I promise not to make a habit out of this, but I hope I can presume upon your patience just this once for a little immediate follow-up. I became intrigued this morning when I read about the first general strike in Spain in over a decade, and the attendant likelihood of the downgrading of the nation’s formerly impeccable credit rating. If you were kind enough to read my latest blog entry, you may have noticed that one of the 10 places I put on my fall watch list was the Spanish capitol, Madrid (which made it through yesterday with no television or newspapers due to the strike).
Curiosity and intellectual honesty compelled me to look at the news for the other nine places on my list, and this what I found over just the past two days. Not all of these are profound on the order of the Spanish situation, but they are all at least somewhat significant and interesting considering the time frame.
New Orleans: an extensive Gallup survey released today indicates that “depression levels” along the Gulf Coast have risen 25.6% since the oil spill
St. Louis: in non-connected but numerically synchronous events, St. Louis yesterday welcomed the opening of the world’s 300th Ronald McDonald House and the completion of its 300th Habitat for Humanity home
Memphis: (share this one perhaps with your pet) the city of Memphis yesterday passed a mandatory spay-neuter ordinance, in response to the 16,000 dogs and cats that were euthanized in the city last year
Guatemala City: The lines on the map, as noted above, go right through the area of the Mexican mudslides and on through Guatemala. In the aftermath of this weekend’s Tropical Storm Matthew, it was reported today that more than 6,500 Guatemalan citizens and 1,000 Guatemalan homes were respectively displaced and damaged by floods.
Galapagos Islands: electronics manufacturer Sharp yesterday introduced a major Kindle competitor in the Japanese market; named to evoke a sense of (gadget) evolution, it is called Galapagos. If that sounds like a geographical stretch, consider that the San Diego zoo yesterday announced the opening of its new $1M habitat for its 17 tortoises…Galapagos tortoises.
London: a vague but highly publicized threat regarding terror cells emerged from the UK this morning, but if you want to go with high-profile specifics consider that: 1) yesterday Lloyd’s of London announced a 50% reduction in profits over the first half of the year due to the highest disaster insurance claims in its history (BP, Chile); and 2) also yesterday, the individual heading up construction management for the 2012 London Olympics resigned
Madrid: mentioned above
Accra: the completion of a major school building program, under the advisement of the Columbia University (NY) –based Earth Institute and its Millennium City initiative, was announced yesterday by the mayor of Accra; all of the Ghana capitol’s students will now be able to occupy school premises for 8 hours per day, rather than in 4-hour morning/afternoon shifts as has been the prior case
Calcutta: another city that is strike-plagued at the moment…1500 government-program doctors and all of the support workers in the region’s court system are making medical and judicial care a very dicey proposition at this time
Fiji: the military ruler of the country addressed the United Nations General Assembly yesterday (!); afterwards U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton met with the island nation’s minister of foreign affairs for 75 minutes, in a discussion of “continued dialogue and partnership”
Random happenstances at random times? Quite possibly. But what if there is some real energy in this location calculation, and what if it could be harnessed to your own personal and professional interests?
It can be, you know. Please let me be your guide.
Steven Mark Weiss, Author
Signs of Success: The Remarkable Power of Business Astrology
Ordinarily, I tend to astrologically sleep through the solar cardinal ingresses. Ultimately, one can only keep track of so much cosmic activity. I'm not saying they aren't important, just that my spirit finds the relatively commonplace "cardinal ingress" such haughty conceptual overkill when stacked up against the crunchy leaf/hot cocoa/football-ish spirit of the "first day of fall."
This time, though, I'm inclined to pay some astrological attention. One reason, both astronomical and astrological, is that this is the first time in nearly 20 years that the autumnal equinox is taking place during a full moon. I can go all astro-sophisticated on you here but I'm certain that your own sense of the full moon, whether it gives you a bit of an eerie feeling or stretches out to full on lunatic werewolf, will nicely suffice for understanding the sort of energy we are dealing with here (and through the election season).
Another thing that is very compelling about this particular cardinal ingress into Libra (the sign of partnership) is that the planets and some other important astrological points have kind of buddied up in an assortment of pairs right now. As mentioned in my last blog entry, Neptune is currently in a long term pas de deux with Chiron, and the moment has also coupled Sun with Saturn, Mars with Venus, Pluto with the north node of the moon, Ceres with the Part of Fortune and, most interestingly, Jupiter with Uranus in such a way that they are part of a very frisky foursome with the Sun and the moon (and Saturn, if you accept a six degree orb of influence; and Pluto and the north node if you want to allow for traditional astrological aspects).
