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'Sage of Aquarius' sees epic bear loss

Jay MacDonaldTwo decades before the stock market tanked, Raymond Merriman saw it all coming -- in the stars.

No, Merriman is not some gray-pony-tailed flower child living in a yurt in Petaluma, Calif. Sing a stanza of "Hair" to him, and he'll likely laugh and rub his hairless pate.

But what the West Bloomfield, Mich., investment adviser and professional astrologer has that his terrestrial-bound peers do not is an uncanny knack for timing the market. He does so by correlating earthly market cycles with the movement of the planets above.

To his clients, he's the sage of Aquarius.

Through his company, The Merriman Market Analyst, Ray offers daily and weekly comments and trade recommendations based as much on the transit of Saturn as the train wreck on Wall Street. He trades only his own accounts and sells his unique heaven-and-earth market perspectives by subscription to believers and nonbelievers alike.

“Wouldn't you have liked a little advance warning about the great market meltdown of 2008? Ray began writing about it in 1991.”

Wouldn't you have liked a little advance warning about the great market meltdown of 2008?

Ray began writing about it in 1991.

In astro-lingo, it's called a Cardinal Climax. And it's a nasty bugger.

Cardinal Climax

"A Cardinal Climax occurs when three of the four outermost planets (Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and/or Pluto) enter different 'cardinal signs' and thus form what are known as T-squares to one another," Ray says.

"Cardinal signs are the signs that begin each season -- Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn. Since these far-out planets move so slowly in their orbits around the sun, such a pattern is quite rare. It occurs every 80 to 90 years."

You've probably guessed by now that the last Cardinal Climax occurred in the 1929-to-1934 time frame. Hmmm, Grandpa did mention something about breadlines back then.

But before that, it occurred in 1841 to 1852 and 1759 to 1778.

"Each of these coincide with severe economic downturns and heightened social, even revolutionary, tendencies," Ray says.

If you're keeping an astro-scorecard, Pluto entered Capricorn in January 2008, Saturn will enter Libra in late October 2009 and Uranus will enter Aries in late May 2010. They will be making "hard aspects" to one another through 2015.

"Hard aspect?" That's like when your bowling team has had too much to drink and someone calls a foot fault.

"I've been forecasting this period 2008 to 2015 as a daunting challenge for the economy since then, and of course, we now see that this astrological cycle and its correspondence with the same historical themes is once again occurring, right on time," says Ray.

Here on "terra firma," Ray charts several indicators to stay abreast of the market. He then overlays the star charts to arrive at what he calls a "geo-cosmic correlation." He says U.S. market cycles of four years or longer tend to unfold when Saturn is boogying with planets beyond its orbit.

Take the 32-to-37-year Saturn-Pluto cycle: "In the first half of the cycle (16 to 20 years), free market economies tend to reduce their debt, reduce taxes and reduce interest rates. The economies prosper, and it is the time to invest in capital markets," Ray says.

This last occurred in the good times of 1947 to 1966 and 1982 to 2001.

Dancing to disaster

When these cosmic dancers start to separate (or wane), the opposite tends to happen.

"Governments tend to increase debt, increase taxes, increase interest rates, and instead of expanding, economies contract," says Ray.

Witness 1966 to 1982 and our current muddle, 2001 to 2020.

20-TWENTY?! That's a lot of bear to bear!

What many astrologers are too polite to mention is that two cosmic road bumps lie dead ahead. The first is a once-in-a-lifetime warlike cardinal signature in July 2010, when Uranus moves into Aries, Saturn into Libra and both square Pluto.

The second is the much-ballyhooed Mayan end-of-the-world lunch date on Dec. 21, 2012. So get your library books returned before then.

On the positive side, the ongoing unfolding of the age of Aquarius should make the coming years enlightening, if not necessarily prosperous.

"The stars suggest that we are already in a '60s-like rebirth, and it will continue through the middle of the next decade at least," he says. "It is the 'green movement,' the movement toward alternative energy and fuel sources. It is like a religion or a subculture, except this time the president of the United States is with it, too. But like the '60s, there is also an anti-war consciousness that is present."

And we can never get enough of peace, love and understanding.

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