originally published April 7, 2014 on MichaelLutin.com

Speed has become a way of life, a way of thinking, a way of doing business. Thirty plus years ago when the personal computer became accessible to us the thought was that it would give us  more time, because the computer was going to do all those time consuming details, like writing your bills in a ledger, writing letters or thesis’ on a typewriter, or keeping track of your contacts in those old fashioned address books.  However, to the contrary, speed has not only created the reverse of this idea, but has cost us more money in postage, equipment and slick, digitalized equipment. Speed seduces us into thinking we will think better, look better, get things done faster, be more to more people we can access our groceries, our machines, our clothes and anything else on the internet. We can also buy and sell our stocks on the internet.

When companies like Charles Schwab, Ameritrade, and E trade to name a few formed platforms upon which we, the individual, could bypass our brokers and buy and sell either stocks and equities by day or by the year, we all jumped on board. Whether or not the markets were affected by a bunch of people who really didn’t understand trading, price earnings ratios, or volatility, I think they were. If you get someone going in and out of the market without any type of true understanding, it seems that it would increase the volatility or the improbability of positive outcomes. However, the need for speed has entered an entirely new dimension in the form of High Frequency Trading.

High Frequency Trading has increased markedly in the last ten years. At this writing, there is no real regulation although it has been proposed in the past and is in the news again as one book, Michael Lewis’ “Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt” gains traction in publicity. High Frequency Trading (HFT) has been around for a while, but it is really unchartered territory on so many levels, particularly with regular folks who need to understand the concept. Flash crashes, as they are called, have occurred more and more frequently. Some of the more publicized ones were the one on May 6, 2010. Another one resulted from a fictional tweet stating the White House had been assaulted, shutting down the market and losing millions in just a matter of minutes, and then there was the three hour shutdown of the NASDAQ occurring on August 22, 2013. This last shutdown was  because of an outage or some technical problem and the wisdom of shutting it down for three hours (without rushing to open it again) was wise. Whether flash crashes are caused because of outages, tweets, false information or algorithms gone awry, the fact remains that we are not in Kansas anymore!

HFT is computerized, algorithmic trading, which now accounts for about half of all U.S. equity-trading volume on some of the large exchanges. Billions of dollars are invested to set up these computer banks and there is a lot of debate about whether or not without realizing it, they are actually rigging the market. It isn’t done consciously, but the fact is that the machines to thinking and analysis that no human brain can do and therein lies the rub. The everyday buys and the sells either with our brokers or directly online (bypassing the agent or broker) cannot possibly match the speed at which these calculations occur or the orders can be processed. HFT programs run to front of the line, before our everyday brokers, or our trades on some of the above mentioned sites even get to the desk.

On Friday April 4, US Attorney General Eric Holder stated that it is possible that HFT falls in the category of scams and insider trading. However, because this is considerably new and like any other technology all the things that could go wrong have not been examined because all the issues have not been revealed – because it is so new.  When they bombed the World Trade Center on 9/11 we had not had that experience. When one doesn’t have the experience, one learns as the experience unfolds. This is all pretty new, but it bears watching. In March New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, for one, likened high-frequency traders’ speed advantage to insider trading. He repeated the same thing just a few days ago stating it was insider trading 2.0.

However, this isn’t the only problem, the other problem is the fact that these are machines calculating at speeds faster than anyone can imagine and machines can burn out, short out, or shut down. If a high percentage of market trades are occurring using this technology, then more than ever markets are at risk.  Certain jobs are at risk too. Can it be the stock broker, the day trader, the investment consultant can soon be jobs of the past going into extinction like the dinosaurs after the ice age. I mean, how much speed do we really need? Mahatma Gandhi very wisely stated, “There is more to life than increasing its speed.” In the age of Red Bull, Instagram, and massive texts that replace conversations and discussions, and smartphones and tablets that give instant answers that may provide information contains loose relationships with the truth, you really have to wonder. Do we have such a need to get to the head of the line that we forget the process or the journey?

