NewsScope for September 5, 2006
Housing Market: Bubble or Soft-Landing?
The long-anticipated end of the housing market boom is now shaping up, as the number of unsold new homes has reached a ten-year high. Over the last five years, housing prices have soared at double-digit rates annually, but this year, prices have been flat. Economists are generally predicting a "soft-landing", while others see a bursting bubble leading into an economic recession or even crash.
Many astrologers predicted that Saturn's passage through Cancer, the sign of home and housing, would bring the real estate market to a screeching halt. Saturn's transit through Cancer ended over a year ago without the market missing a beat, though perhaps it did contribute to a lot of worry. One problem with this prediction was that Saturn in Cancer was not seriously challenged by any other outer planets.
Another problem was that the sign describes psychological traits or expressions, while the national horoscope's houses tell us exactly where events take place. Using the Scorpio Rising chart, transiting Neptune is currently in the Fourth House, the house associated with the domestic real estate market. Neptune here has fostered speculation and unreasonable growth, but now that transiting Saturn is opposing this Neptune, the reality factor kicks in.
A complicating dynamic is Pluto's transit through the U.S. Second House of money. Pluto is now turning direct and heading for the mysterious and powerful Galactic Center, which might easily translate into an economic disaster. Another factor is that the U.S. progressed Mars is turning retrograde, which signifies a withdrawal of energy and drive. We can see this clearly in America's involvement with Iraq, but it may also be associated with the real estate boom.
U.S. Progressed Mars Turns Retrograde
A sharp NewsScope reader noticed that last week's Top Five list did not include the Solar Eclipse of September 22. He added that the eclipse path starts near Venezuela, and may lead to a withholding of oil from the American market. That's a great observation, and perhaps this astro-event should replace item #4, the autumn equinox, which takes place a few hours later.
Another astro-event not included in the Top Five is the U.S. progressed Mars turning retrograde*. According to the Scorpio Rising U.S. horoscope, this station, which took place on September 1, marks the first time in U.S. history that progressed Mars appears to be heading backwards. Progressed Mars remains retrograde until May 9, 2086, and describes an 80-year phase of uncertainty regarding all Mars-related affairs.
Mars turning retrograde is not a Top Five event for the month because it's better described as one of the Top Five astro-events of the decade. Perhaps the most self-evident manifestation is Americans' distaste for the war in Iraq. Progressed Mars turning retrograde has a deteriorating effect on industrial manufacturing, notably the automakers, as well as the Pentagon and its network of contractors.
Another major progression currently in effect is progressed Venus trine the U.S. Midheaven. This long-term astro-event doesn't become exact until April 2007, but is already a recognizable political dynamic. Venus, as the natural ruler of women, is favorably connected to America's reputation and standing in the world (MC). This progression favors female politicians, and since progressed Venus is in Aries, one might reasonably speculate that Aries native Nancy Pelosi will become the first woman Speaker of the House.
Andre Agassi's Last Tournament
1997 was a bad year for tennis pro Andre Agassi. His high-profile tabloid-fodder marriage to actress Brooke Shields consumed his emotional energy, as his ranking sank to #141 by the end of the year. In 1998, he re-dedicated himself to the sport, and ever since then he's remained a top-seeded player. Even now, Agassi's old-man efforts at the U.S. Open get top billing.
Andre Agassi was born with an ambitious Sun-Saturn conjunction in persevering Taurus (April 29, 1970; Las Vegas, NV; time unknown). This combination gets smarter as it ages, and understands how to work against time's ravages through consistent training and discipline. Early in his career, Agassi was best known for his rebel image, but by the time of his Saturn Return in 1997-98, he knew he'd have to change or leave the game.
Agassi's Mars in versatile Gemini is strongly placed in his horoscope through a network of supporting aspects. The conjunction with Venus gives him the charm and sex appeal that Gemini Brooke Shields found so appealing. But in 1997, as transiting Pluto opposed his Venus-Mars, his marriage was floundering. By early 1998, as transiting Pluto opposed his Mars, he completely re-dedicated himself to physical training.
In June 2006, as transiting Pluto was squaring his natal Pluto and transiting Saturn was squaring his Sun, the winner of eight Grand Slam singles titles announced his retirement. His last tournament would be the U.S. Open, which is now playing out. Despite excruciating back pain, Agassi outlasted his opponent, eighth-seeded Marcos Baghdatis in a grueling, four-hour match. Medically fortified with cortisone shots, no doubt he was celestially fortified by transiting Mars conjunct his natal Pluto.
*An article on the implications of the U.S. Mars turning retrograde is available at www.neptunecafe.com. This 5400-word investigation was originally published in the September 2006 issue