Many people check their horoscopes in the morning, but do you check your market’s horoscope? One woman does and has written a book about it.
A few years ago, Susan Gidel was teaching a class on astrology in the markets. When it was time for her to focus on the use of astrology in commodities markets, she started looking for reading material to assign to her class, but discovered there was none to be found.
So she wrote her own book. The recently released, “Trading In Sync With Commodities— Introducing Astrology to Your Financial Toolbox” combines Gidel’s twin passions of commodity trading and astrology.
Her fascination with both goes back to her time as a senior editor for Commodities and Futures magazine in the 1980s.
“When I was at Futures, it was during the Gann revival in the late 1970s early 1980s. At the same time, there was an astrological revival as well,” she says. “I found it all kinds of interesting. I got more interested in astrology over the years and finally started going to conferences.”
Gidel began a more intense study of astrology and the markets in 2005 and discovered that there was a great deal of material on applying astrology to stocks, but very little on futures and commodity markets.
“There were financial astrologers out there who were paying attention to the stock market and using astrology to see what the stock market was going to do,” she says. “A couple of years later I decided to start formally studying astrology with the intent of applying it to the market and to see if it worked on the markets that I knew about, which were commodities.”
Underlying both passions was a fascination with what makes prices move. “I always have been a fan of Gann and Elliott Wave. I like the mystery of Gann and I like Elliott Wave’s ability to tap into market psychology. I just think that markets move because people make decisions on whether to buy and sell and the emotions that go into that are a big part of it. It is how you get big volatility, it is how you get big blow-off [tops] or [market] bottoms,” she says.
After formally studying astrology and markets she was asked by the school to teach a course. “That is when you really learn stuff, when you have to teach it to someone else,” she says. “Astrology helps us understand how things happen and why, how the moving planets in the sky are affecting all of us on a regular basis; how we behave and how it could influence how we might make a trading decision.”
Markets, like people, have a birthday and a horoscope that goes along with it. “The financial astrologers working on the stock side would make sure they always had a good first-trade horoscope chart—the day and time the stock began trading—which is pretty easy to do,” Gidel says.
This proved to be harder with commodity markets. “This was the hardest part in getting this book together — finding accurate data,” she says. “Basically, the first-trade horoscope chart is like a person’s birth chart; [it is] sensitive to where the planets were in that snapshot when the market was born and how the planets triggered those natal planets as they keep moving around in the sky. It is taking the concept of astrology from a human point of view—we all have horoscopes from the day, time and place we were born that is kind of your roadmap to who you are, how you behave and what you are like— and the same is true of markets.”
The first-trade data makes a big difference. Gidel confirmed this with her study of silver. She noticed that her silver study did not seem to make sense. The major tops and bottoms she calculated did not match up to where she figured they should be. She based her analysis on the Comex first-trade launch date of July 5, 1933. When she examined this closer she discovered that silver futures actually launched two years earlier at a competing exchange that later merged with Comex. “When I ran it [with the real start date], it made more sense,” Gidel says.
Gidel’s book focuses on six markets: Soybeans, crude oil, gold, the S&P 500, euro FX and the 10-year Treasury note because they are the most liquid markets covering the major sectors.
“I’ve looked at significant highs and lows in six different markets [from] whenever they started and tried to find similarities in where the planets were in relationship to the first-trade chart for each market,” she says. She spotted the dates of major highs and lows using monthly charts and then compared them to major events on the astrological charts to see what similarities she could find. “It is not perfect, there is a lot of room for judgement,” she says. “To me this is simply another technical tool. It excels in projecting time forward because you can see when these planetary cycles come up again. Once you identify what you think is important to whatever markets’ first-trade charts, you can find dates that are similar.”
Gidel points out that using astrology is not magic, but similar to other technical analysis disciplines.