Below are three charts for the above mentioned charts. The first is the Flash Crash of May 6, 2010 which started at 2:42 pm and ended at 3:07 pm prompting a suggestion by the then SEC Chairperson Mary Schapiro that perhaps there should be some sort of regulation with this unfamiliar new entity entering the marketplace. The second chart is the Flash Crash that resulted from a fictional tweet hoax stating that the White House had been attacked and that the President was injured. It occurred at 1:07 pm when all hell broke loose and in a matter of minutes millions were lost until it was revealed it was a hoax. In just a few minutes life returned to normal. And, finally, is the chart of the three hour shutdown of the NASDAQ on August 22, 2013 due to an outage, but who really knows?  This caused that exchange to shut down for three hours. It shut down at 12:14:03 pm and then went back online at 3:25 pm. The decision was a wise one, perhaps the result of past crises where the markets went right back on line causing huge losses.  I include these charts for your perusal, but, in the end, the question still remains…where are we going that we need to get there that fast?

3 astrological charts

click to enlarge

 

The week begins with Monday’s fifth of seven squares between Uranus and Pluto. These two planets are square to each other since June 2012 and continue all the way through spring of 2015. This very rare, but also very restless configuration opens up doors revealing things yet unseen. Witness just some of the activities of this last year with the NSA leak and Edward Snowden (considered either an American Terrorist or an American Hero, depending upon your point of view), as well as the revelations that the Affordable Care Act is not always offering what was promised, but lest I digress, let’s review the here and now.

This square is also taking place between two very powerful eclipses, one of which just occurred (a TOTAL eclipse) on April 15 and the other of which occurs on April 28, again, both hitting the USA chart, the New York Stock Exchange Chart and the Federal Reserve Chart. What does that mean to you? At this writing, which is much earlier than this week’s forecast; the market has peaked well but has had some stumbling blocks. A flattening may be taking place in the next few months as might housing. However, it is an excellent time to check in on both the personal and professional relationships you are foster. Is it time for an attitude adjustment or a reframe of those relationships? Is it enough? Can it offer more? What changes can be implemented to foster more intimacy and heart connections?

Grab up the brand new live recording on Solar Arcs that Georgia presented on April 5, 2014. A 90 minute presentation that is packed full of very clear and juicy tidbits on how to use solar arcs. Since it is a WMV file, you can ‘see’ as well as ‘hear’ the class. Offered at an affordable price for everyone.

As A Greek American who often finds her dear friends celebrating Easter on a completely different day than Orthodox Easter, I am happy to say that they are one and the same this year — on Sunday April 20. I used to joke with friends about why the Greeks often celebrate Easter after American Easter and say that it was because everything was ‘half price’!!

Not true, really, but as a Greek American brought up by parents, one of which was an immigrant, and the other whose parents were immigrants and both products of the Great Depression, this isn’t so far from the truth. There are things I still remember my Dad saying like, “there are two sides of paper –use both”, or, “if people stopped buying broccoli when it wasn’t in season, the prices would stabilize”, or, Mom saving all the scraps of aluminum foil, making several meals out of one meal and using the last of it for soup. Some people laugh when they hear that I still practice much of what they preached, but the times they are inviting some of this thinking and it isn’t that farfetched to start thinking that way.

The Total Lunar Eclipse of April 15 (tax day in the USA) is at 25°ibra 16′. This is exactly opposite the Lunar Eclipse of October 17, 2013, which was at 25° Aries. If you look at the New York Stock Exchange chart, this is an exact hit on about five of its ten planets. Lunar Eclipses are Full Moons when the Earth falls between the Sun and the Moon (180° of distance, the furthest you can get in a circle). This means that things are stretched right now. Ideas, events, international escalations (watch Syria and its dance these next six months), prompt a time in which to pull in one’s belt. This is probably the wisest thing to do.

Though Mars is still retrograde, we may not see this tension immediately, but when Mars goes direct late May and catches up to where it left off in the last two weeks of July, which happens to be 90-days after these next two eclipses, a clearer perspective presents itself. For now, however, these next two to three weeks, are a time to re-think, re-evaluate, let go of, pull in the belt, pay off bills, get lean, clean and streamlined — financially and physically, and reconnect with whatever Creator we believe in.

