Thursday, 12 March 2009

Facing the financial winter...

Astrologer Maggie Hyde in conjunction with potter/astrologer Jack Kenny who has been following the financial markets for years, gave a fascinating yet terrifying talk last night at The Company of Astrologers in Hampstead.
I came in to the packed room just as Jack Kenny was talking about the 9.5 trillion dollar bailout that the US has given to the banks. He was trying to give some kind of indication of just how bad things are...I took notes and Tweeted the talk. 
"The dollar is up but everything else is suffering. Confidence in money is beginning to slip. A European holiday is 40% more expensive this year than last. The government is spending more, trying to reflate the economy but with unreasonable credit.
"The kroner is massively devalued. The news has been bad for 18 months now. The September to December period last year will be known in 100 years as the 'panic of '08'. The last banking crisis on this scale was not 1929 but 1907...
Counter-trend rallies are very violent. Everyone buying stocks and houses...
House prices have dropped 25% in the U.S. They will bottom out at 75% of their peak value. Start to recover in 2020.
Stock prices will drop to 90% of former value, some have already dropped that far.
Unemployment will peak at 30% by 2017. It will shoot up dramatically. But the stock market will start to rise in 2012.
Western government bail outs...governments are merely taxpayers so they are merely bankrupting us. 
No mature economy can devalue it's currency to become wealthy.
A normal recession...things a bit out of balance...a stimulus package can bolster. This is not a recession. This is a generational positive clearing out. 
Any government reaction to the contrary will delay the problem.
We owe 30 times the world GDP.
This nonsense of Brown going to see Obama and saying together we will solve the world's problems...Brown knows the truth. He's just delaying [the melt-down] which will make matters worse.
Quantitative easing is the only option...printing money. Inflation will hit 20 to 25%."
Someone in the audience asks:"Will we be buying bread with wheelbarrows?"
Jack smiles: "No."
Maggie Hyde takes over to show a few charts on the overhead projector. The charts she is working with include:
"Looking at the 1066 chart, it's the Saturn return for the UK. A Jupiter/Saturn opposition is coming up. The UK is very Capricornian, with the Sun in Capricorn trine a Saturn/Jupiter conjunction.
The problems last autumn, there was no major signature in the charts. "
Jack interjects:"The British banking system was within 3 hours of total collapse. 100 billion dollars of foreign currency was being withdrawn from the UK. They were trying to slow down this exit. Lord Myners admitted this. (1)There were no funds."
Maggie:"On the 14th of October we had the first of our Saturn returns, the second and third hits will be in March this week and in July.
"This year Jupiter/Neptune conjunction in Aquarius. Well, that's got to be inflation, hyper-inflation. Jupiter equals bizarre fantastic growth. These conjunctions will occur on the 27th of May, July and December this year.
"The Saturn/Uranus opposition will happen five times. The first was on Obama's election.
The Jupiter/Saturn opposition will happen three times starting May 23rd 2010 (this time in Virgo and Pisces). This combines with the Moon at 29º Pisces square Uranus at 28º of Sagittarius.
In mundane charts (political charts) the Moon represents the common people. You can only interpret these aspects as restlessness amongst the people.
But by August Saturnian principles (square Pluto on the Midheaven) will gain the upper hand (Saturn exalted in Libra, Jupiter in Aries weaker). "
Someone speaks from the audience:"Does this mean we will see revolt in Spring and government clampdown in the summer?"
Murmurs around the room. I think about Capricorn and authority. I think about Tiananmen square. I also think about when I travelled in South America 1989-90. Being in an Argentinian supermarket and hearing the announcement "from now on all our prices are double" as people rushed to the tills. Seeing shops crowded in Brazil on the 23rd of each month because that was when people got paid. If you waited any longer, your wages became worthless and you could not buy food. During this trip, I only ever changed $20 at a time. No point changing more, it was worth half the next day.
Maggie continues:"The events of the next three years are tied in with the Jupiter/Saturn cycle. But there is hope in 2010, a progressed Sun trine Jupiter in the US chart and Obama's chart.
For Obama's 'first' inauguration the Jupiter return is cazimi. Obama may be able to pull off some Jupiterian trick for the USA. Not the case for the UK though. Brown is the wrong leader for these times, he has no earth in his chart and a stellium in Pisces and Uranus will be on his Venus in April. You need a Leo leader which is what Obama is."
