The Saturn-Neptune opposition now forming will color the mood of we earthlings for the coming two years and it now appears from the downward slide of the dollar against other currencies impact the USA’s monetary system over the coming decade.
Saturn is the influence of construction and systems. Neptune’s influence tends to erode constructions and bring down systems that are no longer functional. Neptune is often symbolized as water and air, especially foggy or stormy air and the eroding effects of moving water.
When Saturn-Neptune oppositions form, it does not necessarily mean that any or every money system will suddenly be blown away and replaced, but if a money system has become dysfunctional and vulnerable, it will very likely be eroded under this opposition.
For example, during the Saturn-Neptune opposition of 1720, two speculative bubbles were dramatically pricked, the South Sea Bubble in London and John Law’s Mississippi Company bubble in Paris. Mercantile banks controlled the money of both countries. Much money had been invested in both companies and for a few years shares skyrocketed on rosy expectations. The South Sea Company was to deliver products and African slaves to the Americas; the Mississippi Company was to interest Frenchmen in colonizing the large landmass known as the Louisiana Territory, including what is now New Orleans. This territory comprised a large portion of the continental USA, having been purchased by the Jefferson Administration almost 100 years after the meltdowns of 1720. The money systems of both Britain and France were thrown into chaos. (1)
Records indicate that stocks in the Mississippi venture topped and turned down in March 1720, and the London venture followed in August.
On the accompanying biwheel comparing the recorded times of these bubble bursts, notice that Saturn is in water sign Scorpio opposite Neptune in earth sign Taurus. The Mississippi Company bubble scuttled the French money system in late March and the South Sea Company did much the same to English money in late August.
At the times of both crashes, Saturn formed a 120-degree trine aspect to Pluto in earth sign Virgo, adding to the transformative impact. Mars and/or the Moon often trigger such events as financial crashes. Mars was the trigger for the Mississippi crash and the Moon for the South Sea crash.
Saturn-Neptune oppositions are the “Full Moon” phase of their cycle, when these two planets have moved from conjunction to 180-degree opposition, so that Earth is between them. This cycle takes about 45 years from one opposition to the next. Looking back in American history, and without going into great detail, important turning points in the American monetary system have occurred during and following these previous Saturn-Neptune oppositions:
1971-1972: President Nixon took the dollar off the gold standard. This preceded a spike in the price of Neptune-ruled oil and long lines at gas pumps, creating what was then called “stagflation.” The price of gold also soared and the Federal Reserve, in an attempt to control inflation, jacked up interest rates, stagnating production. Some wealthy families lost more money, adjusted for inflation, during the comparatively flat stock market of this time than during the dramatic drop of the 1930s.
1936-1937: President Franklin Roosevelt temporarily delinked the dollar from gold and outlawed trading gold during the great depression of the 1930s, following the stock market crash of 1929-1930. The Dow eventually lost around 90 percent. Unemployment rose over 20 percent. Many people lost their life savings when banks failed, and many became homeless when they could not pay rents or mortgages.
1899-1900: The “Gilded Age” came to an end in a series of stock market crashes, leading to a series of reforms instituted during the presidency of Teddy Roosevelt. This led to the creation of the Federal Reserve by Congress in 1913, an attempt to bring monetary order out of chaos. This effectively handed control of the nation’s money system to a group of private bankers. By naming it the Federal Reserve, Congress fooled the American people into believing the government still controlled American money.
1862-1864: The Civil War years when the Federal Government, rather than borrow money from banks and pass the resulting compounding-interest debt on to taxpayers, made and distributed money in the form of “Greenbacks.” The Confederacy borrowed from banks and by the war’s end its currency had become worthless.
In each of those Saturn-Neptune-opposition instances, it was the money system that was impacted, as it had been in England and France in 1720. Neptune’s effects may erode other Saturnian structures of a nation’s life during this opposition, depending on which are vulnerable. Since money is the lifeblood of a society’s economy, when a monetary system is disrupted it impacts everyone in that society.
The upcoming Saturn-Neptune opposition will be within orb of effectiveness from the summer of 2006 through 2007. It will make three exact “hits,” beginning with August 31, 2006. This opposition will be roughly concurrent with a 76.6-year cycle, discovered centuries ago by Mayan astrologers, which last bottomed during the great depression of the 1930s. Add 76.6 years to 1932 and you get the summer of 2008, when a Saturn-Uranus opposition is due to form and we can expect more dramatic events to impact our money system.
How resilient is our monetary system? It’s widely understood by financiers and economists that our dollar-based system no longer does what any functioning monetary system must do: Spread prosperity throughout all sectors of society. Since the dollar is the currency of choice for international trade, much of the world is dependent on the US monetary system, and the disparity between Haves and Have-nots worldwide has never been greater.