With this week’s holidays like Passover, Easter, the holidays signifying a release from bondage, a resurrection and a new light of insight, what better time to achieve some sort of enlightenment and resurrection.

Mercury enters Aries on Monday at 11:14 AM Pacific time. I like Mercury in Aries because it is quick, alert, but often over reactive. Its Achilles Heel is that it doesn’t often listen. Listening is a key point this week, and, actually for the next few weeks as it travels through Aries. Perhaps your accountant is telling you to get ‘those receipts’ in for taxes (due April 15), or, you’ve been putting off finding out the price you paid for your house before you sold it last month, or, whatever needs to get done that really matters in terms of your tax returns and accounts. If you need to file extensions this year, which seems to be the case for many, you still have to pay the government what you owe them by the 15th. An extension does not authorize not paying what you owe. Strategic thinking is the way to go with Mercury in Aries. If it doesn’t work this way, then by exploring and putting in some of the work or asking more questions, gives you another way. Patience is required, one of the least favorite words for anything Aries.

With Sun opposing Mars (still retrograde) on Tuesday, this exacerbates the impatience and unruliness inherent in all of us when we haven’t done our homework or taken care of what needs taking care of. It is, however, a First Quarter Moon (Monday) and this often helps in getting organizing and figuring out a plan on how to proceed with limited resources. Since this writing is taking place at the beginning of 2014, and, I really don’t have a crystal ball (it is in the dishwasher), I will say, that with the upcoming eclipses of next week, taxes due, Mars still retrograde that it is pretty much a sure bet that interest rates will remain somewhat low for at least a few more months.

However, after July (90-days after the eclipses all marked out in our 2014 Cheat Sheet), then it is probably when things will turn upwards in terms of interest rates, costs, etc. But, again, I don’t have a crystal ball, but in July Jupiter enters Leo and prices usually go up during the year is in Leo, because there is more consumer demand. Lest I diverse, however, this week is the week before taxes are due on April 15. Next week we explore the larger discussion with regard to the two powerful eclipses in April, but you will feel them winding up this week. So– watch your driving, correct your responses, think before you speak, ask more questions, think, look and listen…because the USA, the New York Stock Exchange, and the Federal Reserve charts are about to walk into a nine month re-direct. This could actually be good, rather than bad. It is all and always about perspective.

Georgia’s classic Myths and Signs of the Zodiac series is now available on mp3 for the new lower price of $5 each, or $35 for the whole set of 12 signs.

Tuesday is April Fool’s day and with Sun and Jupiter at 90° to each other, get ready for April Fool’s jokes that are whoppers. Don’t over exaggerate or overextend because it may blow a lot out of control than expected. I remember when my son was in middle school (one of the hardest places for kids in America), he had a note written to me (supposedly by his teacher) telling me that he had been acting out horribly in class, was being suspended from school and that I needed to call the school!! I still have that letter!! The good news was that after the shock of it, I realized that the handwriting looked more like a young girl’s handwriting–you know the newly learned cursive that is sometimes shaky — and I got the ‘joke’! Whoppers — yes that is what April Fools is all about.

This week continues with some of these whoppers both real and unreal as several aspects from the Sun to Uranus (chaos) and Pluto (discoveries) are triggered in stressful ways. On Friday Uranus gets back to where it went retrograde back in 2013 delivering an extra punch of reality news. Cool you jets, though, because it is temporary and by the weekend, as Venus enters its favorite sign of Pisces, things calm down and mellow out. Remember this was the week after the New Moon, when anything or everything can happen, surface or reappear. Next week brings more workable solutions.

On Sunday March 30, we have a New Moon, new beginnings in Aries very near Uranus, triggering a wave of multiple activities of the brain, mind and body. Before Sunday, however, we are still in the Last Quarter Moon phase, which is always a good time to clear off the desk, set up some vacation time for the year and even rearranging the furniture in your office or home. In other words, this is a good time for spring cleaning without spending a lot of money. Often a freshly laid out environment triggers new thoughts and patterns and directions.

