years ago, a somewhat sophisticated meal consisted of six or seven courses or so. If it were a banquet, the number of courses would normally increase to 20.

BusinessWeek concentrates on the “economic” side of the issue, as one would expect for a business publication. So what’s the astrological angle?

I am a follower of the French type of astrology. One of the best French astrologers I know, Henry Gouchon, always related health issues with children to the planetary transits that they had in the first four years of their lives. An intriguing concept. Even more so because it’s possible to look up these transits much later in life, when some health problems have become chronic.

Many people struggle at one point or another in their lives with a weight problem. Some physicians find psychological reasons, while others cite early childhood habits or ignorant parents.

In astrology, health is associated with the sign Virgo and the sixth house. With Moon in Virgo opposing Mars myself, I am quite sympathetic to those with ulcers.

I used to be a financial analyst at one stage in my life, covering oil, chemicals, and drugs. Back in the Sixties and early Seventies, I remember there were practically no new drugs coming out of research. Then all of a sudden came Tagamet, the revolutionary anti-ulcer medication, as well as a slew of various anti-cholesterol drugs, beta blockers, etc.

Interested in astrology, I went searching for the astrological link. Drugs are related to Neptune. Here’s my theory: Neptune had to move out of Scorpio in the early Seventies and into Sagittarius in before drug research could make a quantum leap forward!

Unfortunately, these pharmaceutical breakthroughs were also accompanied by great advances in the adulteration of food. Interesting that the food industry is a favorite investment area of Warren Buffett, with his Jupiter/Pluto conjunction in Cancer, which rules food.

We have witnessed the advent of an onslaught of sugar substitutes and food preservatives, as well as artificial flavors, fragrances, and colors.
So, back to our poor Greek kids and French restaurant owners. Blaming Neptune’s passage through Sagittarius does not offer much consolation. However, thanks to the “mutual reception” of Neptune in Aquarius and Uranus in Pisces, we have an opportunity for scientists to discover what is truly healthy. (Mutual reception occurs when two planets are transiting signs ruled by one another.)

Having suffered from a heart attack and having cholesterol problems for quite a long time, I have been forced to become knowledgeable about this domain. Only eight years ago my cardiologists were insisting that I eat margarine, not butter. Now margarine is out.

I was happily eating eggs and red meat, while the drugs to control cholesterol were counterbalancing my excesses. Everybody was happy: Nestlé, Kraft, P&G, Pfizer, Bayer, Roche, and many others. Even good restaurants because I had returned as a client.

I realize that I’m not alone in adhering to one gastronomical regimen, only to be told by a doctor or the press that it’s “wrong,” and that I must change lanes. When everyone was jogging, carbs were good. Then, as people became glued to their desks and their computers, high-protein diets like Atkins and the Zone were all the rage.

For those who dismiss the “Mediterranean diet” as a fad, you’re wrong. It’s truly healthy and wonderful food. Too bad those Greek kids have abandoned this traditional way of eating.

And while Napa Valley vintners extol the virtue of wine as part of a healthy diet, they fail to tell us that new processes to mature wines more rapidly use quite a variety of Neptunian ingredients that are far from natural.

The Greeks who came to New York to run the diners for years may have the right idea: Go home to a little Greek island to retire. Enjoy a variety of local cheeses, olives, delicious tomatoes, and truly natural wine.

Thanks, Gian Paul, I’m off to a samba class to keep off the fat!