MONETARY METAPHYSICS, FEBRUARY 2009
by Boots Hart
Because the US Federal Reserve is nation’s functional financial hub and a central player in international finance, understanding its situation in the current recession seems not just apt, but vitally important.
With a worldly (3rd decanate) degree of slow-growth Capricorn rising and Jupiter positioned immediately behind that Ascendant, the Federal Reserve was created to act as a stabilizing force, regulating the outgoing functions of business and commerce. Third decan degrees are always about being active, putting your choices (products, efforts, opinions) out into the world, garnering success only in response to what you do. Thus the Fed is never going to be an institution about "sure fire" choices—everything the Fed does has to be tested. Some things will work, some won’t. Some will work in one era (which we would see through other planets moving through the houses of the Fed’s chart) and some won’t work in certain eras. That’s just what the Fed is—we can’t change that. Obama can’t, Bush couldn’t—and it doesn’t matter who’s in charge at the Fed; that’s just what the Federal Reserve is as an institution.
The Ascendant’s ruling Saturn is positioned in a Gemini 5th house. It needs to be focused and well considered in its structures, lest it spread its efforts too thin or act with too much haste. In square to an emotional Chiron in the 2nd house of this chart, the Fed is at its worst when it’s responding to national crisis and pain. If we were able to get an honest and insightful opinion from anyone on the institution as a whole, they’d probably tell us that the Fed has a job to look and act secure but isn’t as sure on the inside as it's required to appear on the outside.
With the Mercury which rules this Gemini house (and thus the Saturn) in Sagittarius and the 11th house, there is always a danger the Fed will overstate, overestimate and overplay its hand. Conversely, it’s made to withstand a lot of public (and media) clamor—this isn’t an institution prone to knee-jerk reaction. Its job —as the Fed sees it—is imaged by Mercury, Venus and Pallas all in this Sagittarian 11th, which, in pointing us to expansive Jupiter in controlled Capricorn at the Ascendant tell us the Fed is there to grow commerce, grow the income of the common citizen and to do that which will in the long term allow all to continue growing.
Given this connection among the 11th house of the marketplace and society, theory-loving Jupiter, and commerce/achievement-oriented Capricorn, it’s also to be assumed that big business will always have the ear of the Fed and that the Fed finds it easier to gauge what’s going on by looking at business than by seeing the state of the everyday citizen. To the Fed, people are a function of business, and though that isn’t likely to make anyone happy, again —that’s what the Fed is. Commerce itself is a system, with money like a river flowing in this system. The people drink from this monetary river—they’re end-users, drawing buckets of water from side tributaries, fishing in the river, drawing off a bit here and there through taps and hoses and buckets. But it’s commerce and trade and financial instruments and interest rates and national/international trade barriers (or lacks thereof) which are the pumps and locks along this river.
All of which brings us to a short discussion of Scorpio and the 8th house. Scorpio (and the 8th) are the zodiacal signature of interactive money. Aquarius and the 11th are the marketplace—retail and income. But Scorpio is where business deals are made. Scorpio rules the activities of banks (loans, mortgages, money supply, debt/credit). Like Aquarius, Scorpio is a fixed sign—money is sometimes a sticky issue (how easy is it to get a home loan?). Scorpio requires great honesty not only on an interactive basis (which with banking would be the fine print and transparency), but it’s also about making sure all parties are well and properly matched. For things Scorpionic to work well, there can’t be an imbalance of power. This points directly to the home loan debacle: people who didn’t have the money or income flow to be buying homes were being given loans. And do we think that this just hurts the buyer when they can’t keep the house? Think again—the banks and brokerages are also failing because buyers can’t afford those loans.
When out of balance, Scorpio becomes an instrument of master/slave dynamics, and when financial people speak of "financial dominos having fallen" (this default leading to that default and on down the line), this is a sure sign that the Scorpionic balance has gotten so far out of whack as to bring the entire structure down.
Scorpio is at the MC (Midheaven) of this chart, the highest point in the horoscope. Equality and balance in all things monetary is thus what the Fed reaches for. But we should all be aware—this is what the institution reaches for, not what it is built on. The bottom of the chart is in Taurus, which would be ruled by that Venus in 11 leading back to the Jupiter at the Capricorn Ascendant. Whatever is at the base of any chart functions as the "foundation" of the person or nation or in this case, financial institution. So while the Fed can hold ideals of financial equanimity very high, its real job, the thing its existence is founded on and upon which all depends, is that Taurus IC. So the Fed has to always fall back on the retail sector. On commerce. On keeping things moving.
Another way to see the Midheaven is as the chart’s most worldly point—what the world sees. In the case of an institution like the Fed, it would also be the image of situations in the world to which the Fed must respond. Okay, so back to Scorpio, a sign of water. Fixed water. Fixed water is…what? Ice. And when the economy heats up too much, what does the Fed do? It takes steps to cool the economy. And when the economy freezes solid, the Fed has to react to that too.
