Investing with the Moon

The Saros cycle and the stock market

Posted by Danny on March 6, 2013

Once in a while I get questions about lunar and solar eclipses, or messages from readers who protest against my website stating that eclipses are rather irrelevant for the markets.

English: Total Solar eclipse 1999 in France. *...

English: Total Solar eclipse 1999 in France. * Additional noise reduction performed by Diliff. Original image by Luc Viatour. Français : L’éclipse totale de soleil en 1999 faite en France. * Réduction du bruit réalisée par Diliff. Image d’origine Luc Viatour. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I can’t help it that there is no consistent effect from eclipses as such.
It’s just a common sense thing. Any casual observer can find out that there are between 4 and 7 eclipses each and every year, so whenever there is a decline in stock markets, it is guaranteed that it will be no more than three months away from some eclipse, and about half of the time it will be less than a month away from an eclipse. But that doesn’t mean the market decline or panic has anything to do with the eclipse.
It is equally easy to observe that the stock market goes through many years without any panics worth talking about. So, then it must be clear that the 4 to 7 eclipses in that year didn’t cause anything special.

That being said, for somebody who wants to dig a bit deeper into eclipses, there are a few things worth considering.
Lunar and solar eclipses are not standalone events. Eclipses are related to each other in what is called the “Saros cycle“. I am not going to use this article to explain the Saros cycle, wikipedia and other sources will do a better job than I can do on that point. All we need to know for our purposes here, is that very similar eclipses occur every 18 years, and they create long series of connected eclipses that can stretch over more than a thousand years.

From the perspective of market panics, it can be found that certain Saros series have collected a bad reputation, so to speak.
For example the famous Tulip mania came to an end in 1637, near a solar eclipse belonging to Solar Saros 125.
Subsequent eclipses in Solar Saros 125 have marked years of other financial panics:
*1637: Tulip mania
*1736: Bank crisis (Amsterdam, Germany)
*1799: Crash in Hamburg
*1907: Bankers Panic (New York)
*1979: Market panic, dollar crisis (USA)
*1997: Asian financial crisis
The next eclipse in this series will come in November 2015

A solemn crowd gathers outside the Stock Excha...

A solemn crowd gathers outside the Stock Exchange after the crash. 1929. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Solar Saros 126 has been equally “productive”:
*1720: South Sea Bubble, Mississippi Company
*1792: Market crash (USA)
*1810: Crash (England)
*1828: Depression
*1864: Market crash (France)
*1882: Crash (France)
*1990: Start of crash in Japan
*2008: Worldwide financial crisis
The next eclipse in this series will happen in August 2026

Solar Saros 127 is also worth mentioning:
*1857: Crash (USA and Europe)
*1893: Crash and depression (USA, Australia and UK)
*1929: Wall Street crash and start of Great Depression
*2001: Market crash and 9/11
The next eclipse in this series will come in July 2019

Remember, there are about 40 active Saros cycles at any moment, and only a few of them have coincided with market crises on a somewhat regular basis. Within a given series the eclipses always come at 18 year intervals, and as we can see, even in the worst series not every eclipse came with meaningful trouble.
That’s why, if you were to give an astrologer some stock market charts (with dates removed), he would not be able to tell where the eclipses have come.
Bottom line: don’t get overly worried about upcoming eclipses. Most of them just come and go. It may be useful to keep an eye on the really “bad” Saros cycles we mentioned above.

By the way, the upcoming lunar eclipse for May 25th is a rare eclipse marking the start of Lunar Saros 150. For most of us this will be last time we experience the start of a new Saros cycle, because the next opportunity to see the start of a lunar Saros cycle will come in June 2096.

Be well,

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15 Responses to “The Saros cycle and the stock market”

  1. pimacanyon said

    Looks like the Saros cycle is derived from the movement of the Lunar Nodes which have an 18 year cycle. Rahu and Ketu in Vedic astrology. You get eclipses only when the Sun is within 15 degrees or so of one of the nodes and then when the Moon will conjoins the Sun, you get a Solar eclipse, and when it is in opposition to the Sun, you get a Lunar eclipse. The Nodes take 18 years to make a transit of the full zodiac.

    • Danny said

      The cycle of the nodes is only part of the story. A saros cycle is exactly 223 synodic months long, and after 3 saros cycles (nearly) the same eclipse comes back to the same place on earth. You can click the link to the wikipedia article to get the complete explanation of the saros cycle.


