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©2003 by Richard Nolle
last revised UT 16:58 JAN 29, 2003
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 just as much a condition of the present as is the past.
"What shall be and must be is the ground of that which is."

--Friedrich Nietzsche

FEB 1 New MoonSome of the strongest storms of the winter are on tap as January turns into February. It starts January 29, under the aegis of the Moon hitting maximum south declination on the 30th. This particular lunar extreme ushers in a storm and seismic risk window that doesn't ease off to normal until February 8. Regulars know what to expect by now: an upsurge in strong storms with heavy precipitation (and attendant flooding, mudslides, etc.); plus moderate to severe seismic activity, including Richter 5 or greater earthquakes as well as volcanic eruptions.

The new moon at 12 Aquarius on the 1st is part of this storm and seismic signal, which is amplified by the northward lunar equatorial crossing on the 6th. Severe winter storms, bitter cold blizzards and a thicker than usual smattering of earthquakes are suggested by the simultaneous Jupiter-Neptune opposition, with the new moon falling right on the latter planet. Fuel delivery problems due to high heating demand and weather-related delivery delays can be a real threat to the safety and welfare of millions of people caught up in the deep freeze. (Deaths due not just to the cold, but to fire, smoke and carbon monoxide poisoning caused by people desperate to stay warm make tragic headlines.) The price of heating oil, already headed up, could spike in the midst of this wintry blitz.

FEB 16 Jupiter-Neptune OppositionStorms on the global economic front are also on tap early in February. The new moon happens right on the Aquarius end of the Jupiter-Neptune opposition. Although that alignment doesn't become exact until the 16th, it's within a few degrees of being exact throughout February and into early March. Doubt, fear and uncertainty are the hallmarks of such an alignment. Wars and rumors of wars are a substantial part of the reason for these things, but not the only cause: fraud and theft shake confidence as well. Identity theft in particular looks like a major theme behind the uncertainties signified by this month's Jupiter-Neptune opposition. Internet crime, hack attacks and a broader than usual assortment of worms and Trojans and viruses: these things weaken the electronic infrastructure and shake the foundations of commerce and communication.

FEB 16 Mars-Pluto ConjunctionOther confidence-shakers notwithstanding, the threat of war - including terrorism, the unconventional form of warfare that is now becoming commonplace - is the real fly in the economic ointment. Markets hate uncertainty, and there's not much in this category that ranks higher than the prospect of war. The outbreak of hostilities between Iraq and the US is at this point only a formality. American Special Forces have been operating inside Iraq for months now. A limited air war has likewise been in progress for months. All that remains is for the spark that turns a simmering struggle into a raging conflagration. February has any number of celestial sparks for war and terror, so to speak. There's Mars crossing the degree of the December 4 solar eclipse (12 Sagittarius) on February 4, for starters. And that's just for starters. The Red Planet aligns with Pluto at 20 Sagittarius on the 16th, the very day of the Jupiter-Neptune opposition. And this happens with Mars and Pluto less than three degrees from an exact opposition to Saturn - an opposition which Mars does reach exactly on the 20th. You remember the Mars-Saturn opposition: the aspect that heralded the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. Making this particular Mars-Saturn alignment all the more potent is the fact that it happens with Saturn virtually stationary. In fact, the Ringed Planet's direct station takes place on the 22nd, just two days after the Mars opposition. So much Mars action compressed into so small a window in time - no wonder the winds of war are stirring.

FEB 20 Mars-Saturn OppositionAs I've said before, Gulf War II looks pretty much inevitable given the policy direction of the Bush administration and the trend of Red Planet configurations in early 2003 - "assuming, of course, that the Butcher of Baghdad isn't disposed of in a coup first." If the string of Mars alignments from February 4 through the 20th - in effect within a few degrees throughout the month - doesn't bring Saddam down one way, it will probably take him down another way. There's just too much Gemini-Sagittarius Mars action going on here, which sets off the US chart so strongly that I can't see how this can end up short of war - unless a coup takes out the Butcher of Baghdad first and renders a war superfluous.

FEB 22 Saturn Station (Direct)However it's resolved, somehow the Iraq issue does get (forcefully) resolved to the point of restoring some measure of certainty to world financial markets. Saturn's direct station on the 22nd - within a degree of being exact all month, and well into March - is a sign that equity markets hit bottom, find a floor, and then start building toward their next blow-off. (That'll probably come sometime in late May-early June.) Meanwhile, Iraq is hardly the only focus of martial potential in the world in this month fraught with danger. There's Korea for example, and Afghanistan, and Israel; and anyplace terrorists can find an easy target. Moreover, as Yogi says, "it ain't over until it's over." And it ain't over in February, for sure. As previously noted, there's even more Mars activation later on this year. So February looks more like a case of one shoe dropping . . .

While the headlines tend to focus on the geopolitical level, all this February Mars stuff adds up to a month of mayhem at other levels as well. Accidents, fires, crashes and criminal violence are bound to be heightened under the aegis of the Red Planet activation that continues pretty much unabated all month. The individual dates of exact aspect mentioned above - the 4th, 16th and 20th - may be extreme, but they're just the approximate peaks of a very high month-long cycle. Be careful out there: look out for the other guy, steer clear of places where trouble is likely to strike, play it safe as much as possible.

Gold and oil prices, as I have already indicated, are headed north under the Jupiter-Neptune opposition. Which should mean the climb to elevation continues fairly consistently throughout February. In my forecast for the year as a whole, I said of gold: "the overall trend should take the precious metal to a price pinnacle not seen in many years." As I write this, January isn't done yet and already gold has hit a six-year high. The February Jupiter-Neptune opposition should see it climb higher still - with oil not too terribly far behind.

FEB 16 Full MoonWith all this human-caused trauma and uncertainty in the air, there's nothing like a little havoc from Mother Nature to show who's really in charge. Another bout of storm and seismic extremes looks likely between the 12th and 20th. It starts as the Moon reaches maximum declination north of the celestial equator on the 13th. The February 16 full moon at 28 Leo - opposed by a Sun-Uranus conjunction - then takes hold. Before it relents, there are a couple of lunar factors on the 19th that add an extra kick to this mid-February full moon; namely the lunar perigee and the southward crossing of the celestial equator. I make this out to be the strongest indicator of the month, with regard to the potential for severe storms, flooding and earthquakes - and volcanic eruptions. If you're traveling during this period, it wouldn't hurt to pad your itinerary to allow for weather-related delays. Meanwhile, keep an eye on the headlines for the chronicles of geophysical disturbances: lots of material for gripping reading at times like this. And if you live in or plan to visit someplace cold, be ready with alternate means of staying warm in case of public utility failure, fuel shortages and price hikes, etc. At the same time, remember that Mars is still strong all month: mishaps caused by people trying to beat the brutal cold can be fatal, whether through fire, suffocation or whatever.

Following a return to relative seismic and meteorological calm, look for another upsurge in storms and quakes and such from the 25th through the 27th, a day either way of the Moon reaching maximum south declination declination on the 26th. After the full moon effect earlier in the month, this one last burst will seem relatively minor in comparison. It's as though time itself had decided to give Planet Earth a bit of a breather, after a breathlessly eventful month.


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