I could probably spend the rest of my natural days attempting to explain the significance of all that, so I won't. I do want to call your attention to this Sun-Moon-Jupiter-Uranus-Saturn thing, though, because that is a potential five-ring energy circus. Basically on the same stage you have the central personality (Sun), the crowd sentiment (moon), the principle of expansion (Jupiter), the principle of contraction (Saturn), and the promise of the unexpected (Uranus) all angling to jump through the same hoop.
Who is going to come out on top in the elections? Dang, if I know.
What I do find astonishingly compelling, however, is that this bundling of energy looks so darn interesting on a map. Look for yourself:
What this geodetic (another story for another occasion) map reveals is how the planetary energies we are discussing here are bundled like the major cables in a vast planetary power grid. If you have surmised that the places where these lines are routed are the high wattage focal points for the action in the fall of 2010 well, heck, I'm with you. Thanks to various planetary retrograde and direct periods (sort of like a car moving backwards then forwards), we are often dealing with places that have already been in the news and are likely to be so again...except as the Die Hard folks might say, "with a vengeance."
So what are some of the specific places we are looking at?
1) New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico. Certainly you will not be surprised to learn that this area of the world has been astrologically lit up for a while now. What I find encouraging insofar as it is a new development is the recent appearance of Jupiter at the party. Jupiter frequently brings good luck, but it is also the principle of expansion, so don't close the book on the oil spill saga just yet.
2 & 3) Memphis and St. Louis. Both of these cities are virtually due north of New Orleans, so they tend to share many of the energetic influences that impact New Orleans. My favorite example of this is Southern Comfort, a whiskey 'invented' in New Orleans but made famous at a World's Fair in St. Louis, where it is now manufactured. This may not be the strongest of examples, but somehow the mention of whiskey seems appropriate.
4) Guatemala City. One starts to appreciate that this mapping stuff may not be just all goofy, when you consider the fortunes of Guatemala this year, located due south of New Orleans. You know how roiled up the Gulf of Mexico has been this year? Well, in case you missed it, the top story from Guatemala City (I'm not kidding about this) has been the opening of a massive, building-swallowing sinkhole during a tropical storm. Of course, there was also a volcano eruption but Iceland sort of grabbed the headlines on that. It could be an interesting autumn.
5) The Galapagos Islands. One certainly can't overlook the Darwin connection as religious fundamentalists continue to square off against scientists over the nature of man's creation and evolution. Nevertheless, there is also the story of the contemporary place itself, which has become a far less lonely destination since the days of Darwin. Right now a debate rages over the level of protection that must be afforded the islands' indigenous species as UNESCO has just removed the Galapagos from the list of endangered world heritage sites. It promises to be tourists vs. tortoises in a no-holds-barred affair.
6) London. All of England is lit up with planetary energy this fall. Fortunately the emphasis seems to be more on potentially upbeat excitement than on the heavy vibe that rolled in with the volcanic ash this past spring. Happily there appears to be no redux on tap with regard to the Iceland incident, but don't be surprised if someone thinks they hear something and the Brits get a little bent out of shape.
7) Madrid. Also on the energy tracks is the Spanish capitol. Interestingly the most direct assault is made by the moon, among whose astrological functions is feminine energy and the general mood of the public. Considering the number of women currently in power positions in the Spanish government, and considering the auspicious placement of nearby Jupiter in the sky, one might justifiably expect a period of optimism in Spain...whatever the ultimate reality of the economic situation.
8) Accra. Ghana would seem to be due some attention from the world this fall. Perhaps they will continue to enjoy a decline in their high rate of inflation...although this is not a great bet with the presence of Jupiter. Perhaps they will simply issue a friendly challenge and beat up on the U.S. soccer team again as they did in the FIFA World Cup.
9) Calcutta. With a metro area population of some 15 million, Calcutta is probably many things that you think, and some that you do not. This vast Indian city is, for example, becoming an increasingly major force in the global IT industry, an industry ruled by the planet Uranus that sits directly overhead as Calcutta enters the fall. (Curious aside: India may be the most astrologically attuned nation on the face of the earth, but it does not recognize the outer trans-Saturnian planets in the practice of astrology. So can Uranus have an impact if it is considered not to have an impact? Questions, questions.)
10)Fiji. This island nation north of New Zealand will be in the news this fall, not necessarily good news for a place that experienced a 6.3 magnitude earthquake in early September. Heck, I'd still go.