Jack takes over with the financial hard stuff: "Money is harder to get hold of the UK. The pound is collapsing. The dollar is rising so in the US you have deflation. 
"Toyota cut salaries today. You can't have inflation if you have no money to spend. But the deflation phase will finish this year. 
Food prices are up in supermarkets. Anything that requires credit will lose value.
Hyper-inflation is self-feeding. When normal inflation goes above 25% it spirals.
As governments behave irresponsibly our currency becomes worthless. Commodities such as food, paintings, gold become worthwhile.
All Western currencies will lose value. 
Inflation, as interest rates rise, there will be problems selling government bonds. Quantitative easing won't work and will lead to severe destruction in the stock and housing markets.
In 2012 Pluto will conjunct the UK Sun."
"What about the Olympics?" I ask.
Jack nods: "Yes exactly. The Olympics will require money."
He continues:"The banks will be fully nationalised. Then when interest rates are high enough people will start saving, they will spend again. China is bailing out its economy from savings. "We are bailing out ours on credit.
"Taxes will go up. A quick way to raise taxes is on housing. You can't run away from houses. Pensions will be severely affected."
"Already have" retorts one older woman in the audience.
Jack: "Bank controls will come in."
"What's that?" asks an astrologer.
"The banks will limit access to your own money. They are already doing this in Eastern Europe. Banks will say 'you can have £100 or £200 a day'."
An audience member:"I remember in the 70s when you went abroad you were only allowed to take £30". I remember this too.
"We will see more scams, Madoff type scams and draconian government measures to combat them which will limit freedoms. Pakistan has an on-going civil war, is a nuclear country and I think Russia will have to invade.
There will be protectionism. Brown is saying there won't be so we know they are thinking about it. And a new concept 'commodity chauvinism'..."
Baffled looks all around...
"That is when countries who have resources, who have stuff to sell, will refuse to. The UK only has banking and insurance service to sell. We are running out of oil.
"There is a story about a Roman legion who with an ounce of gold could buy a new suit of clothes. An ounce of gold is now worth approximately £ other words a new suit of clothes.
"Buying gold is not easy. It works on price rise and is priced in dollars. An ounce last August sold for £450. Today it's £660 but with commission it is £718. If you had bought gold last August your money stayed safe."
"So are you suggesting we keep lumps of gold in the house?" I ask.
Maggie:"Well I bought gold and yes they post it to you in a jiffy bag. Where to keep it is another problem"
Another lady complains: "Diamonds have devalued. And gold can go down."
Jack:"In 1999, 2000 Gordon Brown sold all our gold at a knock-down price." 
Sighs of dismay in the room. My father sent me an email saying "New Labour sold our gold at about $265 an ounce".
Jack:"This year then, rallying markets, dollar down, inflation, silver will beat gold. Here is my advice for the future:
  • keep your job. Stick with your dreadful boss. Remember if you change, last in, first out.
  • get out of debt.
  • if you are in debt, tie into a fixed rate. Don't worry if it looks like a bad deal at the moment, interest rates will go up.
  • limit cash in banks
  • have cash and food stored if there is a hiccup in the system
  • look to building local networks
  • put 10% of your assets into gold and silver
  • invest in gun stocks
  • invest in agricultural farming products (ETF's), fertilizers, pesticides, organic farming
  • invest in alternative energy
  • invest in conservation
  • invest in Uranium. I know I said that last year and it has gone down but I still believe it. It will be needed for nuclear power plants which are being built everywhere.
  • invest in commodities; metals, (copper), oil, anything real. China bought 18% of Rio Tinto zinc.
  • don't invest in insurance companies or banks
  • don't be complacent. It won't be alright. Rallying won't last, the debt structure is still there. There may be a feel good this year (Jupiter/Neptune) but next year...all government actions are screaming something's wrong. Stock markets are down 50% since 2007.
  • look to what has real value for you personally.
  • Counties I predict will do well are 1)Norway 2) Canada 3) Australia. Why? Because they are resource rich.
Buying silver is difficult in the UK because it's VAT rated. 
Paul Volker and Warren Buffet think life is terrible. They know."

