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The Venus Max cycle which begins on March 27, 2012 is a sign that economic activity makes a substantial turn for the better then. This is a robin, not a spring, but itís far better than nothing at all. (The real and historic turnaround doesnít begin until 2020, as Iíve been writing for years.)
Like Mars, Venus spends a good part of 2012 in its close approach (Max) phase as well. Unlike Mars, which started its Max phase late in 2011 and carries over into 2012, this yearís Venus Max begins and ends in 2012. The nice thing about a Venus Max cycle is that it tends to coincide with improving economic conditions Ė all else being equal, of course.
Most people are at least nominally familiar with Mercuryís retrograde, but not much attention is given to the retrogrades of other planets. When one of the inner (inferior) planets (Mercury and Venus) in its faster orbit starts catching up on the slower orbiting Earth, the inner planet's apparent motion in our night sky begins to slow. The planet moves slower and slower until it comes to an apparent standstill in the heavens. This is the retrograde station, the point at which the planet appears to stop and then begin moving backwards (clockwise, or westward) through the sky. This period of reverse motion continues for some weeks (roughly three weeks for Mercury, about seven weeks for Venus), until the planet once more slows its nightly progress through the sky and again comes to an apparent standstill - the direct station, in this case. Normal (direct, i.e. counterclockwise i.e. eastward) motion then resumes, until the next Max cycle brings a new retrograde.
Now that you've got the picture Ė the above animation of a typical Venus Max cycle may help - one thing should be clear: during its Max cycle, when it passes between us and the Sun, an inferior planet is actually closer to Earth, making it brighter and more prominent in our sky (except for that portion of the cycle when itís so close to the solar disk that it gets lost in the glare). Thatís why Iíve christened it the planetís Maximum (Max) cycle. In the case of Venus, this tends to coincide with a period of relative ease and prosperity, all else being equal. All else has been far from equal under the aegis of the Great 2005-2006 T-Square and its subsequent configurations. Things havenít gone from bad to good, but the Venus Max has ushered in a series of "less bad" periods.
Thereís more to this than equity markets, of course. The "less bad" trends associated with the Venus Max cycles can be seen in many economic statistics as well; in increasing corporate profits, higher retail sales and consumer confidence, increased hiring and decreasing unemployment claims. Itís enough to lull us into believing what we all truly hope: that this whole "Great Recession" is behind us. Just remember that the 2012 Venus Max occurs in the context of a shift in civilizations. Itís a short term break in a long and lingering storm. Letís capitalize on it as best we can, and make hay while the sun shines! Other manifestations typical of the Venus Max cycle include a general increase in hedonism and sensuality, an outbreak of new fashion and fine arts (e.g. outstanding music and films) and a general sense of escape into the realms of beauty and pleasure.
My 2009 World Forecast Highlights described the January 14-June 5 Venus Max cycle of 2009 as "arguably the most positive part of the year, as far as financial markets and economic development go." Indeed, the Obama administrationís stimulus program got underway during this period, and the great market rally of 2009 got started on the very day Venusí retrograde began (March 6).
The 2010-2011 Venus Max arrived during a time when the first stimulus had pretty well run out, and the bills for financing it had started coming in faster and bigger every month. As I wrote in my 2010 World Forecast Highlights, "Probably this means that the fall-off in economic activity associated with this summerís Great T-Square will be moderated somewhat. Things get a little better, but they donít get really good just yet." US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke announced the Fedís QE2 (follow-up Quantitative Easing economic stimulus program) at a speech in Jackson Hole, Wyoming on August 27, 2010 Ė exactly one week after the start of the 2010-2011 Venus Max cycle. There was a marked improvement in US equity markets and economic activity that carried through into the start of 2011. It began with a triple-digit gain in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) the next trading day after the Jackson Hole conference, and continued upward and onward through the end of that Venus Max cycle in January 2011 (allowing for the customary profit-taking pull-backs etc.).
We all know what happened after that Venus Max ran out: the markets basically traded sideways through the end of the year, every substantial gain being negated by an off-setting loss, until the markets ended the year little changed from where they began. Thatís basically where I expect the markets and the economy to stay until the next Venus Max gets underway in March: flat, more or less. Thatís not to say that there wonít be up moves along the way (especially with Venus and Jupiter in tandem in the sky throughout March); come the end of the month and the return of Venus Max, a new uptrend begins Ė and heaven knows, we could use one.