For more information:
geographical astrology at: www.myastromaps.com
bio & business info: www.stevenmarkweiss.com
This July an Economist cover story addresses business friendly conditions ranging from low tax rates to liberal immigration policies to a state budget surplus in explaining why Texas is kicking California's butt in the hopes-for-the-future department. Houston is the showpiece of the story. Similarly, a recent Forbes piece cites job availability, cheap housing and a welcoming regard to newcomers in describing Houston as "a perfect opportunity city."
So why should 2009 sing so sweetly for Houston, while sour notes sound for so much of the rest of the nation? Probably there's a reasonable answer having to do with factors like long-term fiscal responsibility, the importance of the energy economy, and the many features of the pro-business civic orientation cited above. As an astrologer, though, I'm ultimately forced to conclude that it is simply a matter of good luck, courtesy of Jupiter.
Admittedly it is an oversimplification to consider Jupiter solely as a planet of good fortune. Jupiter, the giant gas bag of our solar system, more precisely rules the principle of expansion. Certainly growth can be bad as well as good, but the prevailing astrological consensus is that Jupiter has a tendency to grow the good stuff and the planet has long been considered a great benefic influence in astrological lore and practice.
Houston apparently has natal status as a favorite ward of Jupiter. In a horoscope calculated for the original purchase and subsequent naming of the tract of land that would eventually become the fifth largest metro area in the U.S., Jupiter plays a prominent and auspicious role. The Houston chart's rising sign is Sagittarius (Jupiter's sign), and the ascendant is very closely trined from the ninth house by the chart ruler, Jupiter...all very indicative of a general state of easy flowing good fortune and a prosperous/healthy reputation and role in the world at large.
Still, the fortunes of any municipality are going to ebb and flow, and even in Houston there are certainly going to be lean years mixed with the Jupiterian. Any astrologer would look to planetary transits and progressions to deal with such changes in fortune, and one would reasonably expect Jupiter to be highly and favorably activated in significant planetary encounters in a (relative) boom year. Frankly, though, there's not that much going on with the Houston natal Jupiter this year.
What is quite arresting, though, is the 'randomly' fortuitous placement of Jupiter in a particular chart that really has nothing to do with Houston in a direct sense. The chart I'm referencing is a horoscope cast for 2009's first trade on the New York Stock Exchange, a chart that arguably represents the character of American commerce for the year ahead. If one takes the planetary positions in this New York City-based chart, and plots them out on a map of the earth (a discipline known as astrocartography), one readily sees that at the opening bell of the NYSE this year, Jupiter was exactly rising (i.e. it was powerfully positioned on the ascendant) in Houston.
I accept that if you are not into astrology you may be a little less than awestruck. But certainly you can appreciate the difference in the tone of the times for Houston as compared to just about everywhere else in the country excepting the rest of southeastern Texas. It sounds like optimism, man, and when was the last time you got an earful of that?
Sure there are other planets involved with Houston this year. Heavyweight Pluto opposed the natal Houston Mars in May, and the city's most important athlete, Yao Ming, broke his foot during the NBA playoffs. This aspect repeats itself this year on Christmas day, by the way, and I'm just giving the coaching staff a heads up.
For the most part, though, the other planetary activity simply enforces the notion that this is Houston's time. Saturn, the planet of hard earned achievement, is lingering around the Houston MC (the very top of the chart) this year, and that's a powerful indication of accomplishment (a very nice complement to Jupiter's inclination towards windfall luck). And the same powerful Pluto that broke Yao's foot is making nice to the Houston Sun (vitality) and Uranus (innovation and popular causes) all year.
Perhaps the event that spells it out best took place on May 29th, a day when Pluto formed an exact sextile (60 degrees; signifying communications & public achievement) aspect with Houston's natal Uranus. On that day the American Marketing Association recognized the Houston chapter of the AMA as the North American Chapter of the Year. During that evening the chapter presented it's top creative honor to the GHV&CB for its marketing campaign titled "My Houston," a global multi-media campaign proclaiming the city's love-embrace of opportunity, talent, style and diversity.
Or maybe Houston's moment is best reflected in its slate of candidates for the mayoral election that is to take place in November. Among the leading candidates are a black attorney, a career military officer who is of Mexican American heritage, a third generation Houston-based Anglo architect, and an openly gay woman who currently serves as Houston's City Controller, Houston's second highest elected office. Cowboy stuff, hardly.
