Job growth rose far more than expected in January despite surging omicron cases that seemingly sent millions of workers to the sidelines, the Labor Department reported Friday. Nonfarm payrolls surged by 467,000 for the month, while the unemployment rate edged higher to 4%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Dow Jones estimate was for payroll growth of 150,000 and a 3.9% unemployment rate. The stunning gain came a week after the White House warned that the numbers could be low due to the pandemic. – Jeff Cox, “Payrolls Show Surprisingly Powerful Gain of 467,000 in January,”, February 4, 2022. 

It was so like the Trickster (Mercury retrograde) to pull out one more unexpected surprise at the end of his retrograde cycle on Friday. In fact, there were several surprises last week. First was the unexpected bullish earnings report by Google, which sent stocks prices soaring into Wednesday. Then the unexpectedly very bearish earnings reported by Facebook (Meta), leading to the greatest one-day decline in its history. On the same day, the January ADP jobs report posted a huge cut of 301,000 jobs in January. And then Friday’s report of 467,000 new jobs created in January. Who is right? The Trickster doesn’t care but showing these kinds of contradictions seems to be his modus operandi.

Last week’s market behavior was also a reflection of the Sun’s translation to the Saturn/Uranus square. That is, on January 31, the Sun squared the Uranus part of the greater aspect, and on Friday, February 4, it conjoined the Saturn part. This is a strong reversal signal. Global markets complied, rising sharply from their lows of the prior week (January 24-28) to highs in the middle of last week (February 2). They then fell again into early Friday, with the Sun/Saturn conjunction, before embarking upon another strong rally during the day on Friday, only to sell off again in the last half hour. The DJIA, for instance, was down over 300 points early, then up over 200 points until the last half hour, then closed down on the day. It was that kind of week. It was the week of the Sun translating the Saturn/Uranus square as the Trickster’s retrograde cycle came to an end.

The movements were similar in Bitcoin, which also made a new multi-month low on January 24. It then reversed and turned out to be even more bullish than stocks on Friday as it exceeded a critical resistance mark at 40,000.

However, the real stars of last week were Crude Oil and the Euro currency. Crude Oil soared to another new 7-year high, rallying above 93.00. The Euro currency ended the prior week, January 28, at its lowest level since June 2020. But on Friday, February 4, following hawkish comments by the ECB that it may start a fight against its rising inflation numbers, the Euro rallied to its highest mark in nearly three months. Gold and Silver, on the other hand, floundered most of last week with no new cycle highs.


The U.S. national debt exceeded $30 trillion for the first time, reflecting increased federal borrowing during the coronavirus pandemic. “This is a jaw-dropping number that is a real cause for concern, said Maya MacGuineas, president of the nonprofit Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. It is the result of both borrowing for really important crises, most notably the COVID pandemic, but also trillions and trillions of borrowing for no reason other than politicians have stopped being willing to pay the bills.” – Amara Omeokwe, “National Debt Reaches Milestone,” Wall Street Journal, February 2, 2022.

People with differing views today don’t merely disagree; often, they can’t even comprehend how those on the other side could possibly think the way they do. That is to say, too often Americans aren’t listening to people on the other side closely enough to understand WHY they think what they think. Instead, the default position has become to move immediately to anger and then yell: You’re just crazy.– Gerald F. Seib, “Bridging the Listening Gap,” Wall Street Journal, February 1, 2022.

Mercury retrograde has now ended its current cycle, and like the Groundhog last week, saw its shadow and predicted six more weeks of winter. Actually, that’s not true. Mercury will continue in its “shadow” for another three weeks, until February 24, just about the time the U.S. will undergo the fourth passage  of its Pluto return (February 22). The first passage occurred January 30, 2021, shortly after Joe Biden assumed the office of U.S. President. Its last passage won’t occur until December 29, 2022, but as with all things involving Pluto, the events related to its return can continue up to two years afterwards. Pluto is like an incubator. That is, the decisions and behaviors take place as the aspect unfolds, but the consequences can take 1-2 years afterwards to fully manifest. Think of it like cancer. Most people, I observe, aren’t diagnosed with cancer when a Pluto aspect is exact. But they had it then. And they only discover it perhaps 1-2 years later. By the way, this does not mean anyone with a hard aspect from Pluto gets cancer. Most don’t. But the damaging qualities of Pluto in a hard aspect can be difficult and pose a threat to one’s situation if the behaviors that led to these problems are not corrected, removed, and healed.

