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©2003 by Richard Nolle
last revised UT 23:50 JUN 30, 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 the worst thing about the present.
-- Gustave Flaubert

JUL 29 Mars Station (Retrograde)June had several fairly major planetary phenomena, and August will have quite a few more. In between comes July, with only one celestial event of any real note in its own right. That’s the Mars station at 10 Pisces, and it doesn’t happen until the 29th; although the Red Planet is within a few degrees of its station point from about July 8 through August 21. Still, this is no ordinary Mars retrograde. It’s the prelude to a close encounter of the Martian kind, as Mars makes its closest approach to our home planet since we shared it with the Neanderthals, some 70,000 years ago. I’ve already covered the Mars super perigee in my 2003 Forecast Highlights, so you should know that August is when it happens. The July retrograde station gives only the slightest hint of what the August super-perigee and September opposition to Jupiter herald. Bearing in mind that the main event is still a couple months away, watch for the precursors starting as early as July 8: a surge in crimes of violence (both individual and collective, as in terrorist atrocities), heightened military confrontation and threats, spectacular fires and explosions. What the heck, you have plenty of time to get ready for August and September.

JUL 13 Full MoonWith no SuperMoons or eclipses, this doesn’t shape up to be the worst month of the year by a long shot, when it comes to the potential for natural catastrophes. The first couple days of July carry over an elevated storm and seismic risk from the June 29 new moon. It’s a time to keep a weather eye on the sky, to have a fallback option in your outdoor plans – just in case a storm blows in on you. Of course, as far as the seismic risk factor is concerned, there isn’t much you can do in the way of preparation, other than keeping your pantry stocked and your emergency kit handy. There’s no escaping some fairly strong storms and a moderate to severe quake or two (Richter 5 or higher – even a volcanic eruption) during these opening days of the month. Here’s hoping you only see, hear or read about them in the news – at a safe distance. Things should settle down for a time by the 3rd.

Another trend from June that carries over into July is the combination of Saturn and the sign Cancer, which began when the Ringed Planet entered that sector of the zodiac back on June 4th. As mentioned in my 2003 Forecast Highlights, "this is not a good sign for real estate prices." And that’s not the only market move suggested by Saturn’s sojourn in Cancer, as I noted: "the dollar’s decline relative to other major world currencies is another trend associated with the Saturn in Cancer transits." Still only a few weeks into this cycle, it’s too soon to look for huge trends at this point. But the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac scandals in June seem to point in the direction indicated in my forecast. Look for related and similar developments around the 1st and 8th of this month – give or take a few days – as first Mercury and then Venus align with the Ringed Planet.

JUL 29 New MoonOnce the June 29 new moon turbulence dies down on the 2nd, a more normal seismic and meteorological regime prevails until the 5th, as the Moon nears its southward equatorial crossing on the 6th. This sets up a heightened potential for strong storms and moderate to severe seismic activity that lasts until early on the 8th. A similar slight up-tick in storm and seismic risk comes with the lunar perigee (closest approach to Earth) on the 10th, leading into the south lunar declination extreme on the 12th and full moon at 21 Capricorn on the 13th. Add ‘em all up, and you get a geophysical risk window that lasts from the 10th through the 16th. This ups the ante for strong storms and moderate to severe seismic activity (including Richter 5+ quakes as well as volcanic eruptions). Plan for weather-related delays if traveling, and make sure your emergency preparations are current just in case. Still, while the headlines will be replete with evidence of storms, flooding, quakes and the like during the indicated period, I don’t expect the worst such incidents of the year. That doesn’t mean it can’t be pretty intense in any one particular location though, and it always feels like the end of the world when Mother Nature goes crazy in one’s own neighborhood.

After a few days of relative calm, geophysical stress levels rebound briefly a day and a half either side of the Moon’s northward equatorial crossing on the 19th. But the biggest surge of the month kicks in late on the 25th (ahead of the Moon reaching maximum north declination on the 27th). It continues, thanks to the new moon on the 29th at 6 Leo and the Moon’s southward equatorial crossing on August 2nd, all the way through August 4. Between the Mars station on the 29th and a couple Mercury aspects before and after that, I expect that severe storms with high winds and heavy precipitation will be big stories during this period: floods and landslides, traffic closures, airport shutdowns and sailors in peril are likely all on tap before this is done. (Moderate to severe seismic disturbances – volcanic eruptions, Richter 5+ tremors – are part of this same potential, but I expect storms to be the bigger newsmakers this time around.)

Nature on a rampage notwithstanding, most of the headlines as July turns into August can be read from the Mars retrograde station at 10 Pisces. Betrayal, confrontation and revenge are themes that shape the course of history at times like this. Ideologues wring their hands and wail over the slaughter of innocents. Then they go out and do it again. "Mankind," Heidegger wrote, "is the strangest of the strange."

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