At the end of this talk people sat slumped, seemingly stunned in their chairs. I tried to talk to Jack Kenny afterwards but was interrupted by a woman who demanded to know what I had been doing with my iPhone. When I explained I had live tweeted the talk, she became agitated, suspicious.
"Why are you telling these people this? Do you know them? You are telling everyone our secrets. You are a spy."
"Well this is part of my community" I tell her "I feel I should spread the word."
Finally I lose patience with her and tell her to back off
"You are not being very Aquarian about this" I say.
In the pub afterwards I sit with my astro mates.
One says "What I don't understand is if this guy is a financial wizard then how come he is not wearing a Saville row suit?"
"So you think he is being a bit of a doom merchant?" I ask.
People don't want to believe him. Many astrologers are quite spiritual, and prefer to think positive. I'm not so sure. All I know is I have had more reactions from Twitter than ever before although some say:
"You've really depressed me."
Others said "I'm off to buy gun stocks and Uranium."
One said "I heard from a government source that the UK will be locked in 2010. Nobody in, nobody out."
How does that Chinese curse go?
 "May you live in interesting times".

(1) See also this bloggers view.


  1. God, he's so right. I need to tie into a fixed rate mortgage NOW. I was irritated when I went to the bank and found a fixed rate would be significantly higher than my current (standard variable) rate, but it's good financial sense with or without astrology to see the bigger picture (though the mortgage adviser suggested I stick with my low rate for now...).

    If I had any assets I would be buying gold ;-)

  2. Blistering head is under the pillow, I don't want to read or hear about this...

  3. Locked in in 2010 - Fuck that, I'm off.

  4. Those recession survival guidelines make pretty good sense, except this one: "Keep your job. Stick with your dreadful boss. Remember if you change, last in, first out." As difficult as it could be to find a new job or be in one as a new-starter, my dignity is more important to me than my financial situation. I'd hate to see fear of financial ruin make people bite their tongues and put up with worse treatment at work. Some unscrupulous employers could see this as an opportunity to exploit their staff, and even bully them! Desperate people won't answer back.

    Funnily enough I managed to get out of debt a few months ago when a windfall allowed me to pay off my overdraft. Then a few days later something strange happened: I was just paying in a cheque, like I do all the time, and the cashier referred me to the advisor's office where a smartly-dressed woman asked me if I wanted a loan. This is the first time I've ever been asked that, at least while I'm at the cash desk with a queue behind me! It got me thinking. My windfall may have may have "marked my card", so to speak. I must be one of the few people in Oxford who is currently not in debt! So the bank wanted me back in debt as soon as possible!

    I'm a bit concerned that the worst of the financial meltdown may become something of a self-fulfilling prophesy. BMW, the compnay that curently owns Oxford's traditional Morris' Cowley car factory recently made 850 staff redundant. Because the staff worked for agencies the company just had to tell them to go, no notice, no golden handshake, nothing! (I, along with my trade union, did a protest down at the gates. Hopefully it will do some good.) The compnay justified its actions by saying it was because of the recession. The thing is, the recession has not struck BMW yet, in fact they've made record profits and the famous new Mini, which they're producing solely at Cowley, is selling like hotcakes; they're making 14 an hour! There's a new convertible model coming out soon too. So the company made those redundancies, not because of current economic problems but because of those forecast. This lack of "consumer confidence" can result in its own recession.

    I wonder if the authorities are using fear of financial ruin, before it even happens, as a weapon to undermine our feelings of security (if we had any left after terrorism and global warming etc!). When we're in a state of fear and dread it makes the government very powerful because we look to them to deliver us and protect us from what we fear.

  5. It's quite shocking isn't it. I never use my credit card, but the first time I did I paid off the full balance at the first statement, and immediately they (without asking me) raised my credit limit from £500 to £1000. The next time I did it they sent me (unsolicited) a gold card with an even higher limit. I recently did it again to buy my new bicycle, and as usual they're writing to me offering me all sorts of things to try to get into more debt.

    They can't stand it when you seem like you're in their net and then you swim away to freedom. You are only valuable to them if you're in debt, basically.

    They try to make it sound like they are doing you a favour or letting you have something beneficial when they offer you a loan, but it is the opposite - it is their chance to make money out of you for nothing. Give you £1000, get back £1200. Obvious who wins there. There is no financial sense in borrowing (unless it is for investment in something like a business or purchase of a property, which you would otherwise be unable to do).

    We need a return to living within our means, saving up to pay for bigger purchases. Reclaim our finances! Take back the power from the financial institutions!

  6. Very true, Canal Explorer. Even as a kid I used to wonder why bank charges were so small and ask myself how banks earned a living. Obviously it's through the biblcal sin of usuary! People in debt are good because the bank can charge them interest on whatever they borrow. People not in debt are bad because they are a white elephant and the bank then has to pay them interest instead. In casinoes they occasionally ask someonme to leave if they're on a winning streak, ususally through the suspicion that they're employing some kind of "system". My friend Roy was once banned from bookies because he had a system for betting on horses. This is kind of how banks see anyone with any kind of personal capital.

  7. Hahaha, no personal capital, but they hate you even if you live within your means (not that I am perfect at doing this)!

  8. Crisis? I love it. Uncertainty is such a groove. Like The Ethiopians on "Everything Crash" - fireman strike, waterman strike, down to policeman too.... I can't wait! Reading this blog really cheered me up. Capitalism sucks, so what we gotta do is kick it till it breaks!

  9. Was struck by the investment advice section. Here's a different angle on investment, from John Michael Greer:

    "the only investment advice I can offer is to get out of investments altogether, and put your money into something that will actually be useful: training in practical skills that will make you employable in a deindustrializing economy, for example, or extra insulation so you can keep your home livable with less energy. At this point in history, the belief that it's possible to have your money make your living for you is basically a delusion; it's likely to be a fairly persistent one, but those who can shake themselves free of it and adjust to life in a radically different economic reality are likely to do better than those who keep on chasing the prospects of an age that is ending around us."


I would love to hear what you think of this post! I try to reply to every comment (if there is a delay, I am probably away from an internet connection or abroad)