But not a bad crowd for a Bette Midler (who is a Sagittarian by the way) concert...
For more information, please contact Steve at email@example.com
There are many apparently rational ways to go about prognosticating the trends/fads of an upcoming season. Go ahead and be as logical and empirical as you like, however, and one fact remains. You're still guessing.
So cut the astrologer a little slack. If your prognostications involve research generalizations and his rely on Jupiter, do you think one is less funny to an alien intelligence? Is there any reason why "The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference" should be heralded as a marketing masterwork and "Signs of Success: The Remarkable Power of Business Astrology" should languish on the shelf? I've read both and I know how I would answer that question.
Anyway, to show the good faith of a very earnest researcher into cosmic commerce, I offer here exactly what Jupiter is trying to tell us about the fads and trends across a host of industries for the upcoming summer season. The echo period is January/February of 1998. Free your mind...
Mail boxes and Sunday newspapers work best when they are not only filled with information, but are additionally crammed with actual stuff. Heavy duty in-home product sampling is due for a resurgence say the auguries. What are we gonna do with all that crap piling up in warehouses anyway?
The Oldsmobile Alero, announced in winter of 1998, was GM's acknowledgment that the American consumer of 1998 would rather drive a Honda Accord than an American car in a similar price range. People who bought the Alero seemed to like its styling and handling, although it never earned great marks for its mechanical reliability. In 2004...and here may lie the chief resonance of this tale...the brand folded, along with Oldsmobile itself.
CONSUMER PACKAGED GOODS
The Mach 3 is coming, the Mach 3 is coming! That was the buzz in the business magazines during the winter of 1998, although Gillette had yet to reveal its triple-bladed, and oh so top secret, razor's name. While for some the razor will always call to mind an early SNL parody (the third blade shaves even closer "because you'll believe anything"), the razor with "racing stripes" on the handle was a large success for the manufacturer. Watch for renewed interest in 'gourmet' versions of very ordinary products. (Are you listening, Chef Boyardee?)
Devotees of Jupiter cycles have no problem understanding why Michelle Obama (or at least somebody very highly visible and fashion-influential) is a J. Crew fan. One need simply hearken back to the winter of '98 pre-publicity campaign for the landmark WB teenage drama Dawson's Creek that included the show's young cast, including Katie Holmes, being featured in the J. Crew catalog. What I'm thinking is a fairly conservative look, with a surprising amount of steamy stuff going on in the inside.
On the very first day of 1998, the Chicago Sun Times proposed Moroccan food as the upcoming year's likely number one food trend. Now certainly this was meant to be a bit of a "grabber," whatever the level of sincerity behind the patently ridiculous prognostication. But have you heard about this Moroccan chef who just recently beat Cat Cora in an "Iron Chef America" showdown and who now has cooking show and recipe book in development for PBS? All aboard the Marrakesh Express!
Principals of the estimable trend consultancy, Iconoculture, released their book "The Future Ain't What It Used To Be, " in February of 1998. I disagree with the title assertion, of course, but it's only fair to give credit to a really cool title. So let's just celebrate the authors' identification of "grackers" (grey hackers), as an increasingly hip AARP crowd will most certainly continue to get in on the social networking fun...twaddling rather than twittering, I suppose.
It's difficult to pin an exact date on the fruition of Y2K angst, but the portion of business literature concerned with CEO pontification had a noteworthy flurry of activity in the winter of 1998. Basically, corporate heads were told that they would have to take responsibility for a new Dark Ages if they weren't already firing pretty hefty wads of cash at their IT departments and the resolution of their cracked computer code. I'm simply here to tell those same CEO's that they won't know what trouble is until 2012 when the Mayan calendar cycle ends and Neptune moves into Pisces. Paypal accepted.
MEDIA & ENTERTAINMENT
As a result of new FCC regulations regarding children's television, CBS launched its Fall '97 season with an ambitious slate of Saturday morning educational shows, including the quite highly regarded science show Beakman's World (pictured above). What CBS quickly learned was that children didn't particularly like educational programming and so, in mid-January of 1998, CBS canceled all of its Saturday morning shows. So one may safely conclude that this summer will not herald a renaissance in educational media for children. Fortunately we have some time before we will need those Y3K engineers.
