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).
The future ain't what it used to be.
-- Yogi Berra
May is another month in the mold of April, another heavyweight contender in the showdown that is history. Like April, May features an eclipse and a planetary station - several of the latter, in fact. And May also sees Mercury intersolar - on the same side of the Sun as our own home planet - until the 16th at any rate; Venus remains intersolar the whole month long, and turns retrograde (along with Neptune) on the 17th. Plus, there are a couple of notable planetary alignments this month: Jupiter stations a couple degrees from an exact opposition to Uranus on the 5th, and Mars conjoins Saturn on the 25th. It will all feel a bit overwhelming at times, as April did; as June will. I told you things would take off in April, and they did: Iraq erupted, the Fed signaled a change in monetary policy, and the US economy started heating up. Be ready, because the pace quickens even more this month.
Public health issues will be a big story this month, as I advised you last year, what with Jupiter stationing at 9 Virgo on the 5th in opposition to Uranus at 6 Pisces. These two planets have been aligned within a few degrees since late April (when another SARS outbreak was reported in China), and will remain closely aligned throughout most of May before the opposition finally fades away. As I've already warned, "this speaks of the potential for a public health scare of some kind. