Saturday, April 05, 2014

Warren Buffett: An Amazing Legacy

©2013 J. Lee Lehman, PhD
 
The New York Times has just published a feature on Warren Buffet with a very curious twist:  a discussion of how, after decades of consistently beating the market, Mr. Buffet has somehow lost his touch. The question for us as astrologers, is obviously: why?

Mr. Buffet's genius was defined, both by him and by others, as being able to outperform the market. Seemingly, that ability vanished in 2009. Since we are now talking about more than three consecutive years, we have probably moved beyond the realm of a specific transit, direction or progression. 

In his nativity, we see that the two most dignified planets, Saturn and Venus, rule two important houses from the standpoint of his investing: the second, and the fifth. The 2nd represents cash wealth, and the 5th gambling: a house most astrologers consider appropriate for playing the stock market. In Buffet's case, Venus and Saturn are also in mutual reception by Triplicity: these two planets work well together. Venus at the 10th house suggests celebrity is possible for its efforts: the New York Times piece points out how rare it is for someone of his profound abilities to be known to the public, but his Berkshire Hathaway Fund has been legendary. Furthermore, Venus was conjunct Spica, surely the most benefic fixed star in the ancient pantheon.

I would note an interesting condition of Saturn: its dignity and retrogradation. It's easy to call a planet retrograde as one having a twist. Buffett's amazing ability to outperform the market has to count as one of the most stellar twists of modern finances!
 
I believe that his Sun-Neptune conjunction trine 1st house Saturn allowed him quite a bit of intuition into matters often represented primarily as dry numerical figures and statistics. Furthermore, the heavy emphasis on cardinality in the chart surely helped him avoid that great temptation of traders: to fall in love with a stock. His combination of dry earth Sun and Saturn hooked up with Neptune in an earth sign is a most fascinating harbinger of psychic engineering.

Is there anything we can say to suggest why his streak as ended, at least for now? I believe we have an intriguing possibility. The timing corresponds to one particular aspect of a larger phenomenon: the ingress of Pluto into Capricorn. We know, of course, that Pluto went into Capricorn on 27 November 2008. In my book, Astrology of Sustainability, I discuss the often dramatic events that occur within the time period when Pluto changes signs. In Buffett's case, Pluto in Capricorn begins to impinge upon his 1st house Saturn, which rules both his 1st and his 2nd: a very crucial planet from the standpoint of his identity and his financial portfolio. Had this ingress occurred earlier in 2008, it might well have affected his 2008 outcome as well. But enter 2009 and suddenly, his Midas touch was gone. 

Now, in my own mind, I believe that 2008 marks a point of no return in the extent to which the markets are no longer that sensitive to any individual investor, even such a large one as Mr. Buffett. I believe that the increase in computer-driven trading has completely changed the game, and that in this case, our subject simply could not keep up with this change. 

So: can we hypothesize about whether the magic can come back? We may note that this lingering Uranus-Pluto square is all over his outer placements, with the first pass in 2012 of the square occurring the degree after his Saturn placement, and with the final square in 2015 occurring just past his own Uranus, and thus ringing in his Uranus return. I would venture to suggest that it was probably about the time that the square began to form that he began to understand that he wasn't just having a spurt of a couple of years of bad luck. I would suspect that, with the relative proximity of his Pluto opposition beginning in 2018, that he may not be able to reverse his streak until then.

In any case, this is an interesting exercise, because we simply don't have a good database of exactly what happens at the Pluto oppositions, because it's been so long since the last period when Pluto was moving quickly enough for us to experience it. And of course, we don't know whether Mr. Buffett will have retired by then, or even if he will still be on the planet.

However, given the magnitude of his influence among traders and historians of the market, I would venture to suggest that a corollary of this observation is that it may take until 2018 before people, traders, and the government actually fully recognize and address the idea that the current system of computerized trading has completely marginalized the individual trader - just another example of the plutocracy theme associated with Pluto in Capricorn.

And as astrologers, in the meantime, we may have to consider whether the stock market even qualifies as a 5th house entity any more. What we are experiencing now is more akin to loaded dice, where the House is benefiting far more than it should.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

How have Rulerships shifted since the Discovery of the Outer Planets?


©2013 J. Lee Lehman, PhD



In my book, EssentialDignities, I addressed the question of how the three trans-Saturnian planets were assigned rulerships, which is really an indirect answer to the question, how are rulerships assigned? Specifically, I performed an experiment: I compared the Medieval al-Biruni's rulerships to those of the modern work by Rex Bills. I looked for all those cases where Bills gave a rulership to Uranus, Neptune, or Pluto, and the same concept could be found in al-Biruni. By seeing which traditional planet rulership was assigned to which outer planet, we are actually mapping attitudes about the nature of those outer planets. This was specifically set up to address the modern belief that the three outer planets are the higher octave of Mercury (Uranus), Venus (Neptune), and Mars (Pluto). The results are shown in Table 1.

Planet
Uranus
Neptune
Pluto
Sun
4
1
1
Moon
0
5
1
Mercury
1
2
1
Venus
1
4
4
Mars
4
0
5
Jupiter
2
0
2
Saturn
2
7
6

Table 1. Attributions in al-Biruni which are ruled by Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto in Bills.1

The results for Neptune and Pluto show a strong conversion of Saturn words, which suggests the obvious idea that these two outer planets are malefics that have taken over some of the Greater Malefic's traditional words. Uranus is more complex, but the dominance in the transfer of Sun and Mars words does suggest that Uranus is hot and dry in nature. In Neptune's case, the large number of Moon and Venus words might suggest wet, while the Moon and Saturn words would give cold. Pluto is more complicated: Venus and Mars are polar opposites in qualities as well as signs, suggesting that perhaps Pluto's qualities are more situational than intrinsic,

When I ask astrology audiences to classify the outer planets by quality, the results are consistent with what we have just seen. Uranus is easily classified as hot and dry (increasing the energy of a system, but tending to break things apart), while Neptune is easily classified cold and wet (decreasing the energy of a system, but intensifying the connections). Pluto is always troubling for people to classify, and there is seldom agreement.

This little demonstration suggests a use of the qualities of the planets as being an important component of their rulerships. I know that the higher octave theory is very appealing aesthetically: it's just that this study indicates that the higher octave theory truly is more theory than practice.
_______

1Citation: Lehman, J. Lee. Essential Dignities. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Press, 1989, p. 107.
Sources for table:
al-Biruni, Muhammad ibn Ahmad, and Robert Ramsay Wright. The Book of Instruction in the Elements of the Art of Astrology. London,: Luzac & Co., 1934.
Bills, Rex E. The Rulership Book; a Directory of Astrological Correspondences. Richmond,: Macoy Pub. & Masonic Supply Co., 1971.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

US Government Shutdowns: What Works?

Copyright 2013 J. Lee Lehman

In my last post, I discussed a common model for timing the general length of events astrologically, by looking at the quadruplicity of the Ascendant. This idea is used in mundane astrology, for example, in timing whether an Aries Ingress in a particular location will last 3 months, 6 months, or an entire year.* In examining the history of government shutdowns, this method does not appear to apply.

I had presented a table showing the dates of all prior government shutdowns. I had also mentioned that we should be aware of an important demarcation between the pre-1980 shutdowns and the later ones: the earlier ones had few consequences, because very little in the government shut down.

What changes was a decision that a shutdown is, well, a shutdown, and so the later one resulted in an actual change in government-as-usual. Thus, it is a long shutdown after 1980 that has potential political consequences, whereas the earlier ones were seen as merely technicalities.

Here, I examine a different situation. As has been repeated many times in the last few weeks, it is Congress, not the President, which is responsible for a shutdown, because it is Congress that must pass a budget. In a mundane chart, the legislative body is the 11th house, so it seems appropriate to consider factors relating to the 11th house. There are presented in the following table, where I have distinguished the petty from the more serious shutdowns by placing the data in blue and red.



Date
Length in Days
Angular malefics
11th House sign
Cond Ruler 11th
In 11th
House 11th Ruler
1 Oct 1976
10
Ma, Pl
Ari
Detr
Ju, SN
4th
1 Oct 1977
12
Ma, Pl, SN
Ari
Fall
Mo
1st
1 Nov 1977
8
Ur, Sa
Gem
Pere
Mo, Ju
4th
1 Dec 1977
8
Ne
Can
Pere
Mo, Ma
11th
1 Oct 1978
18
SN, Pl
Ari
Ruler
5th
1 Oct 1979
11
Sa
Ari
Pere
2nd
21 Nov 1981
2
Ur, Ne
Can
Trip
NN
2nd
1 Oct 1982
1
Sa, Pl, SN
Ari
Per
6th
18 Dec 1982
3
Ne, SN
Leo
Trip
PF
4th
11 Nov 1983
3
Ur, SN, Ne
Gem
Term
4th
1 Oct 1984
2
--
Ari
Term
NN
6th
4 Oct 1984
1
--
Tau
Det/Trip
NN
5th
17 Oct 1986
1
Sn, Pl, Ma
Tau
Det/Trip/Ret
5th
19 Dec 1987
1
Ur, Ne, SN
Leo
Trip
4th
6 Oct 1990
3
Sa, Ne
Tau
Ruler
Mo
4th
14 Nov 1995
5
Ma, Sa
Can
Pere
4th
6 Dec 1996
21
Ma, Sa, SN
Can
Pere
2nd
1 Oct 2013
16
Ur, Pl
Ari
Face
SN
2nd

The two really serious government shutdowns are the last two: the 1996 and the 2013. Although they have different 11th house rulers, they share two features: a weak 11th house ruler which was posited in the 2nd house for the beginning of the shutdown.