The next major planetary signatures coming up involve the Venus/Mars conjunction of February 16-March 6. The reason this aspect lasts so long and happens twice is because Venus has just changed directions, from retrograde to direct on January 29, and hence it is moving slowly. Venus is usually faster than Mars in its orbit around the Sun because it is closer to the Sun than Mars. But when viewed from Earth, Venus appears to stand still when it changes directions (also known as a “planetary station”). Therefore, Mars is seen passing Venus on February 16. But then as Venus gets back up to its normal speed, it will cross Mars again on March 6. Thus, this entire period will be under a Venus/Mars conjunction. By itself, Venus/Mars is an aspect of lovers, for Venus is associated with lust and Mars with passion. It is also no coincidence that Venus is the symbol of the feminine and Mars the masculine principles.

This particular passage is interesting because when Mars crosses Venus on February 16, they are both at the end of Capricorn, with Pluto. In fact, on March 3, Venus and Mars are both conjunct Pluto in Capricorn, which means the Venusian quality of love may be more akin to its other realm of human activity of Venus which pertains to money. Venus is credit, Pluto is debt.

The importance of Venus conjunct Mars doesn’t end there either, for on March 6, when Venus finally catches up with Mars again, they are both entering a new sign – Aquarius. This is known as an “ingress.” The first degree of Aquarius is also where the Jupiter/Saturn conjunction took place on December 21, 2020. It was the first time Jupiter and Saturn conjoined in Aquarius in several centuries, and thus began the “New Aira,” as dubbed by astrologer Kat Powell at the time, when the 20-year Jupiter/Saturn synodic cycles will take place in air signs. The last time that air cycle began was about 800 years ago. These elemental eras last for approximately 200 years. Indeed, a “new era” is underway according to our great cosmic Chronocrator. Thus, the conjoining of Venus and Mars on this same degree on March 6 carries the themes of this movement into a new era.

And there is more. This same period is furthermore augmented by the conjunction of the Sun and Jupiter on March 5, followed  by the Sun/Neptune conjunction on March 13, which means the Sun is “translating” the forthcoming Jupiter/Neptune conjunction in Pisces of April 12. Jupiter conjunct Neptune is the only exact outer planet aspect (of Jupiter to planets beyond its orbit) taking place in 2022. It is a 14-year synodic cycle that carries the themes of expansion and idealism. Together they represent a spiritual quality, or one of self-sacrifice and desire to help others in need. It is a combination that lends itself to compassion and hope at best, delusion and hysteria at worst. Financial markets may be prone to either large rallies or sharp declines as boundaries of support and resistance can easily give way. Weather-wise this can correlate with heavy rains and floods. Socially, it can reflect an urge by populations to express their new sense of freedom, perhaps from the scourge of the coronavirus.

Both Venus and Mars, as well as Jupiter and Neptune, can correlate to a period in which strong romantic feelings are felt and expressed – visions of an idyllic state of mind or emotions. Both combinations are favorable for social interaction.

It appears that March and April will be months when people will want to get out and enjoy life again. Don’t be surprised if you feel like dancing, flirting, and probably trading if you are a trader (and if you are not, you will likely be willing to trade something for something else in any event). With Venus and Mars, people can either fight or make love. Venus also rules choices. We have some choices to make, and some may be quite exciting if we are able to integrate the best qualities of Venus (peace, love, and attraction) and Mars (passion), as well Jupiter (fun) and Neptune (romance).

However, as we enter this remarkable cosmic time band of February 16-April 12, keep in mind the crazy wisdom of Yogi Berra: “It ain’t the heat. It’s the humility.” 


NOTE 1: FEBRUARY 20, 2022: THE ANNUAL WORLDWIDE WEBINAR and Address on Forecast 2022 with Raymond Merriman. Save the Date! Starts at 10:30 AM, MST, which is 12:30 PM EST, 5:30 PM GMT, 6:30 PM CET. It will be very early in the morning in Australia, Beijing and Tokyo (4:30-6:30 AM).

In the comfort of your own home or office, you can tune into Raymond Merriman’s annual worldwide Forecast 2022 Webinar. This broadcast will address themes from this year’s Forecast 2022 Book, with updates on financial markets since the book was written in November 2021, including the U.S. stock market, Gold, Silver, Crude Oil, Euro, and Bitcoin. Cost is $55.00, and includes the slides of the presentation, plus access to the video recording of the event. Questions will be answered that are submitted one week before the event if they are deemed of interest to the overall audience. If unable to attend live, the video recording will be available the following day. For more information, go to Forecast 2022 Webinar.