One of the curious images assigned to Scorpio is that of a swamp. No, don’t hold your nose…what we’re talking about here is the swamp as a environment which allows things to grow, or chokes off growth. Swamps are actually both ends of this stick—they can be one of the most incredibly fertile environments known on earth, or rancidly stagnant. What determines this? Whether water is moving freely through the swamp, an image which takes us back to the idea of money as a river. When we hear that credit is "frozen," the idea is that no one has enough confidence in anyone else to spend or lend or employ or anything else. It’s not that money doesn’t exist; it’s that everybody has gone into protective "me first" mode. From banks taking bailouts which are then used to buy other banks or given to high-ranking employees and CEO’s who just want to protect themselves—this is all about fear. And fear is the negative hallmark of Scorpio.
And that’s maybe the biggest bugaboo of the Federal Reserve chart: a 9 degree Scorpio Moon in the 9th house. Any planet in the 9th house of any chart is something we "trip over" on our way to the top (our goals or aspirations). Being in the 1st decanate, this 9 Scorpio is about doing. So the Fed’s problem is to do neither too much nor too little: it doesn’t want to drown the financial environment (which I think we could all agree is a bit of a swamp!) and wash growing young things away. But it also doesn’t want to starve the swamp, because when not enough financial fresh water flows, things die for want of oxygen. All gets devoured. It’s a terribly apt picture.
But part of this is the people, a factor the Fed doesn’t control. In any kind of national or corporate chart, the Moon is not only an image of money and functionality, but of people. And in this case, we have a people who have maybe gotten too greedy. Who have allowed their own Scorpionic house to get out of balance. Who have not been honest enough with themselves about their earning/debt ratios. Who have gotten into a"‘me first" mode. And who are now scared.
Is it the Fed’s job to alleviate this fear? That can be read through the rulers of Scorpio: Mars and Pluto. The Mars is at 19 Cancer and the 6th house of this chart, saying plainly that the Fed does not consider its job to deal with the people directly. (Like we said—this is a commerce-oriented institution.) The Pluto is at 0 Cancer, within scarce minutes of being atop the 6th house cusp, making the Fed an all-work, crisis-oriented institution, which like an ER doctor only meets up with the actual patient (the people) when they’re gasping for air.
With a Cancer Neptune in the 7th house, the people are never going to really know what the Federal reserve is up to. And that Cancer Mars in the 6th house is an interesting touch which tells us that employees of the Fed don’t like talking to the press, yet have a hard time not talking to the press. Like members of the military (the 6th rules military service), they know to act on orders and to keep their mouths shut, lest they be fired and/or fined and/or brought up on charges—a feature the Scorpio Moon in the 9th house of law ruling this 6th house plainly says is possible.
Perhaps more important, however, is how the tie between this Cancerian 6th house and the Mars/Pluto and Scorpio Moon in 9 speaks eloquently to foreign debt, loans and the power of foreign regimes. Ever since Pluto rolled over the (Moon, then) MC of the Fed’s chart in 1989/1990, it’s become richly evident that the Fed is a player in the arenas of world commerce and world peace: actions and choices which have allowed global markets to become so vitally enmeshed are nothing less than a monetary campaign being executed by military generals.
To what end? Well, look at it like this: the interlocking of nations through loans, debt and trade is one of the only mechanisms by which human nature can be made to curb its craving for raw power. That’s who we are as a race. Not pretty, but very human. In other words, if someone owes you a lot of money, you have a vested interest in their survival, as dead countries repay no loans and don’t buy exported goods. Seen through this lens, the loans, debt and trade situations the US has with foreign powers like China, Saudi Arabia (and others) is curiously suggestive, even highly illuminating.
That when US financial markets began to crumble so did everybody else’s proves that this network of monetary indebtedness has indeed done its job; so long as humans tend to measure everything in money and obligation (which shows little signs of changing any time soon) apparently the lesson that we are truly all on this planet together becomes the ultimate rule—an oddly inverted golden rule. As a sign of the world moving into the Age of Aquarius, the sheer rule of power (the Piscean Age’s "conquer and rule" quotient) is becoming more equal in a sort of supply-and-demand format, which is true to the 11th house/Aquarian concept: you can be the most powerful company in the world, but if nobody wants what you’re selling, or if you price your goods too high, you ruin your own power base. It’s a thought we all should take to heart.