  2. Robert said

    Is there any good tool to keep track of those “bad” cycles?

    • Danny said

      Hi Robert,

      Wikipedia has articles for all the active Saros cycles.
      Just click on the blue links in the article here, to go to the page about “bad” Saros cycle in question.
      That shows you the dates for all the eclipses in that series.

      Other than that I don’t know of any “tool” for Saros cycles.


  3. A quality post Danny. I’d noted the 18 yr harmonic of the Saros Cycle as potentially significant for cyclical turns in the stock market. But, Identifying good and bad cycles is a master stroke. Nice work!


    • Danny said

      Thanks for your comment. One unsolved question I hope to look into is why, out of the 40 active saros cycles, it is the subsequent cycles #125, #126, and #127 that seem to have the worst effects. Why is this? Could it somehow be connected to their starting dates based on first eclipse in the series?

      • Fabs said

        Hi Danny,
        Thank you for all your interesting research.
        Saros 125 was born 17 Jul 1163, Saros 126 18 Jul 1228, Saros 127 9 Jul 1275.
        The next Saros 125 is due 28 Sep 2015, in the season when leaves fall and markets too…

      • Fabs said

        CORRECTION The next Saros 125 is due13 Sep 2015

      • Danny said

        Hi Fabs,
        Thanks for posting the dates.
        Yes, we have a Saros 125 eclipse in the autumn this year. Maybe it will give us another market panic in 2015?
        I’ll probably do an article on it some time this year. Stay tuned.

      • Fabs said

        Hi Danny,
        Do you know if there is any extensive list of panics, bubble bursts, or defaults classified by magnitude on the net? Wikipedia offers a list that looks more like a cut and paste compilation with a lot of redundant entries (e.g. Irish, Icelandic banking crisis, energy crisis, are just the results of the same drop of confidence and subsequent de-leveraging of the financial sector)

      • Danny said

        There are some lists that can be found through google search, some better than others… The older examples come from the book: Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

  4. Reblogged this on thedarklordblog and commented:
    Lunatic Trader takes a closer look at the Saros Cycle and the stock market to come up with some interesting findings.

  5. RM said

    The New Series of Saros 17 North is a lively and social one that brings VENUS with it (cf. sun & Moon); it is a solar partial on Oct. 23, 2014, and visible in N America) at 0 SCORPIO 22. I use conjunctions/oppositions and Placidus houses. House rulerships of any natal planets thus aspected are not so important to me as the natal “condition” of the contacted natal planet. Also, don’t overlook secondary progressed planet placements! For instance, in my case, prog. mars is on my birth venus/neptune at 1 deg. Scorpio (using sun in RA method). This will set off the mars progression conjoining natal venus/neptune sextile pluto.

  6. GBiz said

    Correction: The next Eclipse with Saros # 125, is coming this weekend: September 13, 2015. Not Novermber 2015 as listed above.

    Search Date Range: From Jun 1 1960 To Jun 1 2020
    Eclipse Types: All Solar Eclipses, All Lunar Eclipses, and Saros Number: 125
    Times reported are exact Lunar Phase (full or new moon)

    S/L Type Date Time Position Saros # Saros # Gamma Magnitude Duration SD Total SD Partial
    (UT) (vdB) (J/B) (Umbral) (Min:Sec) (Hr:Min) (Hr:Min)
    Solar Annular Aug 11 1961 10:35:44 am 18°Le30’34” 125 18 North -0.886 0.938 6:35
    Lunar Total Nov 29 1974 3:10:03 pm 07°Ge01’05” 125 0.305 1.295 0:38 1:45
    Solar Annular Aug 22 1979 5:10:25 pm 29°Le00’42” 125 18 North -0.963 0.933 6:03
    Lunar Total Dec 9 1992 11:40:40 pm 18°Ge10’15” 125 0.314 1.276 0:37 1:45
    Solar Partial Sep 1 1997 11:51:34 pm 09°Vi33’40” 125 18 North -1.035 0.898 0:00
    Lunar Total Dec 21 2010 8:13:27 am 29°Ge20’45” 125 0.321 1.261 0:37 1:45
    Solar Partial Sep 13 2015 6:41:13 am 20°Vi10’21” 125 18 North -1.1 0.787 0:00

    Any comment?

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