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 made of the same stuff as the present.
-- Simone Weil
April starts out stormy, in more ways than one. There are the literal storms, the kind with high winds and heavy precipitation, which make headlines from March 29 through April 4. This is part and parcel of the normal run-up in meteorological and seismic activity associated with the April 1 new moon and the Moon's northward equatorial crossing that day. It's not in the same league as an eclipse, let alone a SuperMoon - like the one coming up on the 16th, the first such alignment of the year. Still, the March 29-April 4 period surely portends headline-making storms and seismic upheaval (including Richter 5+ quakes and volcanic eruptions). So do have your emergency kit handy and your pantry stocked, and allow extra time for weather-related delays if traveling.
Weather and seismic stuff aside, the real storms of early April will indubitably be the man-made variety. If you read my Year 2003 Forecast Highlights for the world at large, the outbreak of Gulf War II on March 19 (March 20 Universal Time), came as no surprise: "another US-Iraq war . . . a conflict between these two countries going critical early in the year: an attack, an assassination attempt, civilians and soldiers in harm's way, the whole martial mess." And if you read my March forecast, then you knew weeks in advance just about when to expect the bombs to start falling: "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." Combat having been joined on March 20 (Universal Time) - within a few days of March 23, per my forecast - then late March into early April appears to be a climax in the hostilities. April 1 is the day Mars opposes its position at the June 24 lunar eclipse, even as Saturn remains within a few degrees of its opposition to Pluto (with Pluto opposing the degree of the June 10 solar eclipse). Give or take a few days, this will probably be the bloody peak and last gasp of organized Iraqi resistance - the crescendo of the conflict, and the toll could be appalling. After that, a mop-up action culminates in occupation, and a sporadic intefada begins.
The start of Gulf War II hostilities within a day of the March 21 Mercury-Sun conjunction brings to mind a curious and possibly significant parallel between the years 1924 and 2003. This year's set of seven Mercury-Sun conjunctions all fall in the same place (within a degree) as those of 1924. (Mercury-Sun conjunctions repeat on a 79-year cycle.) Time will tell if these two years are echoes of each other in any sense. Much will be different, as most of the planetary phenomena are quite distinct - although Uranus is in Pisces in both instances. Some parallels are suggestive, such as George H. W. Bush being born in 1924 and his son being President in 2003. The first nation to withdraw from the League of Nations did so in 1924, which in retrospect can be seen as the beginning of the end of that world organization. Is 2003 the beginning of the end for the United Nations? And then there was the Teapot Dome scandal, a strategic petroleum reserve deal that enriched administration insiders, which was revealed back in 1924. If there's a similar revelation in 2003 regarding administration insiders and the oil business . . . well, maybe there's something to this Mercury pattern.
Speaking of petroleum, the Jupiter station in Leo on the 4th should mark the renewal of a general inflationary trend, led by oil prices, as well as gold. This will probably be slow and fitful at first, but momentum should increase as we approach the Jupiter-Neptune opposition of June 3 - the third and final pass of the 'three-peat' series of Jupiter-Neptune alignments that began last year. (Jupiter is within a degree of its station point from March 9 through April 29.)
There's another period of increased risk for strong storms and moderate to severe seismic activity associated with the Moon reaching maximum declination north of the equator early on the 9th. It's in effect from late on the 7th through early on the 10th, during which time news of storms and flooding as well as volcanic eruptions and Richter 5 or greater earthquakes will be noteworthy. But the biggest storm and seismic risk window of the month kicks in a few days later, in association with the first SuperMoon of the year, a full moon at 26 Libra on April 16 - the same day Mercury reaches maximum eastern elongation. This particular risk period is the month's biggest in two senses. For one thing, it's the longest, extending from April 13 through the 22nd. That's because the SuperMoon holds sway from the 13th through the 19th in its own right, to which must be added the Moon's south lunar declination maximum on the 21st (in effect from the 20th through the 22nd). And for another thing, this particular risk window includes a host of lunar factors indicating geophysical activation. These include the Moon's southward equatorial crossing on the 15th, the full moon on the 16th, the lunar perigee on the 17th and the aforementioned south declination maximum on the 21st. Add 'em all up, and it looks like April's strongest storms (heaviest precipitation, highest winds, most extensive flooding) and greatest seismic activity (strongest earthquakes, most spectacular volcanic eruptions).