If we look at the 2007/2008 Solar Return for the Federal Reserve, we see Jupiter exactly conjunct the Sun in the fearful, often secretive/denial-prone (if ultimately connective) 12th house. That this occurred in December of 2007 when the current US recession is now said to have begun is telling. The Ascendant of this return occurs in worldly degrees of Scorpio (the natal house of the public goals) with a Scorpio Venus indicating overload of debt, fiscal imbalance and greed of high magnitude. With a Juno at 4 Sagittarius (2 degrees beyond the natal chart’s Part of Fortune), we get a message that two months prior and two years prior to this return the Fed could have stood up and owned up to problems, meting out tough love to all those who needed to hear the ‘bad’ news that the party was over.
But they didn’t. Any why didn’t the Fed say anything? Through connecting the Fed’s chart with that of the US itself and the administration then in power, we can find clues. In years to come when records are released, it’s likely that US citizens will learn that the Federal Reserve did see trouble on the horizon but that as advisors to the Executive Branch of the government they were in some sort of a bind. The secretive organization had to keep secrets it probably didn’t totally endorse. This is the two-way bind of Scorpio on the MC and the Scorpio Moon: sometimes the Fed can’t talk to the people; sometimes it just doesn’t want to.
Was the Fed actually told to keep quiet? We may yet find out, but probably not until the Fed enters solar year 2011/2012.
Perhaps more to the short-term point is the idea that the Fed chart’s expansive, judicious and forward-looking "nation builder" Capricorn Jupiter has had a return as of December 5, 2008. And this chart shows an emphasis on moving away from private real estate holdings (especially with regards to very large loans and non-primary dwellings), with support being given to infrastructure. This is not a "business as usual" chart. Although the Fed itself is generally not an institution which earns either love or hatred, there is every chance that it will be allowed (intentionally) to become more personified in the lives of everyday people during coming years so the Fed can take the role of "bad cop" against the Obama administration’s efforts to earn and hold the good will of the people during the critical restructurings which lie ahead.
Through this chart, the Federal Reserve is seen to set a working standard. When we consider that a Jupiter cycle is 11.86 years in length, this tends to support indications in President Obama’s inauguration chart that it will basically take the United States 12 years to fully emerge from the situation it finds itself in now.
During this time we can expect the Fed to act in a very methodical manner, the pace of which the citizenry of the US (and elsewhere) is not likely to like very much. Media will likely make a big deal out of what happens in the housing market and with regards to food prices, trumpeting the cause of the everyday person, earning ratings and keeping people involved. The Fed will be well aware that many of these media tirades are part of a greater dance. So while the media keeps people involved, the Fed will be engaged in working with our government and very likely those of other nations with regards to directing money and investments towards energy, communications, agriculture and health on a world-wide basis. As part of its "bad cop" routine the Fed will support a return to modest lifestyles with functionality (aka survival) replacing affluence (consumerism)—an idea which will initially unsettle Yuppies, Gen X’ers and Pluto-in-Scorpio people who as yet have no training in, nor experience of, moderation as a plus.
All of this is brought to the Fed’s 2008/2009 return chart, a chart which, with a Scorpio Moon in the 8th house, shows continuing difficulties in credit markets. Neptune immediately behind the 23 Aquarius rising suggests an inability to prevent continuing liquidation of assets and downgrading of asset values. Yet important to note is the lack of any particular indication that the banking system itself will actually collapse, though the media is likely to natter about same and stir fears, both to earn commercial ratings and in order to do their part in keeping people focused on changes they need to make on an individual basis.
There is likely to be some active support from the Fed in reorganization of mortgage debt, but those concerned with health care (or the cost thereof) should not look to the Fed for any substantial commentary on this subject. Beginning in fall/winter 2008-2009, requirements that people demonstrate forward-looking income viability are going to become more and more the standard in loan applications. This will bring protests from some quadrants (restraint of trade, shutting out of lower income ranks, government interfering with free enterprise), but the Fed is not concerned with politics, per se. The fact that the Fed is a sort of "silent parental authority" in charge of regulation and discipline (another version of Cancer on the 6th ruled by the Scorpio Moon in 9) means the Fed’s actions will, for a time, curtail re-expansion in employment but ultimately support a healthy business environment, marking the Fed as an entity truly married to an administration which must relate to the people’s feelings in order to get them through hard times.
Bottom line: while wearing a bit of a public "black hat," during 2009 we can expect the Fed to return to a more regulatory attitude, banking (in every sense of the word) on proven results instead of postulations of profit or success. Once Saturn moves into Libra in the latter part of 2009 the Fed will adopt a more proactive secondary mode of "take and give" operation which it will carry into 2010, the astrological discussion of which this metaphysician will take up then.
Boots Hart is an ISAR-certified astrologer with over 25 years experience. She is a featured columnist for New York Spirit Magazine, long-time contributor to Zodiac Arts and author of a humanistic science-fantasy book series being brought to publication and film production. Boots can be reached at Mentorus@gmail.com for questions or astrological services.