If you were expecting some kind of sun sign nonsense, forget it. This is real astrology. See the section above. And if you need help deciphering the astrological glyphs in the graphics accompanying this article, see Astroglyphs: Astrological Symbols Guide. Please note: this forecast is expressed in terms of Universal Time (UT).
I am not afraid of tomorrow,
for I have seen yesterday
and I love today.
-- William Allen White
The December 20-26 surge of awfully destructive storms and earthquakes came through right on schedule - the most notable example being the monster quake that leveled Bam, Iran. It was indeed, per my forecast, "the most turbulent storm and seismic cycle of the month." It looks as though Mother Nature starts out the new year on a much quieter, calmer note - at least for the first couple of days. January will have its natural disasters, too; but nothing on the scale of those associated with last month's SuperMoon alignment on the 23rd.
Jupiter's retrograde station at 19 Virgo on the 3rd is the first notable celestial marker of the month. However the giant planet has been within a single degree of this station point since December 9, and remains within a degree until January 29, so don't expect any sudden surprise developments on the 3rd. Jupiter coming to a standstill as seen from Earth, and then appearing to move backwards in the night sky for several months: it's something that happens once a year. This year's retrograde lasts until May 5, and it's the first one in Virgo since the 1991-92 transit.
Somewhere in that one degree December 9 - January 29 zone surrounding Jupiter's station should represent something of a temporary top in the bull market in gold; which began, as predicted, back when Jupiter entered Leo. Not to fret, gold bugs: your precious metal isn't done with its current run yet. I figure it's back on an over-all upward arc around the time of Jupiter's direct station in May - within a degree of that point, one way or the other. And in any case the gold rush probably has a several months to run after that, until about the time Jupiter enters Libra in the fall.
Among other things that come to mind associated with the Jupiter station in Virgo, there's a public health scare. Mad cow disease and SARS have been in the news again since Jupiter entered a one-degree orb of the station point back on December 9. But I'm sure that won't be the end of it. A food borne illness, e. coli, Norwalk virus, hepatitis, the flu, contaminated medical supplies, contaminated food recalls, medical mistakes . . . take your pick this month, just wash your hands, take your vitamins and hope for the best. And please, if you're sick, stay in bed if you can and try to spare the rest of us.
Jupiter's retrograde is the only one that starts this month, but the Mercury retrograde that began in December continues until January 6 - and the Mercury intersolar phase of which this retrograde is a part doesn't wind down until the little planet reaches its maximum western elongation on the 17th. So until the 17th, be ready: this is when Murphy's Law runs amok, when everything that can go wrong probably will. Dropped connections, missed and misunderstood messages, things that get lost, hacker attacks, computer viruses, clever cons and sneak thieves, and infrastructure breakdowns due to human error, neglect or even malice: these and all similar perils are in plentiful supply. Double-check and follow up on everything, take nothing for granted: tell 'em what you're gonna tell 'em, tell 'em, then tell 'em what you told 'em . . . and then check back to be sure they got the message. Paperwork, communication, transport and networks of all kinds are key vulnerabilities at such times. All those things you count on to be there just can't be counted on when Mercury is intersolar: the electricity, the train, the Internet - none of it is for sure now. Have a backup plan in place, a fallback position ready. The one good thing about a cycle like this is that it's perfect for wading through a mess and trying to set it right again. We'll all have plenty of opportunities like that, during the tail end of Mercury's intersolar phase.
January's relatively quiet start on the geological and meterological fronts won't last long. Things start to change on the 4th, as we come into the geocosmic stress window associated with the full moon on the 7th (and, to a lesser extent, with the Moon's north declination maximum on the 6th). Strong storms with high winds and heavy precipitation (and attendant flooding, mudslides, etc.) are the stuff of tragic headlines during this period. Also expect a heavier than usual barrage of moderate to severe earthquakes (Richter 5 and up); and an outburst of volcanic activity is possible too.
It's good policy to be ready for disturbances of this sort no matter where you are during the January 4-10 risk window. Although seismic risk zones tend to be known and somewhat localized, there's no place on Earth beyond the reach of dangerous storms. That said, astro-locality analysis points out a few areas of possible special vulnerability, including east Asia from about Hong Kong around to the Korean peninsula, down through the Philippines, eastern Indonesia and western Australia; also along a wedge that starts at Buenos Aires and expands to reach from Newfoundland to Greenland; and along an arc that covers the Pacific Northwest coast from around San Francisco to Vancouver, arcing across far north Canada and coming down through western Europe, crossing the Mediterranean and cutting across Africa in a southeasterly arc through Kinshasa and Daressalam.
Whlle these stirrings in Earth's atmosphere and crust return to normal levels after the 10th, a short storm and seismic up-tick is in store from the 12th through late on 14th, as signaled by the Moon's southward equatorial crossing on the 13th. Another short period of relative calm lasts until the 18th, when the next geophysical stress window opens up. Associated with the Moon's perigee on the 19th, south declination extreme on the 20th, the new moon at 1 Aquarius on the 21st, and the northward lunar equatorial crossing on the 26th, this risk period lasts until early on the 27th. It's another one of those times to make sure your emergency plans and gear are ready, just in case. Severe storms, high winds and heavy precipitation are the stuff of headlines during this cycle, along with a spate of Richter 5+ quakes and volcanic activity. Being planetary in scale, and encompassing several celestial markers, it's impossible to single out any particular potential target zones for seismic and meteorological danger during this cycle. That said, there are a few risky-looking north-south zones that stick out in astro-locality analysis around the time of the new moon. One runs from Cape Town to Tripoli and northward through eastern Europe north into Scandinavia. Another runs through Buenos Aires and Shanghai, pole to pole. A third runs from Madagascar through the Middle East and through Russia east of Moscow. Other risk arcs run through New York, Alaska and the Aleutians; from Jakarta through Taipei, Seoul and Vladivostok; and in Australia, along an arc from Perth to Darwin across into New Guinea.
SPECIAL FEATURE: This month's birthdays of the famous and infamous (with astrological birth charts)