With all this in mind, it's a good idea to be prepared in advance of the 13th. Have your gas tank filled, your batteries and canned goods and first aid kit ready, etc. (Screw the duct tape!) If traveling, be sure to allow extra time for weather related delays. Given that this April 16 full moon is part of a T-Square with Mars, travel delays may be due to terror threats as well as inclement weather. Granted, Earth is a big planet and even though the SuperMoon effect is planetary in scale, the odds that any one of us might run smack into a geophysical catastrophe during this particular risk window are fairly small. But it's still a good idea to be prepared rather than caught out in the open without resources, don't you think?
Planetary scale notwithstanding, astro-locality mapping affords a few hints as to the most vulnerable areas where the storm and seismic affects associated with the April 16 SuperMoon are concerned. These include southwestern Alaska, a north-south line running through Alberta, down into Montana and Idaho, roughly along the Utah-Nevada border, along the Colorado River and down through Baja California. (Halfway 'round the world, a mirror image north-south line runs through Pakistan and Afghanistan up into Russia.) And then there's the Mars line running through China and India . . .
Last but not least, with regard to the April 16 SuperMoon, the strong Mars signature of this particular alignment suggests a heightened risk of terrorism and military conflict on the geopolitical level, and person-to-person crime on the individual level. In short, a few days either side of the 16th would be a time to watch your back, to steer clear of people, places and situations where danger may arise. Some of these are easy to identify: the neighborhood biker bar, any nightclub favored by Charles Barkley, and of course just about anywhere in the Middle East or anywhere else cowardly Islamic terrorist thugs might consider a fair target. (Which is, for all intents and purposes, anyplace innocent, unarmed men, women and children might congregate.) Fires, accidents and crashes are part of this Mars pattern, too: be careful out there.
After a few days of relative calm on the geophysical front, a new cycle of heightened risk for strong storms, floods and seismic activity starts on the 27th, as the Moon approaches its April 28 northward equatorial crossing. This merges right into the May 1 New Moon effect, which continues through May 4. There is, once again, a strong Mars signature to this particular new moon, which is in a T-Square configuration to an opposition from Jupiter in Leo to Mars and Neptune in Aquarius. So be prepared for strong storms and moderate to severe seismic activity (including Richter 5+ quakes and, in this case especially, spectacular volcanic eruptions). Transportation tie-ups due to weather-related accidents are likely to make headlines during this period: allow extra time for travel, don't press your luck. And again, as was the case with the April 16 SuperMoon cycle, the April 27-May 4 interval emphasizes conflict, violence and accidents. From terrorist threats to crashes and explosions to ordinary criminality, there's a heightened potential for danger under this kind of Mars alignment.
April wraps up under a Mercury retrograde in Taurus, which begins with the little planet's station on the 26th and carries over to its May 20th direct station. Actually, this range covers only the most intense portion of the retrograde cycle. You're likely to see typical Mercury retro manifestations starting about April 16, when Mercury reaches maximum eastern elongation (a few days after passing the point where it will go stationary-direct on May 20). And these will likely continue through June 3, when Mercury reaches its maximum western elongation (a couple days before the little planet once again reaches the point where its retrograde began). May 7, the day of Mercury's inferior conjunction with the Sun, is probably the peak of the Mercury retro effect: a real communication scramble.
What to expect? Regulars know the drill by now. Mercury's retrograde can be summarized as a period when Murphy's Law pretty much reigns supreme. All else being equal, it's like this: stuff gets lost, messages get misplaced and misdirected, communications are garbled, schedules are warped, things in shipment take longer than usual. It's a good strategy to double-check everything, to have a backup plan ready, and to allow extra time for everything. Don't assume that people get the message, and don't be surprised if you find that you have to spend more time than you'd like back-tracking and fixing stuff you thought would have been over and done with by now. Sound crazy? Talk to me about it in June, when it's all behind us.
SPECIAL FEATURE: This month's birthdays of the famous and infamous (with astrological birth charts)