This is supported by the fact that on Wednesday and Thursday Mercury, still in imaginative Pisces, is in complementary distance to Jupiter, the planet of good luck, possibilities and expansion. What you believe or envision appears before you. Another great aspect on Thursday involving Mercury is with Pluto, the planet of consciousness and choice. This is a great day for research, asking those important and life changing questions and actually getting an answer! What you hear you may not embrace completely as Friday arrives with Mercury and Chiron together. This could be a good day to make that appointment for your annual physical and follow through with it. Love and relationship aspects are highlighted on Saturday as Mars (though retrograde) and Venus come together in a Sympatico place.

These last few days of Pisces find us moving in a new direction of hopefulness and possibility. On Monday, Mercury, the planet of thinking and communication, enters the psychic and intuitive sign of Pisces, heralding a few weeks of imagination and vision. Sometimes the less said the better. On Tuesday March 18, we have Venus, the planet of agreements, relationships, compromise at very good relationships between Pluto and Uranus…i.e. feathers ruffled, settle down. The suggestion here is to wait for those ‘bigger’ or ‘clearer’ decisions until after the 20th of March at 9:57 AM (Pacific Coast) when the Sun enters Aries, one of the four powerful and cardinal points of the zodiac.

Rudolf Steiner in his writings of many years ago stated that Spring Equinox is the moment at which the conception of what occurred at Winter Solstice, Dec 21, 2013, emerges as the idea. Or something like that. This is a planting season in the Northern Hemisphere and appropriately the state of mind (Mercury after all is in Pisces) is important in terms of the type of crop you grow. This might be a time to take or schedule some time for a more creative pursuit like photography, drawing, design, or even taking classes like designing things like apps, websites, anything that is an extension of the ideas you’ve been holding in since last year.

I think Full Moon weeks are always weeks where anything can happen, particularly the last full moon of the zodiacal year, which falls on Sunday, March 16, 2014. It is at 26° Virgo opposite the Sun at 26° Pisces. The zodiacal year, for those who have questions, is when the Sun travels through the last sign of Pisces, and the sign I lovingly call, the “toxic waste management station” of the zodiac! Why? Because in a few days March 20 to be exact, the Sun enters Aries, the first sign of the zodiac. As we travel through the month of March, we always clear out the cobwebs of the year prior. And since the year began with a Venus Retrograde (ended on January 31) and in March began a Mars Retrograde (until May 19), things are moving more slowly than expected. However, slow is good. Slow often gets more done than rushing around here and there.

In the last few days before Spring Equinox, we often experience a frantic quality of trying to get things done and finding ourselves squelched in all directions. The week, beginning with Mercury and Saturn, at an adverse aspect suggests this to be the perfect time to check all contracts, tax papers, agreements, and plans. As the week unfolds and Sun and Saturn dance beautifully together on Thursday, the efforts of the first of the week pay off. Since Chiron also reaches its shadow position (where it went retrograde in 2013), it could mean some insights that never even dawned on us, pop out of our brains or come through friends or being in the right place at the right time and making things change.

Whew! Well we got through last week’s stops and starts accompanied by the sounds of screaming brakes. Luckily, this week the feeling of freedom emerges from some of last week’s darker moments. As Jupiter begins stationing direct on Thursday March 6 at 10° Cancer 26′ at about 2:42 am Pacific time, a breath of fresh possibilities arises. With Venus entering charismatic and charming Aquarius on Wednesday, the air is crystal clear relieving the many months of Venus in Capricorn’s heavy vibes. It’s time for a little more fun and a lot less stress. Taking deep breaths and getting outside for fresh air each day clears out the rest of the mental cobwebs hanging around since late 2013. Jupiter Uranus was square to each other last week. Their magical ability to conjure up moments in which there are no coincidences where people meet each other that are meant to meet each other is at hand.

Being in the right place at the right time is the theme for the week. Get social. Call people with whom you share similar values and dreams and wishes because Sun and Pluto and Chiron are in sync with each other this week. Chiron always invokes innovative, hybrid thinking by taking the old and somehow merging it with the new, creating a bridge of ideas between the two.

