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). Current UT date and time appear at the top of this page. (To update display, use your browser's reload/refresh button.)
Once the rough weather and seismic action eases after the 1st - a leftover from the June 28 full moon - one of the biggest stories this month will be computer viruses, crashes and break-ins. While this will no doubt kick in from July 1st on, it's a story that will especially pique public interest around the 12th (when Mercury goes retrograde), the 18th (when Saturn squares Uranus), and the 26th (when Mercury is conjunct the Sun). That Saturn-Uranus square is the prime aegis of all this, and it's within a degree of being exact from the 8th through the 27th. A hard Saturn-Uranus aspect - a conjunction, square or opposition, in other words - is typical of high technology breakdowns. (For more, see my 3,000-year tables of the Saturn-Uranus conjunction and square.) As I pointed out in my 1999 preview, "the last hard Saturn-Uranus aspect was the October 18, 1988 conjunction in Sagittarius some two weeks before the 'Morris Worm' wrecked the Internet." This time it's high stakes cybercrime, directed by hackers against the electronic infrastructure: banks, the 'Net, large corporations, the government. A lot of this stems from the customary "because it's there" motivation of your run-of-the-mill amateur hackers - a kind of cyber vandalism, if you will. Some of this will get pretty nasty, as the community of hackers lashes out at targets of opportunity in retaliation for the arrest and prosecution of their own. But this time around, some of the worst offenses will come from criminals who find computers a lot better than guns when it comes to a heist. A big heist.
This computer crunch will not be limited to hacker vandals and cybercrooks, nor to July. In the first place, this month's geocentric Taurus-Aquarius square between Saturn and Uranus will be repeated in November '99 and again in May 2000, so this is more than just a passing fancy. (There's also a heliocentric square in January 2000.) And in the second place, not all the computer crises will be due to the shenanigans of criminal intruders. Software and operating system design flaws will grab the spotlight, and the much-ballyhooed Y2K bug is likely to rear its ugly head this month as well. (No Virginia, this isn't Christmas in July: it's Y2K reaching back from the future.)
Although mentioned only in passing earlier, the Mercury retrograde that starts on the 12th bears watching. It ushers in one of those Murphy's Law run amok periods: communication breakdowns, misunderstandings, transportation tie-ups and the like are par for the course at times like this. Coming as it does so close to the Saturn-Uranus square, this latest visitation of the retrograde Mercury is bound to be an even bigger comedy of errors than usual. Have a Plan B ready. And a Plan C. Expect to use them too, by the time Mercury turns direct on August 6. (For 3,000 years of Mercury retrogrades, see my online tables.)
Another big story this month is bound to be the financial markets, which are teetering toward a substantial correction. While we still have some good up-side potential this month - especially around the 7th, possibly around the 18th as well (although there are some troublesome potentials then) - Saturn remains within a degree of its August 30 retrograde station from July 26 through October 19. That pretty well stakes out the interval during which this year's most significant correction in the equity markets should begin. Since the station is exact on August 30, odds are good that the correction - which I expect will be at least 15-20 percent - will begin around that date. (The solar eclipse of August 11 may serve to trigger it.) But it's coming closer with every passing day in July, and could actually start toward the end of the month - perhaps as early as within a few days of the July 28 lunar eclipse or the June 30 Venus retrograde station. If you have an opportunity to take profits from speculative investments during those July up-ticks, and move them into something very secure for a time - take it. And don't wait too long. A few weeks or at most a month or so from now, it will be too late.
Relax, the sky won't fall. Or rather, it will fall - but then it will bounce back up again. Getting out on the high side and buying back in near the lows could produce a profit in the neighborhood of 15-20 percent. On the other hand, if you're a long-term investor with a horizon stretching years ahead, you might just as well sit tight. The big drop from which there is no quick recovery won't happen this year. Equities will rebound from the summer-fall bear breakout, probably in just a few months.