A concurrent symptom of a dysfunctional system is a speculative bubble. This happens when a wealth disparity puts excess money into the hands of the rich, who are then prone to use that extra money to indulge in risky investments, using money to produce more money, instead of profiting from investments in goods and services.
Barnyard Animal Dollars
In ancient times, the form of money used was often domestic animals or grains. Cows produce calves and fields of grain yield seeds that can be used to plant more grain the following year. Thus arose the concept of interest charges. But our modern form of money is not organic, and thus cannot reproduce itself naturally like farm animals and grains.
Making more money from money is the basic definition of usury and for centuries usury was frowned upon, and in some societies outlawed. The reason for this is that money’s best use is as a medium of exchange, not as a means of producing more money. Making money on money has historically led to the kind of wealth imbalance that exists today, when a small minority is awash in an over-abundance while the vast majority struggles to get by.
Dr. Ravi Batra illustrates this growing wealth disparity in a graph (5) showing that the wealthiest 1 percent of American families owned 36 percent of the total national wealth by 1929, but following the great depression of the 1930s only 20 percent by 1949. During the 1970s, this disparity again began to grow so that by 1995 the wealthiest 1 percent owned over 40 percent of the national wealth.
Edward Wolff of New York University puts it this way: “Since (the mid-1970s) things have really turned around and the level of wealth inequality today is almost double what it was in the mid-1970s…The top 5 percent owns more than half of all wealth.” (6)
Monetary systems are complex and controversial. First, there is the question of who controls the making and distribution of money. Second, there is the question of what is to be used as money—commodities such as gold and silver, or whatever civil law prescribes, including paper IOUs and/or currencies such as the dollar.
Private mercantile interests and civil authorities have been vying with each other over control of money since ancient times. Banks are believed to have originated in 3000 BC in Babylonia, now Iraq. In ancient Egypt, priests were the civil authorities and controlled grain stores and credits, the form money took then. As a farmer in ancient Egypt, you would bring your harvest to a storehouse run by your local priest, who would then advance you credit based on how much grain you brought in. You would then use that credit in the local market to buy what you needed from sellers who would collect from the local priest.
Depositing your paycheck (harvest) in your local bank is not so different from that ancient system, and modern bankers often project priestly personas. No matter what our religious differences, we all have rock-hard faith in money. What is different today is our form of money. It is light-years more versatile, but being inorganic, it’s also vulnerable to being sabotaged by usury.
It is the form of usury we’ve developed that makes our monetary system like rotten fruit ready to be blown down by the coming Saturn-Neptune opposition.
We moderns, with our paper money, credit cards and computer transfers of digitized money, tend to mistake money for the things money buys. Money is a means of exchanging things of value. The paper dollars you have in your pocket are of no real value themselves, but with enough paper dollars you can buy things of real value. And that holds true for your bank account, stocks and bonds, credit cards and PayPal account—all controlled by mercantile interests.
Aristotle was among the first to be adamant about keeping money under the control of civil authorities rather than mercantile interests. (1) Ben Franklin was another.
It’s often said that gold is the most universal and enduring form of money. For the past five or six centuries, gold was the basis of paper currencies or credits. During the 20th Century, the dollar arose (especially after World War II) as the form of currency preferred for international trade. International trade as we know it today has its roots in the centuries following the “discovery” of America, when tons of gold and silver were shipped back to Europe. Back then, banks stored gold to back up the currencies they loaned and circulated. You could exchange your paper money for gold at any time, as long as too many others didn’t try to do this at the same time.
Unlike paper money, gold has “intrinsic” value. It’s valuable in and of itself. It’s sometimes called “commodity money” while paper currency is called “fiat money,” proclaimed money by government decree. Gold can be traded as a thing of value itself or used as a means of exchange.
But gold, being rare and bulky, inhibits ordinary buying and selling, as well as venture capital. For most capital investments today, you’d need truckloads of it. On the other hand, currency based on gold is less prone to usury, making money multiply like farm animals. Today it’s said that most of the Fortune 500 companies make more money from trading currencies than from producing goods and services. Computer-stored digitized money is used for these trades. This rampant reproduction of dollars would not be possible if our money was still based on the gold standard.
Also, when modern bankers make loans, they create new money out of thin air. They do not hand over a briefcase full of dollars, they credit the borrower’s account with the numerical amount of the loan. The lender then writes checks which are converted to currency, putting new dollars into circulation.. This form of money reproduction and/or new currency creation would not be possible either, if our money was still based on gold.
Our American fiat-currency system was originally wonderful, spreading new wealth far and wide. Eventually, however, usury became the holy grail of the modern economy because, without the gold standard, digitized dollars can reproduce faster than rabbits.
One consequence of this is that the prices of things became delinked from the true value of those things. A house costs the same amount of gold today, on average, as it did five or six centuries ago. But the paper dollar price of a house may balloon from $75,000 to over $1 million in a decade or less. Although its gold value remains relatively constant, its dollar price fluctuates wildly.
