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.)
THE IRREPRESSIBLE SATURN SQUARE URANUS
One way or another, all of January is very much under the shadow of the Saturn-Uranus square, the Y2K aspect. As seen from Earth - i.e. from a geocentric perspective - these two planets remain within a five degree orb of their square aspect (90 degree arc) through January 10. The aspect was exact last year, on November 14. And it has been within five degrees of an exact square since the end of May '99. But don't think that the geocentric square easing after January 10 means the end of the Y2K aspect. The heliocentric square - the 90 degree arc between these two planets as seen from the Sun - is exact on January 29, 2000. It's been within five degrees of partile (exact) since mid-July '99, and doesn't leave this range until mid-August 2000. If you read last year's forecast - or my Year 2000 Forecast Highlights - you know what to expect: breakdowns in high-technology infrastructure (principally computers and communication) as well as criminal assaults on that infrastructure. The latter will be of two types: for financial gain, as well as to wreak havoc either for sheer vandalistic gratification or to make a political point. Computer viruses and hacker attacks are bound to be a part of this, but some of the chaos will stem from inherently poor system design. (Short-sightedness and the law of unintended consequences will always exact their toll.) True, these manifestations will be worse in some places, not so bad in others. But given the increased state of global interdependence, don't ask for whom this bell tolls.
While it certainly has its disruptive potential, I've already indicated that this same planetary configuration is the herald of savvy innovations in the computer and technology fields: new operating systems emerging or gaining a larger foothold, communication break-throughs that deliver ever greater functionality for an ever smaller price. So even as we're all busy fixing messes of one kind or another, there will also be new and better technological toys coming on line to play with. In other words, even in the midst of chaotic unplanned (but not unexpected) breakdowns and devilishly ingenious assaults on computerized systems and the like, there will also be progressive innovations: clouds yes, but silver linings too. Of course, if you're the beneficiary of the older technologies and operating systems being challenged by the upstarts at times like this, you're likely to look on the Saturn-Uranus square as a sign that the barbarians are tearing down the ramparts.
SATURN DOES A STANDSTILL
Coming to an apparent standstill in our skies, Saturn reaches its direct station on the 12th, ending the retrograde that began August 30, 1999. With it, as predicted, came the start of last year's major market correction - although it fell a few percent short of what I expected and indicated. This month's Saturn station is sandwiched neatly between the Venus-Pluto conjunction on the 9th and the Mercury-Sun conjunction on the 16th. Look for heavy trading, the kind that makes brokers richer - and most everybody else broker, at least in the short run. Saturn remains within a single degree of its station point all the way through February 13 (when Mercury squares Pluto). Odd that this should correspond so closely to a couple of key dates in the US Federal Reserve schedule: the release of the Beige Book on January 19, and the Federal Open Market Committee meeting February 1-2 (coming close on the heels of the January 31 Sun-Saturn square). My guess is that this peculiar confluence signals some profit-taking and portfolio sector-shifting, probably occasioned by a Beige Book that makes a Fed hike look very likely in February. If you're a long-term investor with a quality portfolio (not too heavily weighted in those over-valued stocks de jour), you can probably sit safely on the sidelines for this one. As indicated in my Year 2000 Forecast Highlights, "an economic collapse of the 1929 variety (is) still some years away." But if you're a day-trader loaded up on "highly speculative, liquidity-driven stocks from companies that can't turn a profit" - well, then you might want to sell short. (With that heliocentric Saturn-Uranus in effect now, some of the Internet high-fliers are apt to take a beating for a while.)
MARS SQUARES PLUTO
The trend of heightened Mars activation that began in November and continued through December spills over into January, with the Red Planet's square to Pluto on the 19th. (It's within five degrees of exact from the 12th through the 25th, so the carnage should taper off to normal mayhem levels after that.) If you don't already know what to expect, I can summarize it in one word: duck! Conflict and confrontation are the name of the game at times like this, and recklessness is the order of the day. Steer clear of the sort of places trouble is likely to strike, as much as possible. Bear in mind that teenage angst, road rage and all manner of short fuses can easily ignite many a powder keg during this final burst of martial energy. Now you know why running shoes are the preferred footwear of school kids. (Can Abercrombie & Fitch be far from bringing out their kevlar line?)
