By Edward Snow
As early as 1994, financial astrologer Ray Merriman began persistently warning anyone within earshot that a huge stock market decline and financial crisis would upset the global economic applecart in 2008. While there were other astrological factors to consider, Merriman says his prediction was largely based on the angular relationship between transiting Saturn and Uranus – a 180-degree opposition aspect that would be forming in the heavens at this time.
Financial astrologers view Saturn’s role as defender of the status quo. Among other things, antsy Uranus represents the irresistible urge to break away and try something new. In the past, when this particular celestial standoff has occurred at the same time planet Pluto is transiting in one of what astrologer’s call the Cardinal signs (Aries, Libra, Cancer and Capricorn), the event has coincided with troubling news for the banking and investment communities. Merriman started calling the pending aspect the “Cardinal Climax,” a phrase now commonly used by a growing legion of financial astrologers around the globe to describe this event.
Merriman admits he worried that “hard” or challenging aspects between slow-moving Saturn, Uranus and Pluto would be forming again in 2010 and 2014. The expectation was that more bad news might be on the way, but the largest market intervention in world history by central bank policymakers nullified this possibility. The Fed lowered interest rates and later began buying Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities in an effort to stimulate spending and economic growth. With help like this the stock market was able to soar to record highs.
“When you have more money buying securities than selling them, well, that makes the price go up. Which, of course, was the Fed’s purpose,” he noted.
The author of nearly 50 books, Merriman writes the monthly Merriman Market Analyst newsletter (MMA Cycles) and both a weekly and daily forecast for more active traders. His life work has been divided about evenly between his role as a professional astrologer and accomplishments achieved in the more pragmatic world of business and investments. He appears equally at home in either milieu.
Merriman is a Commodity Trading Advisor (CTA) and passed both the Series 3 (Commodities) and Series 7 (Securities) exams while working as an analyst at E.F. Hutton in the 1980s. He is a member of the National Futures Association (NFA) and served as an arbitrator in disputes for several years. In his final Wall Street job he was Accounts Vice President of Retail Commodities Futures at Paine Webber. Currently, he heads the Merriman Market Timing Academy (MMTA), a global enterprise that is training traders to integrate astrology with other market-timing tools.
On the astrology side, Merriman passed the American Federation of Astrologers (AFA) professional astrology exam in 1972. His degree in psychology and subsequent graduate studies at Michigan State and Oakland University helped prepare him for a career as a consulting astrologer. He describes serving as President of the International Society for Astrological Research (ISAR) between 1994 and 2000 – and again between 2002 and 2008 – as high points in his career.
In an interview with ANS he provided these insights:
ANS: How did it all get started for you?
Merriman: I started studying astrology in 1966 and passed the American Federation of Astrologers (AFA) professional astrology exam in 1972. By 1977, I had written two well-received astrology books: Evolutionary Astrology: The Journey of the Soul Through the Horoscope, and The Solar Return Book of Prediction. The Solar Return book has become a standard in astrology with about 20 printings since it was first introduced. Only 1,440 copies of Evolutionary Astrology were published and the book sold out in three years. It was done in calligraphy – a beautiful book that will never be reprinted but sometimes is available on Amazon.com.
ANS: What are the most important things people should know about you?
Merriman: Perhaps it’s that I love to write – every day. I enjoy waking up and either researching something that interests me or writing about it in a way others can understand. The financial markets -and life itself – are puzzles for me with parts scattered all around. The challenge is to find the pieces that fit together.
ANS: What do you regard as your most important achievements?
Merriman: Professionally, I would say the authorship of nearly 50 books involving astrology – from the first books in 1977 through the completion of nine financial market-timing books in 2010. The financial series started with The Gold Book: Geocosmic Correlations to Gold Price Cycle in 1982, and culminated with a five- volume series entitled The Ultimate Book of Stock Market Timing. All together books in this series total about 1,600 pages. I believe they helped make a difference by bringing astrology out from the belief that it is purely a form of entertainment or superstition to the idea that there is something of great value here for society.
As ISAR President I worked with a great group of people that challenged each other to build something big and great for astrology. During my terms ISAR grew from probably the smallest national/international astrology organizations to one of the largest and most active. Highlights included the creation of a certification program, a consulting skills program and a competency exam. The organization initiated the ISAR online e-zine, which did wonders in bringing the membership together. And we held several highly successful international conferences, each built around topics of interest to the worldwide astrology community.
ANS: At astrology conferences the number of attendees participating in programs dealing with financial astrology appears to have mushroomed in recent years. What’s going on?
Merriman: It works! Nothing is as consistently accurate in identifying reversal times in financial markets as astrology. I think a few of us as financial astrologers have been able to convey that awareness to the trading community. Astrology appeals to traders because it provides that extra edge all traders seek. They want to learn more, and the way to do that is by attending conferences or workshops on the subject.
To give you an idea… I was amazed by how many people (40) signed up for my new two-year Merriman Market Timing Academy program that launched in April 2013 – because the program is not cheap ($20,000). Both traders and other astrologers joined the initial program because they wanted to learn how financial astrology works.
ANS: When did you decide to focus fulltime on financial astrology?
Merriman: I started writing the MMA Cycles report as a purely gold and Silver report in 1981. I had 35 subscribers when I released The Gold Book in November 1982. Right after it came out I was invited to fly to Los Angeles for an interview with Bill Griffith and Leibe Geft of the Financial News Network (FNN). I was their guest for an hour-long interview the next day on Money Talk. When I returned to my office the next week I had over 1,000 letters and 350 new subscribers. I had to quit my day job as an astrological consultant and, over the next six months, transitioned into a full time financial astrologer and market letter writer.
The MMA Cycles newsletter was expanded to cover first the stock market and then Treasuries, currencies, grains and crude oil – all by popular demand. I became a hot commodity myself and was a frequent guest contributor on the FNN network and was quoted on investment topics in major business and financial publications, like Fortune and Forbes.
ANS: So the message is getting across?
Merriman: Traders love astrology and are the lifeblood of my company. Every year I do an annual forecast book that is translated into several different languages and sells about 7,500 copies. Subscriptions for daily, weekly and monthly reports vary between 800 to 1,000 at any given time. And I’ve been invited to speak to large groups of bankers and international traders in Japan, London, Switzerland and other countries around the world.
ANS: Historically speaking some important business tycoons like J.P. Morgan are alleged users of astrological services. What about business people today? Are they open or more reluctant users of astrology who’d rather not admit it when they do?
Merriman: I would say that is mostly true. They are private people who don’t want others to know where they get their information. They are very results oriented and open to accepting astrology as a valuable timing tool and indicator of economic and political trends. But they don’t want their involvement publicized. I respect their desire for confidentiality.
ANS: What advice do you have for investors in these troubling times?
Merriman: Be nimble and flexible. Learn to hedge your core positions when it appears that sudden and sharp declines may be setting up, for they will happen and they can hurt if you’re not ready.
Those looking at financial astrology as a resource need to understand that, like events on earth, the changing map of the heavens is never exactly the same. Learning never ends. The relationship (between astrological alignments and the financial markets) is not necessarily a direct one because astrological factors can manifest in many ways and don‘t always translate into financial market moves. However, in most cases, astrological timing is really valuable – especially for traders looking for at least short-term reversals in almost all financial markets.
In my opinion you cannot beat it with any other form of market timing analysis.