For some perspective on Perspectives, check out Georgia’s new article at Michael Lutin’s site.

In retrospect, this will be the week that was because major planetary movements of the planets swing back and forth all week. Thankfully, Mercury is now moving in a direct motion on Friday January 28 at 9 am on Pacific Time. It is direct in its favorite sign, Aquarius at about 18°. On that very same day, protective Sun and Jupiter dance beautifully with each other — they provide optimism as well as insight. This will be important over the course of the next couple of days that trigger about eight weeks of rehashing and rethinking and often, self-doubt. This could be reflected in the markets as well since Mars is the planet starting its retrograde motion and Mars is all about spending.

On March 1 is the New Moon (new beginnings — check your 2014 Cheat Sheet for these dates and times and degrees) at 10° Pisces 39′. This is in the second decanate of Pisces, which is the Cancer segment. Cancer energies represent real estate, food, food businesses, antiques, storage facilities for those of you interested in pursuing these possibilities over the course of the next few months.

However, on that same day, Mars, mentioned above, is retrograde at 23° Libra. It stays retrograde until later in May suggesting that rethinking and rehashing projects is imperative. Watch costs and spending. In the course of seeking out a direction, more money may be spent, or, even thrown away just to find that you were on almost the right track to begin with. It might be that new projects started at the beginning of the year having a certain direction, change direction along with further research and study. Thus an explorative theme reigns supreme over the next few weeks through late May 2014 when Mars finally shifts to direct motion.

In addition, Saturn is retrograde (happens once a year for about four to six months) on Sunday March 2 at 23° Scorpio 19′. This is also the Cancer decanate for Scorpio — again the theme of family, real estate, food, food businesses, antiques, storage facilities. Thus, it would seem that real estate may be in the news. Perhaps interest rates are rising (not unexpected because of the Fed’s tightening of QE earlier in the year), but also that while Jupiter is still in Cancer (going direct on March 6), prices overinflated in mid-2013 — now have a reality check and drop again. Just remember — check all details. Waiting is sometimes the best strategy while the markets and rates sort themselves out!

On Tuesday, the Sun enters the sign of Pisces, for the next four weeks. This is the last sign of the zodiac and signifies a month where it is important to put things in order, process our ‘toxic waste’, let go of the past year, and get ready for the new when spring begins next month. A lot of the aspects this week are favorable even though Mercury is still retrograde, it still seems foggy, particularly on Thursday and Friday. For Pisces, however, that is often okay — since foggy is an everyday reality for people of Pisces persuasion. :) We often call up our otherwise unused and ancient senses in the fog, which we often ignore as human beings, and which were the basis of survival for our ancient ancestors.

With the Last Quarter Moon occurring on Thursday around 9:15 am Pacific Time, this assists the closing out of the zodiacal year’s energy. Many people start to feel an early Spring Fever during this time, wanting to pull back a little. This is perfectly appropriate since Pisces energies are about intuitive pursuits rather than overt and intellectual pursuits. If someone comes to mind, or an idea comes to mind, then act on it within 48 hours, because your powers of perception are at their height this month. If you think you should consider selling or purchasing something, start your research. The research may not lead to what you initially sought out, but may lead you down a completely different path that doesn’t become concrete until late May 2014.

Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone. It turns out that Valentine’s Day is also a Full Moon at 26° Leo 13′, one of the most extravagant and fun loving moons. So if you don’t have a ‘love’ with which to share this day, share it with friends, family — even a Valentine’s Day dinner at home with those you deeply care for works, too. Any sort of group activity would work here since on the same day Mars and Sun are working really well with each other, great for conversations, idea exchanges, networking. Where two or more are gathered — well you know the rest?

This is very important because just a couple of days before, on Tuesday February 11, we have the Sun and Saturn at an adverse aspect to each other. Some people experience this as a kind of down day, but it is often just a reality check of our limitations and our perceptions of limitations. If there are limitations, then share those perceptions or feelings with others. Even though you may not have that Valentine in your life, there are a lot of people that love you and want to be with you, so gather them up on Friday and have a love fest of ideas that spur community cooperation.