NOTE 2: TODAY, FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 4, MMA will begin offering a weekly 10-15 minute YouTube video on the geocosmic climate related to financial markets. These videos will review the market activity of the past week and offer a preview of the geocosmic signatures in effect for the next week and beyond. The host will be MMTA Education Director and market analyst Gianni di Poce. Ray Merriman will also present on the first episode, and the one nearby to every new moon (monthly) after that. Like this free weekly column, there will be no cost. Stay tuned for further information on this exciting new feature by MMA and subscribe to our YouTube Channel today!

NOTE 3: ALSO ON FEBRUARY 4, MMA ADDED DAILY ANALYSIS ON ETHEREUM in the MMA Daily Report as well as the MMA Daily Bitcoin Report. The Ethereum daily analysis will be written by MMTA director, Gianni Di Poce. Ray Merriman will continue to do the analysis on all other markets of this report, including Bitcoin. Of all market analysts I know who follow Bitcoin and Ethereum, Gianni is one of the very few I am aware of who correctly called this downturn in both cryptos and the steepness of the decline well ahead of time. Several weeks ago, he gave an analysis on why Bitcoin and Ethereum may be starting a plunge to their 4-year cycle lows. For more information on subscribing to the Bitcoin/Ethereum separately or MMA Daily markets report (which will include both Bitcoin and Ethereum), visit MMA Daily Market Comments and Trade Recommendations and MMA Daily Bitcoin Report.

NOTE 4: The Forecast 2022 Book is now out and nearly sold out! The cost of Forecast 2022 is $55.00 plus shipping (no shipping costs for eBook version). Order both the print and eBook (Forecast 2022 Bundle) for only $75, a savings of $35. Order now before the remainder of this year’s edition sells out! There will be no additional reprints. When they are gone, they are gone. And four of the last seven years have sold out.

This year’s printed versions of Forecast 2022 will also be available in these languages from the below affiliates:





February 20, 2022: The Annual Worldwide Webinar and Address on Forecast 2022 with Raymond Merriman. Save the Date! Starts at 10:30 AM, MST, which is 12:30 PM EST, 5:30 PM GMT, 6:30 PM CET. It will be very early in the morning in Australia, Beijing and Tokyo (4:30-6:30 AM).

For more information and registration, go to Forecast 2022 Webinar. 

August 25, 2022: 1:00 PM, Denver, CO, ISAR Conference, 4-Hour Pre-Conference Workshop by Raymond Merriman on “ASTROLOGY AND THE ART OF FINANCIAL MARKET TIMING: HOW TO FORECAST TRENDS AND MARKET REVERSALS.” Financial markets offer objective means to test astrological validity. The Moon changes signs every 2-3 days and is valuable for short-term trading. Planetary stations and aspects identify longer-term market reversals. Approximately 4-5 times/year, markets will form important highs or lows, which are the most favorable times to buy and sell for position traders. This course provides research studies showing the correlation of astrological factors to short-term and longer-term financial markets. The focus will be upon stock markets, precious metals (Gold and Silver), and Bitcoin, and how to integrate astrology with cycle studies to attain optimal market timing skills. Visit for further information and register for a great event! 

Disclaimer and statement of purpose: The purpose of this column is not to forecast the future movement of various financial markets. However, that is the purpose of the MMA (Merriman Market Analyst) subscription services. This column is not a subscription service. It is a free service, except in those cases where a fee may be assessed to cover the cost of translating this column from English into a non-English language. This weekly report is written with the intent to educate the reader on the relationship between astrological factors and collective human activities as they are happening. In this regard, this report will often cite what happened in various stock and financial markets throughout the world in the past week and discuss that movement in light of the geocosmic signatures that were in effect. It will then identify the geocosmic factors that will be in effect in the next week, or even month, or even years, and the author’s understanding of how these signatures may affect human activity in the times to come. The author (Merriman) will do this from the perspective of a cycles’ analyst looking at the military, political, economic, and even financial markets of the world. It is possible that some forecasts will be made based on these factors. However, the primary goal is to both educate and alert the reader as to the psychological climate we are in from an astrological perspective. The hope is that it will help the reader understand the psychological dynamics that underlie (or coincide with) the news events and their potential effect on financial markets.  

No guarantee as to the accuracy of this report is being made here. Any decisions in financial markets are solely the responsibility of the reader, and neither the author nor the publishers of this column assume any responsibility whatsoever for anyone’s trading or investment decisions. Readers of this report should understand that commodity futures and options trading are considered high risk.