“Like Gann, the signatures for a top or a bottom can be similar and the planets can be close together,” Gidel says. “I am trying to make the case that the markets are sensitive to it and have certain signatures [for] highs or lows based on how they have behaved in the past. [You can] project that forward in time to give people dates to pay attention. For example, anyone who trades the S&P 500 should already know they can’t go on vacation during the second half of August 2019.”
Gidel explains that there are five planets moving into Virgo after they cross the degree of the total solar eclipse that we had last summer during that period. “Both those things are happening in the second half of August (2019). The last time that happened was at the top in 1987,” she says. “You have to really pay attention in the second half of August 2019.”
“Astrological movement is cyclical, each planet moves through 12 signs in a certain period: Mars takes a couple of years to go through all 12 signs, Saturn takes 29 years to go through all 12 signs, Saturn and Uranus have a 45-year economic cycle where they start together [and] at important periods are at 90 degrees to each other and oppose each other, before they come back [together],” Gidel says. “With planets and astrology you can define the length of [each] cycle.”
Those cycles, when matched with long-term market highs and lows, provide direction for market timing. “I can tell you when the cycle perfected to the day and to the minute,” Gidel says.
Just like other technical trading inputs, these can be used in concert — the more inputs that indicate a top or a bottom, the stronger the overall signal.
“Astrologically, you always look at any connection between a natal planet (birth planet) and a transiting planet. Just this week (April 2) Mars and Saturn were aligned in Capricorn, this is a strong signature; Saturn rules Capricorn [and] Mars is what we call exalted in Capricorn,” she says. “It [indicates a] time to take strategic action that has long-term significance, [it displays] real strong energy. I was intrigued to note that big spike in E-mini volume on [April 2] that everybody was talking about, happened four minutes before that Mars Saturn conjunction was exact.”
This planetary conjunction led to a huge burst of energy into the market that created a spike in volume created right before that transit happened (see “Sign of energy,” below). The natal planets are the ones in the snapshot of when you were born. Meanwhile, transiting planets keep moving around in the sky.
How to use the book?
While the idea of using astrology as a guide to trading may seem, well, out there, it takes discipline like all other trading tools. “The best use for a trader is to just get in tune with the dates that I project out. Read the book, understand why it worked in the past [and] what I am looking for going forward,” she says. “I have looked out to year-end 2020 and have dates for every market where there is potential for a high or a low. At the very least, it is something to throw into what [other things] you look at.”
She compares it to using a monthly chart to define the overall trend and to using the daily and intraday charts for specific trades. And like other technical indicators, if more than one input coalesces at a time projecting a top or bottom, it is a stronger signal.
“That’s what you are looking for, when are their multiple clicks going on that are strong and significant, that is when you start looking for what the markets did at that time,” Gidel says. “I went backwards and found days when markets peaked or bottomed and tried to reverse engineer it, [looking for] which natal planets where being activated by which transiting planets in the strongest way on these dates.”
While not every signal for a high or low is confirmed, the exact nature of the astrological cycles provide specific times, like Gidel’s projection for the second half of 2019, more than a year in advance. “The timeframe is significant, that’s the deal, to use astrology for what it’s best at, which is timing. To be able to move forward in time with precision and [make note of] those dates on your calendar that seem random and see what happens,” she says. “The other way to use it is to understand the really large economic cycles that are at play.”
This can help in long-term portfolio management. “I am a card-carrying baby boomer. I have a very selfish interest in knowing when the stock market is going to top — and maybe it already has — I don’t have time to wait to go through another 2000 or 2008,” she says. “I can’t wait 10 years for the market to lose 50% and come back to even. That is the long-term perspective planetary economic cycles give me.”
Broadly, she has found that a major equity market top will hit between now and 2020. “It could retrace 50% and may not recover until the mid-2020s,” she says.
Gidel has spent a lifetime in markets and has married that vocation with her avocation for astrology. “I want to make you aware that the planets seem to have connections to when markets first started trading, and to know when those connections are hot is valuable to traders,” she says. “Big things happen at big transits in my life, in my friend’s life, and I expect to see similar things in markets.”