If you were expecting some kind of sun sign nonsense, forget it. This is real astrology. See the section above. Please note: this forecast is expressed in terms of Universal Time (UT).
The future is simply nothing at all.
Nothing has happened to the present by becoming past
except that fresh slices of existence have been added
to the total history of the world.
The past is thus as real as the present.
-- Charlie Dunbar Broad
August is bound to be an eventful month. It features the Mars super perigee (perihelic opposition, exact on the 27th), as Earth and the Red Planet have their closest encounter since prehistoric times. Also coming on strong toward the end of August is Pluto's direct station, as well as a Sun-Mars opposition (both exact on the 28th). A couple days later comes the first Jupiter-Uranus opposition in the Virgo-Pisces polarity since the Cuban Missile Crisis (the first with Uranus in Pisces since 1921). Moreover, August is the third month this year to feature a sign change by one of the gas giants: Uranus entered Pisces in March, Saturn's Cancer ingress was in June, and now Jupiter moves into Virgo at the end of August.
Uranus entering Pisces in March coincided with the spring SARS scare. Saturn's Cancer ingress in June was accompanied by a drop-off in the US real estate boom and President Bush's public opinion poll ratings. Bush was born with both Sun and Saturn in Cancer, and must face the November 2004 election under a Saturn return in that sign: not auspicious, considering that his popularity ratings began dropping since the Ringed Planet entered Cancer. The real estate market has likewise cooled down, in keeping with the sign Cancer's traditional association with real property and Saturn's dour image. (Hey, at least the gloom is off the telecommunications sector, with Saturn now out of Gemini: watch telecom take off for the next couple of years.) With Jupiter's August Virgo ingress, gold loses some luster; health care (especially pharmaceuticals and biotechs) enters a multiyear period of irrational exuberance, along with defense contractors, public sector and infrastructure suppliers. Speaking of health care, no sooner does Jupiter enter Virgo than it opposes Uranus in the first degree of Pisces: expect a public health threat not unlike the SARS scare - this may include but probably won't be limited to just a resurgence of SARS. Major planet ingresses aside, the real story this month is Mars . . .
Shining bigger and brighter than anyone alive has ever seen it in the night sky, Mars by the same token looms large dead overhead in the midnight vault of human consciousness this month - as it has all year, per my 2003 Forecast Highlights. The year's earlier Mars alignments heralded "Gulf War II" as predicted. August brings 2003's peak of violence to its climax in a sense, on the individual as well as collective level: criminality, terrorism, military posturing, war. Apart from murder retail and wholesale, look for a rash of other martial manifestations too, including crashes, fires and explosions. It's a time to be cautious and safety-conscious, to avoid conflict where possible - or to end it decisively and well otherwise.
Alarmist kook rants notwithstanding, don't be looking for an end of the world scenario as Mars draws near this month. Scares yes, but an actual apocalypse, no. The Grim Reaper will likely be busier than usual, but not to the point of exhaustion. Actually, this year's super perigee brings Mars only about 12 thousand miles closer than the 1924 Red Planet super perigee (mentioned by Edgar Cayce in a November 24, 1923 "reading"). While this year's perihelic opposition brings Mars as close as it has been in tens of thousands of years, the 1924 perigee wasn't far behind. You remember 1924: the year George H. W. Bush (father of the current President) was born, the year the League of Nations suffered its first defection, the year the Teapot Dome scandal broke, etc. (The year 1924 was also one first order recurrence cycle before 2003's set of Mercury retrogrades.) My point is that the world obviously got past the 1924 super Mars, and despite the Red Planet's closer approach this time around I'm sure we'll get past this one too - maybe with a bit more carnage and with some curious parallels (like the Bush connection, the Teapot Dome parallel to Iraqi oil and the fractious League of Nations/United Nations comparisons).
Given the early Pisces placement of Mars during its super perigee (just a few degrees from Uranus, and likewise only a few degrees from an exact opposition to Jupiter in Virgo), I look for Pisces and Virgo to be key archetypes for August's martial focus. As I mentioned in my 2003 Forecast Highlights, there are not a few birth charts of nations (and national leaders) featuring these degrees: these are bound to be major players in the drama unfolding this month. They include President Bush, North Korea and Iran, as I indicated months ago. I have since come into possession of North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Il's untimed birth data (February 16, 1942 in Habarovsk, USSR), which features the Moon in early Pisces - clearly in the crosshairs during the August Mars super transits.