That Mars-Jupiter opposition on the 10th repeats an aspect which was in effect from May 22 through June 16. The last time, these two planets were in Libra and Aries respectively. This month, it's a Scorpio-Taurus opposition in the second degree. All those "Special K" conflicts - Kosova, Korea, Kashmir - that have been simmering since the March 18 Mars station are apt to flare up again around the 10th. Ironically, Slobodan Milosevic is likely to feel the net closing in this month as well. The Mars-Jupiter opposition on the 10th squares his natal Pluto, while the lunar eclipse on the 28th opposes it. He's hardly the only major player on the world stage who's strongly aspected by the Mars-Jupiter and lunar eclipse combination around three degrees of the fixed signs. Actually, it's a list that includes Bill and Hillary Clinton, as well as Boris Yeltsin - who faces yet another challenge, perhaps the most difficult of his tenure. (No, not Castro, not this month.) Unpopular decisions and angry partisans can make life hard for people in such a position. Pope John Paul II's natal Neptune falls in this same area, as well as his midheaven if his own statement that he was born around 5:00 PM is correct. A spiritual retreat for the Bishop of Rome in July, perhaps? And then there are all those national charts with major fixed sign placements, including Japan, Israel and the Koreas: the July Mars-Jupiter opposition and lunar eclipse signal a potential for challenge and conflict in places like this. None of this looks like more than preliminaries to the crunch time that falls around the August 11 solar eclipse, however.
The July 13 new moon, in effect from the 10th through the 16th, is hardly in the same league as a SuperMoon or even the eclipse at the end of this month. Still, it signals a heightened potential for strong storms, flooding and moderate to severe seismic activity (including Richter 5 or greater quakes and volcanic eruptions) within three days before and after the fact. Coming as close as it does to the aforementioned Mars-Jupiter opposition, this particular new moon may be a little stronger than most - particularly where coastal storms are concerned. Earthquake damage in areas where the subsoil is subject to liquefaction are apt to be especially damaging during this interval. Do keep a sharp weather watch on the period from the 10th through the 16th. If your plans include travel, be sure to allow extra time for weather-related delays - just in case.
I mentioned the period around July 18 as a contradictory kind of time for the markets. The Venus-Jupiter trine in effect a few days before and after that date bodes well for brokers and banks, for retail generally. But the Saturn-Uranus square is exact that day as well - not a good sign for the hi-tech stocks, nor for the online community (including brokers). This one could go either way. My best guess is that the 16th will be good for the financial stocks if technical problems don't halt or delay trading. If that comes through, then look for a widespread fallback on the 19th.
And then there's the lunar eclipse on the 28th, another harbinger of severe storms and moderate to severe seismic activity (including volcanic eruptions and Richter 5 or greater quakes). This one is in effect from the 25th through 31st. Allow for some flexibility in your itinerary if you have travel plans during this period, in case of weather delays. (Non-stop flights are always best, but they're practically essential at times like this.) And do keep a weather eye on the sky, a few extra candles or lantern batteries in the pantry, etc. Storms are a big enough nuisance without letting them make you stumble around in the dark. And there will be some big storms as July winds down . . . big quakes too, and some noteworthy volcanic activity. Incidentally - my apologies - I mistakenly identified the July 28 lunar eclipse as a SuperMoon in my 1999 forecast preview. That was an error on my part: this is purely an eclipse, not a SuperMoon on top of that.
Being planetary in scale, eclipses are global in effect. Still, a glimpse at the astro-locality map for the July 28 full moon eclipse does suggest a few areas of special risk. These include the eastern US and an arc that runs from northern Alaska southeastward through the Plains States and down through the Gulf of Mexico into western South America; also a north south line running from western Scandinavia down through the western Mediterranean Sea and west-central Africa; and Southeast Asia on into northern China.
SPECIAL FEATURE: This month's birthdays of the famous and infamous (with astrological birth charts)