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©2003 by Richard Nolle
last revised UT 21:26 FEB 25, 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 something which everyone reaches
at the rate of 60 minutes an hour.

--C. S. Lewis

MAR 1 New MoonThe March 3 new moon looks significant at many levels. Geophysically, it's a signal of strong storms, flooding (coastal due to storm-driven high tides, and inland due to heavy precipitation); as well as moderate to severe seismic activity, including Richter 5+ earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. This particular storm and seismic risk window extends from February 28 through March 6; with the greatest risk coming between the 3rd and 5th (dates of the new moon and the northward lunar equatorial crossing, respectively). Travel plans during this period should allow extra time for weather delays. Whether in transit or cocooning, having an emergency kit handy isn't a bad idea at times like this. You should know the drill by now: water, candles, a flashlight and fresh batteries, etc. Duct tape? Now you're freakin' me out.

Actually, it's not the geophysical side of this lunation that's freaky - it's the geopolitical side. If the US hasn't found sufficient pretext to launch Gulf War II under all the February Mars activation, the trigger will surely end up getting pulled sometime in March. It could happen a few days either way of the March 3 new moon or March 23 Pluto station. But there are other red letter days in March, and an Iraq attack could begin within a few days of any of them. After all, Saturn remains within a degree of its February 22 direct station (part of a Mars-Saturn opposition) throughout March. Likewise, throughout March and into April, Pluto remains within a fraction of a degree of its March 23 retrograde station at 20 Sagittarius. (That's conjunct the degree Mars occupied at the February 20 Mars-Saturn opposition, and directly opposite the degree of the June 10, 2002 solar eclipse.) In addition, Mars crosses the degree of the June 24 lunar eclipse on March 9, and opposes its position at the same eclipse on April 1.

FEB 22 Saturn Station (Direct)A couple of target dates in particular look very much like the formal outbreak of Gulf War II - remembering, of course, that US Special Forces have already been on the ground in Iraq since last year, and that an intensified Anglo-American air campaign has been ongoing since October. The new moons on March 3 and April 1 are just what the Pentagon ordered in terms of stealthy night fighting. Give or take a few days either side of these dates, unless there are very good reasons not to - Saddam Hussein is assassinated or otherwise forced from power, or diplomatic considerations mitigate against it - the attack on Iraq is either underway . . . or it's off 'til around Labor Day.

As I indicated in my 2003 Forecast Highlights, the year's most significant Mars alignments - the strongest signs of war - come early in the year and then again from late August through late September. And it's the late August confluence - a Sun-Mars opposition and Mars super perigee - that rank highest of all, as the Red Planet makes its closest approach to Earth in over 70,000 years. Looking at all this, I can't help thinking that the question isn't whether there will be war this year, but how many. At the same time, I don't see any signs of an Armageddon scenario, either: there will be war, but not the war to end all wars.

MAR 18 Full MoonWhile significant Mars alignments are symbolic of war on the collective level, they also point to more prosaic dangers: fires, accidents, crashes, criminal assaults, and terrorist attacks. All of which means that it would be wise to watch out for the 'other guy' and steer clear of risky places and situations as much as possible this month - especially within a few days either way of the 3rd, 9th, 18th and 23rd.

The Moon reaching maximum declination north of the equator late on the 12th suggests a heightened potential for storms and seismic activity from early on the 11th through early on the 14th. This is followed on the 15th by the onset of the increased geophysical risk associated with the March 18 full moon at 27 Virgo - a risk window that extends through the 21st. This period includes, in addition to the full moon, a lunar perigee as well as the southward lunar equatorial crossing (both on the 19th); not to mention a grand cross including the full moon and a lingering Saturn-Pluto opposition. With all this in mind, March 15-21 appears to be the likeliest focus this month for strong storms, flooding, and moderate to severe seismic activity (including Richter 5+ earthquakes as well as volcanic eruptions).

MAR 21 Mercury-Sun ConjunctionThere's a peculiar combination of astronomical phenomena following close on the heels of the March full moon. It starts with the superior Mercury-Sun conjunction at 1 Aries on the 21st, followed by the Pluto retrograde station at 20 Sagittarius (opposing Saturn) on the 23rd. As these two events take place, Jupiter sits within a fraction of a degree of its April 4 direct station at 8 Leo - still within just a few degrees of its February 16 opposition to Neptune. The latter alignment, I correctly predicted, was a sign of a jump in oil and gold prices - which indeed peaked around the time these two planets were in exact opposition. (Gold peaked a bit before the exact opposition, oil a little after; and both have fluctuated. This was in keeping with my prediction that, despite the longer term upward trend, there would be "ups and downs".) Although these are different circumstances in late March, I believe this particular conflux of planetary phenomena suggests some kind of market panic as March draws to a close; coupled with another spike in gold and oil prices. The weekend of the 22nd-23rd as well as the following weekend look like good times to be out of the market. If you wait 'til the Monday after, it'll probably be too late.

In last month's forecast, I described the February 16 Jupiter-Neptune opposition as indicating that "identity theft" would be prominent in the news around that time. "Internet crime, hack attacks and a broader than usual assortment of worms and Trojans and viruses," I added, would "weaken the electronic infrastructure and shake the foundations of commerce and communication." Of course, it all came to pass right on schedule: on February 19, a major commercial credit card transaction processor announced that its computers "recently experienced a system intrusion by an unauthorized outside party." As many as eight million credit card numbers may have been stolen from the company in a "computer hacking incident," according to the FBI.

FEB 16 Jupiter-Neptune OppositionI warned at the time that this was a concern not just around February 16th, since the alignment remains "within a few degrees of being exact throughout February and into early March." Looking forward into March, seeing that Jupiter is still just four degrees from exactly opposing Neptune as Mercury aligns with the Sun and Pluto goes retrograde opposing Saturn, I suspect another security breach is waiting in the wings late in March as well. From Internet traffic to commercial transactions to supposedly secure personal information, the inner sanctums of our electronic society are vulnerable this month, especially within a few days either way of the 15th and 22nd.

After the full moon effect winds down on the 21st, a couple days relative calm are likely until the next storm and seismic risk window opens late on the 23rd, as the Moon moves toward its south declination maximum on the 25th. Through the 26th, look for a notable increase in strong storms and moderate to severe seismic activity (Richter 5+ tremors and volcanic eruptions). Another brief respite follows, until the April 1 new moon effect takes hold on March 29 and ushers in another storm and seismic risk period that lasts through the end of the month. You should know the drill by now: include bad weather contingencies in your planning, allow for weather delays if traveling, and have your emergency kit stocked and ready just in case.

Last but hardly least, I can't close out March without a brief mention of the Uranus sign change on the 10th, from Aquarius to Pisces. Although Uranus briefly slips back into Aquarius (from September 15 to December 30, due to retrograde), this is for all practical purposes the start of the seven-year Pisces transit of Uranus. (It's a transit that's over in 2011, after a brief sojourn in Aries in 2010 followed a retrograde back into Pisces.) Not since the 'Roaring 20s' - 1927, to be exact - has Uranus been in Pisces. Think medicine, think charity; think fashionable depravity and spiritual yearnings, brave explorers and master illusionists; think the biggest revolution in physics since quantum theory . . . think SETI. All this year? No, not each and every one. But all in good time, over the next seven years of the Uranus transit through Pisces.

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