It is believed by some financiers and economists that we will eventually have to return to the gold standard. But given the amount of currency needed by the world economy today, this hardly seems possible. Which nation’s central bank would become the depository for the gold upon which all world currencies would be based? Given the numbers, currencies would wind up being theoretically exchangeable for tiny whiffs of gold dust.
Other economists believe paper currency will work fine if governments and/or central banks will regulate it more intelligently to benefit all. But given our modern religious-like faith in the goodness of personal profits—indeed, the Holy Godliness of personal profits-—where in our world can such idealists be found?
Politicians or Bankers?
Most modern politicians are focused on acquiring money for their next political campaigns and know little and could care less about the overall functioning of money as the glue holding society together. As for bankers, their mission is to increase money profits, even at the expense of society and the ecosystem.
Basing modern money on gold, as in the past, is no longer practical because of the sheer volume of dollars, euros, rubles and hundreds of other currencies needed by today’s world economy.
Among many other things, Neptune has to do with illusions, delusions and falsehoods. Which brings us to the single worst vulnerability our present monetary system has. Economist John Williams (4) has expressed it this way:
If you believe the government, annual inflation is running less than 3.5%, unemployment is less than 5%, annual GDP growth is about 3.5%, and the 2005 federal deficit was $318 billion.
In reality, however, annual inflation is over 8%, unemployment is around 12%, and annual GDP growth is flat. Not only does common experience support the latter set of numbers, but also taking a close look at how government economic reporting has been manipulated over time. What will surprise many, though, is that the annual 2005 federal deficit was $3.5 trillion (not billion). That extraordinary number is as reported by the U.S. Treasury, using generally accepted accounting principles.
Williams’ truth seeking is a prime example of what we can expect much more of as the coming Saturn-Neptune opposition takes hold. Saturn does not take anything for granted, and neither do international traders. The following is from voltairenet.org:
Oil traders are increasingly reluctant to entrust investment funds with their money. They know that international accounting standards have been modified in such a manner that nowadays, both national states and multinational corporations have assets they do not own entered in their balance-sheets. The shares they hold are being posted in their accounting, not at the purchase price, but at the actual stock quotation. While this is of no consequence at times when markets are on the rise, it will prove fatal in the case of a stock market crash. From one day to the next, central banks and major corporations could find themselves completely ruined.
One might remember that the US were not able to finance the war effort in Vietnam for very long. Mired in a conflict without end, they resolved to let their allies bear the brunt of the situation and, in 1971, they stopped guaranteeing their currency’s gold convertibility. From then on, its value has only been resting on the confidence placed in it.
Presently, the USA is bogged down in Iraq and is incapable of financing its military occupation there. The only way it can pay its suppliers is to keep the printing press running. The announcement, late in March 2006, that the publication of the M-3 indicator would be suspended, together with all the sub-indicators which could have made feasible its reconstruction by aggregates, means that the actual volume of dollars in circulation has become a secret that cannot be divulged. It is no longer possible to precisely evaluate the currency’s real value.
Our existing monetary system is so dysfunctional it’s now in a subtle kind of meltdown phase. The Saturn-Neptune opposition will demand it be revised, redesigned, replaced. If this can be accomplished soon enough, we will avoid the worst.
But there is scant reason for optimism. Our form of democracy has become, “We elect ‘em but the big money owns and operates ‘em,” so we can expect no help from Congress as it’s presently constituted. We have become a nation indoctrinated with, “Get rich or die,” forgetting that even the wealthiest billionaire ends as dust, the same as everyone else.
Personally, I think it would be a good idea to take a look at the pre-Columbus Native American concept of Planet Earth as humanity’s richest source of capital, the true basis of any form of money and any society’s economy. For university-educated economists whose ancestors viewed exploiting the environment as right and proper, and Indians as “primitive, ignorant, heathen savages,” this new perspective may be very difficult to obtain. But with the mounting effects of global warming waiting in the wings (as exemplified by Hurricane Katrina), dealing with Mother Nature as our universal central banker may become necessary.
Meanwhile, we can expect our monetary authorities to deal with the impending money crisis the only way they know how: By printing more and more money, thus devaluing our currency, causing inflation, so that old debts can be repaid with cheaper dollars. This tactic may appear to be working until the fourth quarter of 2008 when Saturn makes the first of four exact oppositions to Uranus, and many may have the sensation of being slingshot into the future.
- The Lost Science of Money by Stephen Zarlenga, American Monetary Institute, 2004.
- A Comparative Chronology of Money by Glyn Davies, University of Wales Press, 1996.
- “Currency: What Is Its Future?” by Georgia Stathis, lecture delivered at the 15th World Conference of Astro Economics, Myrtle Beach, SC, April 8-9, 2006.
- Manipulating the Masses by John Williams
- The Great American Deception by Ravi Batra, John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 1996, page 171.
- Interview with Edward Wolff of New York University