ISIS attack kills 22 at Manchester concert in UK

(24 May 2017)  As the planet of violence, Mars has no mercy.  On Monday, the UK became the latest target of ISIS as a suicide bomber blew himself up in the Manchester Arena shortly after a pop concert.  The attack was apparently perpetrated by a UK citizen of Libyan descent, Salman Abedi, and arrests have made in both in the UK and Libya.  The UK is now on high alert with troops stationed at key locations in the aftermath of this second attack of 2017.

There are several possible ways to look at this event.  It is possible to focus solely on the transits for the time of the explosion (10.30 p.m.), but in my experience this provides only limited information.  In hindsight, we can see whatever we want to see in transits and the resulting chart is usually not conducive to prediction.  In my view, a more compelling approach is to use the relevant national chart, in this case, the UK national chart, dated 1 January 1801 at midnight.  While hindsight is always 20/20, at least we can make a better assessment of how the chart is operating and whether such an event was predictable. 

For all violent attacks, we should see Mars very prominently placed in the chart by transit.   And we do.  At the time of the attack, Mars was just one degree past an exact opposition aspect to Mercury.  Mars-Mercury aspects usually coincide with tense or stressful situations of all kinds.  In the UK chart, however, Mercury takes on a greater importance since it rules the 1st house through its rulership of Virgo.  The first house (i.e the body) represents the nation as a whole so this Mars aspect was an act of violence against the whole country. 

Significantly, we can also see this Mars-Mercury theme through the transit of Mercury (13 Aries) which is widely conjunct Mars (20 Aries) and also close to the 8th house cusp (16 Aries).  The 8th house is a malefic dussthana house and symbolizes misfortunes and death-like situations. This repeated Mars-Mercury connection is one reason why a fairly common once-a-year Mars-Mercury opposition would have produced a major terrorist attack.  Natal Mercury was under pressure from Mars by transit but Mercury, in turn, was substantially weakened in its ability to resist the violent nature of Mars because it was so afflicted by its transit of the 8th house and Mars.  This is a kind of planetary chain reaction.  As a general rule, weak or damaged planets are more likely to produce hardship when they are transited by malefics like Mars.  That is definitely the case here in the UK chart. 

I should also add that Mars is approaching its maximum declination (24N19) in early June so it may be stronger than usual at this time. This is likely to manifest as a background effect that increases tension and frustration and could allow simmering disputes to boil over into outright conflict.  There is an increased risk of more violent incidents generally.

A couple of other difficult set ups are evident.  Transiting Rahu (4 Leo) was conjunct the natal Saturn (2 Leo) in the 12th house of loss.  This Saturn affliction by Rahu is a classic indicator of sorrows and negative outcomes involving disappointment and sadness.  It may have provided the necessary underpinnings for the fast-moving triggering transit of Mars.  Rahu moves quite slowly so it should not be surprising if the country remains very somber and introspective for several more weeks during this transit of Saturn.

The Moon and Venus were transiting Pisces at the time of the bombing, in an exact conjunction with natal Rahu (22 Pisces).  This Moon-Venus-Rahu alignment may be symbolic of an event which distorted and disturbed (Rahu) national emotions (Moon) and happiness (Venus). 

There is now talk in the media about whether the upcoming election on 8 June will be postponed due to security concerns.  That seems unlikely in any event even if the planets look difficult for several weeks to come.  For what it's worth, Mercury (= elections) will conjoin natal Mars on 26-28 May so that may be a time when tensions are running high again.  This is probably not another attack or the postponing of the vote but there could be more conflictive and tense developments in the UK.  Interestingly, this is the same time window when Mars opposes Saturn by transit. This is likely to mark a period of high stress and anxiety generally.

Weekly Market Forecast

Stocks have largely moved sideways since last week.  US stocks drifted higher higher late last week on the Venus-Jupiter alignment but have been stronger thus far this week.  Indian stocks have been weaker on profit taking after several previous record highs. 

As noted in last week's market forecast, I have been expecting more downside from the approach of the Mars-Saturn opposition which is exact on Monday 29 May.   So far we haven't seen much fireworks from this nasty planetary pair.  However, the rest of this week looks more vulnerable to declines.  Friday stands out in this respect as the Moon conjoins Mars and opposes Saturn.  The Moon-Mars conjunction is closest during the US trading day.  While Monday is closed for Memorial Day in the US, the shadow of the Mars-Saturn opposition may well extend into early next week. 

Perhaps all this Mars-Saturn related anxiety is what is driving up Bitcoin to record highs.  It now trades at $2500 and has doubled its value over the past month.  There are a couple of plausible horoscopes for Bitcoin out there: 1) the first electronic trade on 12 Jan 2009 and 2) the first real world trade/purchase for pizza on 22 May 2010.  Both charts look fairly negative this summer so I would think a major decline is likely.  That is perhaps not a stunning prediction given that the current parabolic rally is unsustainable over time.  But the summer Saturn-Rahu alignment does look bad for Bitcoin as it activates a few key points in both charts.   I hope to post a more in-depth analysis of Bitcoin by next week.

For more details and analysis on market trends for this week, this month and this year, please check out my weekly MVA Investor Newsletter.  The newsletter is published every Saturday and includes extended discussion of US and Indian stock markets, as well as gold, oil and major currencies.