Meanwhile, the grownups who hypocritically bemoan it all are busy with more sophisticated pursuits - of the criminal, terrorist and/or military variety, for example. I suppose the waning of the Mars-Pluto square after the 25th must mean there's nobody left to kill in Grozny. Not that poor Chechnya will be the only hot spot . . . nor that all the mayhem happens by design. Haste makes waste at times like this, when spectacular accidents tend to become fairly commonplace. Be careful out there - especially in the fog, the heavy rain and snow. Not the best of times for travel by boat, rail or bus . . . how come they don't put seatbelts on those things, anyway?
This looks like more than the garden variety of accidents in transit, incidentally. Fires, chemical spills, gas clouds, noxious substances, explosives . . .
GEOCOSMIC SHOCK WINDOWS
The geocosmic shock windows for the month are particular critical phases in the Earth-Moon cycle - enhanced in some instances with a solar component. During such times, there's an increased potential for strong storms and unusual flooding (inland due to heavy rain, coastal due to high tides either alone or in combination with windstorms and heavy rain). A higher than normal risk for moderate to severe seismic activity is also in effect during these critical phases: this includes Richter 5 or greater quakes as well as volcanic eruptions. Watch the headlines, you'll see what I mean. These are times to avoid travel if possible, or at least to allow for weather-related delays. At home, make sure your emergency supplies are ample - just in case Mother Nature takes aim at your neighborhood.
January's shock windows start off with the new moon on the 6th. In effect from the 3rd through the 9th, this looks far more significant than the average new moon - although not quite in the same league as an eclipse or SuperMoon. (A SuperMoon, in case you don't know, is a perigee-syzygy: a new or full moon that occurs with the Moon at or very near its closest approach to Earth.) This particular new moon occurs close on the heels of Earth's perihelion (nearest approach to the Sun), and on the same day the Moon reaches maximum declination south of the equator. Like all such geocosmic alignments, this one is planetary in scale. Which means there's no place on Earth that's absolutely safe. Still, there are a few risk zones that stand out: Hawaii, South Africa, the eastern Mediterranean Basin, China, Indonesia and Australia; also the Venezuela-Guyana and Peru-Bolivia border regions.
The next shock window is a small and probably relatively mild one, in effect within about 30 hours either way of the Moon's northward equatorial crossing on the 13th.
The SuperMoon total lunar eclipse of January 21 shapes up as by far the most ominous geocosmic shock window of the month. It's in effect January 18-24, and comes only some 30 hours after the Moon reaches both its maximum declination north of the equator and its perigee (closest approach to Earth) on the 19th. Batten down the hatches! Although its potential is planet-wide, this one appears to be especially strong along a northwesterly arc that extends from the southwest tip of Africa into the Middle East, curving from there across Russia and over to the Aleutians, curving from there down to Hawaii; as well as on a north-south line extending from the west coast of Australia straight up into eastern China and Mongolia, and last but not least along a north-south line running from eastern Canada down through the eastern Caribbean into South America. (This latter zone lies at the heart of the region where the entire eclipse will be visible.)
Rounding out the geocosmic risk windows for the month is the relatively short and probably mild one that extends 30 hours either side of Luna's southward crossing of the equator on the 26th. This is followed by the initial phase of February's SuperMoon eclipse, which will start leaving its mark beginning on the 29th. Although potentially planet-wide as usual, the astro-locality map for the February 5 partial solar eclipse focuses on east Africa and the western British Isles, the US Midwest and eastern Canada, New Zealand and the far eastern stretches of Russia; and along a northwesterly arc from west India through Pakistan, across Russia over to Scandinavia. (Watch for this one to wreak havoc with power and communications infrastructure.)
SPECIAL FEATURE: This month's birthdays of the famous and infamous (with astrological birth charts)