While Mars Max comes around roughly once every couple years, these Venus Max phases happen once every year-and-a-half or so. It starts this year with Venus in its evening star apparition at maximum eastern elongation (greatest apparent distance east of the Sun) on March 27, intensifies at the retrograde station (May 15), peaks as Venus makes its inferior conjunction with the Sun (June 6), continues through the direct station (June 27), and finally draws to a close as Venus in its evening star phase reaches maximum elongation west of the Sun (August 15 this year). (An inferior conjunction is one in which an inner planet aligns with the Sun while on the same side of the Sun as our home planet.)
This yearís Venus Max is extraordinary, in that it features a Venus transit across the solar disk. This one is spectacular because the 2012 Venus-Sun inferior conjunction is so precisely aligned in all axes that we will literally be able to see the disk of the planet Venus crossing the face of the Sun for only the sixth time since the invention of the telescope. This kind of line-up is so rare that the next one wonít occur until the next century (with a pair on December 11, 2117 and December 8, 2125).
The last time Venus transited the Sun was on June 8, 2004; and before that, way back in 1882, on December 6 at 15 Sagittarius. This year's transit occurs at 18 Gemini. All Venus-Sun transits over the last 1900+ years have taken place either in Gemini or in Sagittarius, where the north and south nodes (respectively) of Venus are located during this epoch of history. The last transit in the preceding Taurus-Scorpio polarity occurred in the year 60 CE (Common Era, equivalent to AD), and the current Gemini-Sagittarius transits will continue for 1500 years or so.
These Venus solar transits, while part of the longer term Venus Max cycle, have a peculiar connection with solar turbulence, which can manifest in the form of a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) and subsequent geomagnetic storms here on Earth (in the form of auroras, for example). Because they pump Gigawatts of extra energy into the atmosphere, such solar disturbances have shown an historical association with major storms in Earthís atmosphere, as well. When combined with other geophysical stress factors, such as SuperMoons, eclipses, and even ordinary new and full moons, look for seismic disturbances such as moderate to severe earthquakes (magnitude 5+) and volcanic eruptions as well as atmospheric disturbances. . These solar phenomena are temporally diffused because of the Sunís 25-day rotation, so look for them not only on or about the actual date of the transit; but also several weeks before and after the Venus solar transit.
One of the Rarest Conjunctions Youíll Never See
Speaking of the Max cycles and Mercury and Venus, conjunctions of these two planets are not uncommon. They happen a few times in the average year. But 2012 is not an average year, in this respect. Thereís only one Mercury-Venus conjunction this year, and it happens during this yearís Venus Max phase; in fact, within only a few days from the rare Venus transit across the Sun. The reason these conjunctions are so seldom see is that Mercury is always so close to the Sun as seen from Earth (within 28į) that itís mostly lost in the glare of the solar disk in our sky. (Itís his generally lost in the glare phenomenon that makes Mercury the odds-on favorite for being the last of the classical naked eye planets to be discovered. Mercury being a rare enough site in its own right, its conjunction with Venus is more often than not lost in the glare and therefore remains invisible. (There are exceptions, of course Ė such as, for instance, when Mercury is at or near enough to its maximum elongation east or west of the Sun when the conjunction forms.
Look for increased solar and geomagnetic activity (including auroral displays) during any Mercury-Venus alignment, and particularly any with one or both planets retrograde (i.e. in their Max Cycle, putting them on the same side of the Sun as our home planet). This yearís alignment qualifies as one to watch, with Venus being retrograde and in its Max phase, and within days of its solar transit. On the geophysical level, this is very likely to be a harbinger of increased storm and seismic activity; particularly if reinforced by a new or full moon. Thatís exactly what happens in the case: Mercury and Venus are aligned within only a few days of the June 3 lunar perigee, and the June 4 SuperMoon lunar eclipse with the Moon at its maximum declination south of the celestial equator. Itís a combination which I fully expect to be the anchor point of one of the yearís most emphatic geocosmic stress windows Ė with all the powerful storms, extreme tidal surges and significant seismic activity (including magnitude 5+ earthquakes and volcanic eruptions). Definitely a good time to have y our emergency kit packed and ready to hand, just in case. And do be aware that these disturbances of the Earthís magnetic field, skies, crust and seas are just the ticket for breakdowns affecting communication and transportation systems and other infrastructure, which can have very wide implications at times like these Ė with effects reaching out into financial markets and the broader economy. These are times to stay alert and focused, to concentrate, to keep your eye on the ball Ė lest it smack you between the eyes.