From the November 2013 issue of Futures Magazine • Subscribe!

Unlocking W.D. Gann’s ‘The Tunnel Thru the Air’

Lessons learned

However, “The Tunnel” is light on trading details. Surprisingly, Gann makes no reference to the Square-of-9, geometric angles or charts, and even omits Dec. 1, 1926, the date cotton prices bottomed, from Gordon’s trading log. While he laces the book with numerous references to “wheels within wheels,” possibly a loose allusion to the “clothed in veiled language” spiral of the Square-of-9, he discusses none of the tools required for cracking this book’s secret.

Without an application of the Square, its angles and the era’s cotton chart, it is impossible to analyze Gordon’s trades. It appears that a great deal of the material Gann said is in the book is missing. He does send this signal on page 78, where, in capital font, he boldly tells the reader that “it is not my aim to explain the cause of cycles.” He then adds, rather patronizingly, that “the general public is not yet ready for it and probably would not understand or believe it if I explained it.”

To put the puzzle together, we must refer to Gann’s Master Commodities Course, as well as plot a chart of Gordon’s trades.

On page 331 of the Master Commodities Course, Gann vaguely refers to the Square, saying: It is “important because nine digits are used for measuring everything. If we divide 360 degrees by nine, we get 40, which measures 40 degrees, 40 days, 40 weeks and 40 months, and shows why bottoms often come out on angles measuring one-ninth of the circle. 

In Chapters 5A and 5B of the course, Gann elaborates upon the strength of the 180- and 360-degree angles, saying: “the 360-degree angle is strong because it ends the circle and returns to the beginning degree, and because it is opposite the 180-degree — the angle that equals half of the circle. As summer becomes hot and winter reaches frigid temperature extremes, 182 days later, so too does stock market action reach volatile extremes.” This is as far as Gann had ever gone to show the connection between the Square-of-9 and its 180- and 360-degree angles.

He had most certainly extrapolated from stories in the Bible that the seven years of famine followed by another seven years of plenty, and the 40 nights and 40 days of the Great Flood, indicate a 360-degree revolution of time. Eager to find a calendar-calculator capable of measuring time, and track the angular positions of spans, Gann turned to astrology where he discovered the zodiac’s cosmic clock — his Square’s prototype. It was humanity’s first instrument designed to track the movements of the sun, moon and the arrangement of planets that ancient civilizations used for maritime navigation at night and in projecting a river’s ebb and flow. Gann’s version of the zodiac navigates the ups and downs of markets. 

Albert Einstein once said that had the laws of the universe been complex, he would have had no interest in them. Given that the major divisions of time, including the orbits of the inner and outer planets (Earth and its moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn, Neptune, Jupiter and Uranus) are encoded onto the Square’s cardinals and diagonals (see “Time divisions,” below), intricate astrology masks the simplicity of its use and is, in fact, irrelevant to trading. If, for example, a stock advances for 28 days, and then declines for the same amount of time, knowing that the western cardinal’s numeral 28 denotes the length of one lunar month, does not, in any way, enhance your trading. 

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