This is actually interesting. There have been four shutdowns in which the ruler of the 11th was in the 2nd, and three of those four were long shutdowns. That's interesting by itself.

But the weak quality of the 11th house ruler is also interesting. The absence of essential dignity may be described as vacillating, or engaged in what we might call a random walk if it's peregrine, as it was for both of the shutdowns of 1995-1996. But the shutdown this time has dignity by Face, the weakest of the essential dignities. In my book, Essential Dignities, I discuss how Face often seems correlated with a serious of negative states, like anxiety and Fear. The process is being driven by negative emotion, rather than actual progressive ideals. It was certainly interesting that the resolution of the crisis did not occur until Mars had moved out of Face and into Virgo, a sign where it has Triplicity.

While it would be helpful to have more data points, there is at least a suggestion of an idea for what characterized this shutdown. But personally, I'd rather avoid any more examples very soon!



--
* For further information on this use of the quadruplicity with these charts, see my book, Astrology of Sustainability.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Beginning A Model for Predicting the Length of Government Shutdowns

Copyright 2013 J. Lee Lehman

In most of the discussions of the current government shutdown, if prior shutdowns have been mentioned at all, the it was the one presided over by then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich during the Clinton Administration in 1996. Actually, there have been a whole series of them. I wanted to create a table to show something about their astrology.

The reason for the particular columns is simple: there's a lot of precedence in astrology for using a predominance of cardinal meaning fast, a predominance of mutable meaning average, and a predominance of fixed being slow. Unfortunately, this table suggests that we will have to go further with our analysis.


Table One. US government shutdowns. All occur at midnight. Source: http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/a-brief-history-of-federal-government-shutdowns/. Note: source gave dates as midnight of the next day, while these have been converted to the notation as it would be put in an astrology computer program. For example, the source would give 30 September for a shutdown commencing at the midnight beginning 1 October, as in the current case



Date
Length in Days
Moon sign
Asc sign
Ruler Asc sign
Fortuna
PH Ruler sign
1 Oct 1976
10
Cap
Can
Cap
Ari
Sco
1 Oct 1977
12
Tau
Can
Tau
Sco
Leo
1 Nov 1977
8
Can
Leo
Sco
Sag
Sco
1 Dec 1977
8
Leo
Vir
Sag
Cap
Leo
1 Oct 1978
18
Vir
Can
Vir
Can
Lib
1 Oct 1979
11
Aqu
Can
Aqu
Pis
Aqu
21 Nov 1981
2
Vir
Vir
Sco
Sco
Lib
1 Oct 1982
1
Pis
Can
Pis
Aqu
Vir
18 Dec 1982
3
Cap
Vir
Cap
Leo
Sco
11 Nov 1983
3
Aqu
Leo
Sco
Gem
Sco
1 Oct 1984
2
Sag
Can
Sag
Ari
Sag
4 Oct 1984
1
Aqu
Can
Aqu
Pis
Cap
17 Oct 1986
1
Ari
Can
Aqu
Aqu
Sco
19 Dec 1987
1
Sag
Vir
Sag
Lib
Sag
6 Oct 1990
3
Tau
Can
Tau
Sag
Cap
14 Nov 1995
5
Sag
Vir
Sag
Leo
Sag
6 Dec 1996
21
Lib
Vir
Cap
Sco
Cap
1 Oct 2013
?
Leo
Can
Leo
Leo
Leo


There are several points to consider in examining these results in thinking about what factors could in fact produce a predictable result. First, we need to consider that, much like studying US electional cycles, the calendar period is constrained. Congress has rules whereby the annual budget is supposed to be passed by July 1st. Unfortunately, that often doesn't happen, resulting in continuing measures. Historically, the inability to reach agreement was met with more embarrassment than enthusiasm, and this event in 2013 seems to be only the second time in which there seemed to actually be relish in creating this crisis.

Because of this structure, it is typically only in the Autumn when such a shutdown can occur, with October 1st the earliest date. The time midnight is automatic. It should also be mentioned that shutdowns since 1980 have produced a more severe result than previously, so it's possible that the data from before 1980 may not work in the same fashion, where the length of the shutdown had a less severe impact on the government.

Over the next week or so, I hope to be able to present other facets of how we can create an astrology that productively examines these events.