If you were expecting some kind of sun sign nonsense, forget about it. This is real astrology for the real world. If it's real astrology for yourself that you want, you can get it by phone or in print. And if you need help deciphering the astrological glyphs in the graphics accompanying this article, see Astroglyphs: Astrological Symbols Guide. Please note: this forecast is expressed in terms of Universal Time (UT).
The cradle of the future is the grave of the past.
-- Franz Grillparzer
February is going to be a very busy month, with a surrealistic, slow-motion remoteness to it - as if we're more witnesses than participants, even though we're in the thick of things. Partly it's the Mercury intersolar cycle, which begins on the 7th as the little planet in its evening star phase reaches maximum elongation east of the Sun. This cycle remains in force until Mercury as morning star reaches maximum elongation west of Sol on March 22. The cycle reaches maximum intensity during Mercury's retrograde, when the little Sun-grazer catches up on Earth's orbit from the inside, and passes us like we were standing still - which, from our home planet, appears as though Mercury stands still, then moves backwards through our skies, then stands still again before resuming normal motion. This lasts from the retrograde station (standstill) on February 14, through to the direct station on March 8. In between comes Mercury's inferior conjunction on February 23, when Earth, Mercury and the Sun are all lined up with Mercury in the middle.
Mercury retrograde is the cycle when everything goes wrong, to hear some astrologers tell it. The truth, as I've taken some pains to emphasize over the years, is not so simple-minded. All things Mercurial are crucial during the intersolar Mercury phase; infrastructure, commerce, information, communication and transport being prime examples. Absent careful investigation and planning, and conscientious follow-through, all such things are apt to go off track during these cycles. There is "a time to every purpose under heaven," as the Preacher wrote (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Mercury's intersolar phase is a time for focus, concentration, planning, follow-through and communication - all the qualities of the active and involved mind, in short.
In case you haven't noticed, most people are not especially alert and focused most of the time. When this kind of sleepwalking runs into Mercury's intersolar cycle, with its focus on mental acuity, it doesn't take long for things to go awry. If you're sharp and focused and alert, you can avoid a certain amount of this mess. In fact, you can even prosper by concentrating on tasks that center on thought, planning and communication. But you'll still have to dodge all the messes created by the people who are sleepwalking. So be ready.
The sort of things to be ready for during the Mercury intersolar cycle that begins this month include strikes and other disruptions affecting transportation and communication (e.g. postal, phone, mass transit, trucking, airline, shipping, dock and warehouse workers, teachers and all manner of media). Weather both terrestrial and solar (including geomagnetic storms) can play a part in the kind of breakdowns described here, but human beings are definitely a part of the mix - sometimes through inattention, sometimes through malicious action. Power failures due to infrastructure breakdown and computer network disruptions caused by hacker attacks, software vulnerabilities and the like are also just a crossed wire or a keystroke away from a major mess at these times.
If I had to pick a day to have a backup generator all fueled up and ready to go, a backup plan in place in case the scheduled or expected didn't come to pass, a day to be especially sharp and steady and focused - it would be during a Mercury cycle like the one that kicks in starting on the 7th of this month. Keep your eye on the ball, take nothing for granted, follow up on everything, leave nothing unattended: that's all you need to think about for the next several weeks, by and large. That, and the truth - which tends to escape through the cracks at times like this, despite attempts to keep it down.
Well, not entirely. There's more to February than this Murphy's Law stuff, even if there's little that happens without being touched by it. There are a couple of major long-term planetary cycles in effect throughout the month, beginning with the Jupiter-Uranus square that was exact on January 22; which remains within a few degrees of exact throughout February and picks up some additional triggering from the Venus alignment with Uranus on the 7th and square to Jupiter on the 9th. And then there's the Saturn-Neptune opposition, which reaches exact alignment February 28 but stays within just a few degrees of exact the whole month long - and also picks up some additional trigger action on the 8th (Sun conjunct Neptune) and 10th (Sun opposing Neptune).
I covered these long term, historic cycles in some detail in my forecast for the year as a whole, and refer you to that source for more background on the implications of these particular celestial configurations. For now, suffice it to say that their activation throughout the month marks February as the stage for fundamental shifts in the world political and economic order. Some months seem to lurch forward with enough apparent inertia that no one suspects things could go off the track. This isn't one of those months.
I've already indicated that this won't be some huge dramatic and instantaneous cataclysm, but a series of settlings over a period of years that result in a new world order. The financial system is a key part of this, but political power is inextricably bound up in it as well. This month brings a few more of those shudders that settle the soufflé - not a bubble bursting in one catastrophic explosion, but a settling and shifting downward. Anyone who's been paying attention has seen this process already in progress for several years now. February gets even the inattentive to take notice that all's not well, that nothing is as secure as the authorities and experts maintain. The world financial system and the political order bound up with it both depend on confidence, and when confidence is shaken the whole edifice begins to crumble. Little shakes, little fore-shocks: that's what February brings.
Among the contributors to a decline in confidence in recent years has been the revelation that governments are ineffectual in the face of natural catastrophes, such as great earthquakes and storms. We're not through the cyclical (18.6 year) peak in such things yet, but February looks like the lull before the next storm. That's not to say that there won't be storms and floods and seismic upheaval this month - only that there's likely to be a whole lot more of such beginning in March. Still, there are a few geocosmic triggers worth watching in February. Have your bottled water and canned goods ready, your batteries charged and your fuel tank full a few days before and after the full moon on the 2nd, and a day or so either side of the lunar south declination extreme on the 13th. The most ominous period as far as storm and seismic risk goes extends from the 16th through the 22nd, surrounding the new moon and lunar perigee (Moon's close approach to Earth) on the 19th. And then comes the Moon's peak north of the celestial equator on the 25th - give that one a day or so either way to work itself out.
SPECIAL FEATURE: This month's birthdays of the famous and infamous (with astrological birth charts)