To be honest, the most pressing 'insider' restaurant preoccupation in the winter of '98 was the concerted effort by chefs to save the swordfish from being over fished. So a lot of menu makers benched the broadbill and, safe to say, most consumers didn't have a clue that it was gone. Meanwhile, a lot of ink also went to bagels, yogurt, flavored ice teas, and coffee kiosk drive-throughs; the sort of things that were happy impulse buys in good ol' 1998...and will probably be considered luxury indulgences this far less economically carefree July.
It was in January of 1998 that the trade literature of the supermarket industry got particularly serious about covering the industry's HMR (home meal replacement) opportunity. In the next few months seemingly every grocer in America went out and bought an electric rotisserie unit. By the end of the year the Boston Market restaurant chain, specializing in rotisserie chicken, had gone bankrupt and become the wounded property of McDonald's. Amidst a host of other well-documented challenges, the restaurant industry may well expect ever-increasing HMR efforts from supermarkets this summer. Poor Ronald.
At the 1998 Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show, Scott McNealy, the founder of Sun Microsystems, was virtually everywhere preaching the open-platform gospel of JAVA and networked intelligence. "It's too complicated," said McNealy of Windows-dominated general computer applications, telling ABC's Aaron Brown that the personal computer was "the massive hairball of computing." Looking towards a future when extremely smart, application specific, handheld devices would rule the consumer electronic space, McNealy might have been looking at a future about 11-1/2 years ahead...say the summer of 2009.
In 1998 Hawaii's tourism industry, which accounts for one-third of the state's jobs (some say three-fourths if you figure in 'influenced' work) and one-fourth of its tax revenues, went so soft that the state government formed its first ever statewide agency to address the decline. This year, after a very healthy decade-long tourism recovery, the predictions are that Hawaii will see its worst tourism revenue declines since the Great Depression. So please buy a pineapple this summer...and support your local astrologer.
For more information please contact Steve Weiss at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Whatever else this year will be about, one can expect the main plot line to be the quest for resilience in the face of adversity. Disappointment is a given in business affairs this year, as most everyone in the general population will experience a degree of unrequited “need.” Of course, the specific shortfalls will be meted out with regard to the nature of one’s status in society, but there will be plenty of pain to go around for all.
What will compound the test that many of us will face is a very genuine uncertainty about where civilization stands at this moment. Some will see a kind of glamour or at least hopeful mystery in the beckoning of an historical cycle change, but uncertainty about the course of human events will manifest for most as real world anxiety, vulnerability, and fear of abandonment. The issue of self-discipline, the rigorous honoring of one’s own inner code and the stewardship of one’s real asset base, is going to be a premier universal concern in this time frame.
The preceding with its implication of sacrifice and effort is, of course, likely to prove untenable for a large portion of the population. It is clear that the masses, including consumers and colleagues, enter into this year with a genuine and energetic sense of collectivized hope as best reflected in the political regime change in Washington. Howsoever, the auguries most powerfully suggest that this hope is flimsy at best, and that the flip side may be a Pandora’s box of insecurities leading to nervous instability and the potential for grass roots fanaticism and aggression in the face of inevitable economic and social strains and disappointments.
To those who are sensitive to the currents of time, the feeling that will pervade the zeitgeist might be fairly characterized as a basic training situation. It may be a grand simplification, but the essence of training is the impartation of constructive discipline by the trainer, just as the key to its success is a willing attitude on the part of the trainee. Right now it’s bound to feel like we’re all in God’s boot camp…and strong bosses with the appropriate messiah complexes should correspondingly have the authoritarian time of their lives.
Anyway, on a serious note, I found myself getting into an enormous amount of material, including among a whole bunch of other stuff:
I flatter myself that the material may be of interest to some, and if you would like a complimentary copy of the report please just drop me an e-mail at email@example.com. Please put "2009 Report" in the subject line and send your contact information (confidentiality will be respected).
It is a bit ironic that in an era during which so much blame for economic crisis is being
placed at the door of financial 'experts,' the auguries suggest a universal desire for a strong executive hand in our investment activities and general allocation of assets. Rather than the casino-like vibe of the markets, however, a metaphor that suggests itself is ship-building, an activity in which the master ship builder and the vessel's captain play godlike roles in the serious and dangerous mission of eventually getting everyone safely across the ocean to the new land. Issues of concentrated attention and the deep appreciation of an organic cyclical wholeness to the flow of material and human assets are very much in play right now. The auguries suggest that it will indeed be hard for many too refrain from headstrong speculation, as the desire to recoup recent losses quickly is strong but those who find the development of long-term strategy constraining had better practice the phrase "easy come, easy go."
As for a December report, I'm giving myself the month off. Pass the nog.