Islamist terrorists are part of the August action as well, given the Mars super perigee ties to the birth chart of Islam (also previously noted). Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's two sons were shot dead by American troops in Mosul on July 22, as Mars pulled within a half-degree of its July 29 station point. Revenge killings by Iraqi terrorists have continued at an elevated pace ever since. (As I warned in my 2003 Forecast Highlights, "Whoever thinks a swiftly concluded Persian Gulf War II settles into a Pax Americana early in 2003 is tragically mistaken." The Red Planet remains within just a few degrees of that same point throughout most of August - and then moves into more potent positions. The intefada in Iraq can only be expected to intensify during this cycle, growing throughout August toward a peak when Mars opposes Jupiter on September 8. (Mars opposed Jupiter at the foundation of Baghdad on August 2, 762.) However, again as noted in my 2003 Forecast Highlights, this late August Mars peak may point to a terrorist attack that "seems to focus on technical and economic infrastructure (e.g. computer and network assaults) - or uses highly advanced military weaponry." An American anti-terrorist preemptive attack on a high-tech target would fit the pattern as well. Given that Mercury's retrograde starts on the 28th as well, a major computer and communications (and transport) mess is likely as August wraps up anyway. Information warfare may well be only a part (or an exploitation) of the general chaos.
August 27 and 28 - the Mars super perigee and Sun-Mars opposition respectively - are the exact dates of this month's heightened Red Planet focus, but they're far from the only days to be on guard. After all, Mars is within a few degrees of its sensitive July 29 retrograde station through August 20, at which point it's within a few degrees of the August 27 perihelic opposition. So this super Mars profile lasts throughout the month. It's most prominent toward the beginning and end of August, but there's not a single day that doesn't fall under the aegis of this month's super Mars.
The major Mars themes notwithstanding, there's other stuff happening out in space this month. August opens under a shadow of vulnerability to strong storms (high winds and heavy precipitation), inland and coastal flooding, and moderate to severe seismic activity (including Richter 5+ quakes and volcanic eruptions). This particular risk period is in effect from the 1st through early on the 4th. It's associated partly with the remnants of the July 29 new moon effect, partly with the Moon's southward equatorial crossing late on the 2nd. None of this month's lunar phenomena suggests anything as potent as the eclipses and SuperMoons coming up later this year, mind you. But that still leaves room for plenty in the way of geophysical disturbances. As is likely starting on the 5th and continuing through the 7th for example, what with the lunar perigee on the 6th. The storm and seismic stress factors really take off from the 8th through the 17th, judging from a combination of lunar factors starting with the Moon's south declination maximum on the 9th, leading right into the full moon at 19 Aquarius on the 12th and then the lunar northward equatorial crossing on the 16th.
World political and financial developments - a clash with casualties, an attack and a sudden market mania - seem likely to grab headlines a few days either side of the Venus-Sun conjunction on the 18th. But storm clouds, flood tides and earth tremors come to the fore again starting on the 22nd, in advance of the Moon's north declination extreme on the 23rd. This sets up a geophysical stress window that continues through September 1, what with the August 27 New Moon at 4 Virgo, the Moon's southward equatorial crossing on the 30th, and the lunar perigee on the 31st.
With all of these lunar phenomena, you should be prepared for nature's savagery during the indicated periods, just in case: strong storms with high winds and heavy precipitation, inland and coastal flooding (including mudslides) and strong tidal flows, and moderate to severe seismic activity (including Richter 5+ quakes and volcanic eruptions). Allow for weather delays if traveling, have foul weather options if you're planning outdoor activities, and be sure your emergency plans and preparations are in order. Most of us won't be touched by anything too severe during these intervals - but those who are will fare better if prepared.
Don't forget the Mercury retrograde cycle that begins on the 28th: this is the "Murphy's Law" indicator par excellence. Whatever can go wrong probably will during the Mercury retrograde, which continues at least until Mercury goes direct on September 20th. Actually, the effect is felt in one form or another from August 14 (Mecury's maximum eastern elongation) until September 26 (Mercury's maximum western elongation). It's probably most intense around the time of the September 11 inferior conjunction (when Mercury passes between Earth and Sun). Communication and planning are the chief vulnerabilities during this Mercury cycle: take pains to be clear and careful, take nothing for granted. Remember that communication and transportation infrastructure are just one mistake away from collapse at times like this: hope for the best, and have a Plan B just in case. (And if you're really clever, you won't stop at Plan B.)
SPECIAL FEATURE: This month's birthdays of the famous and infamous (with astrological birth charts)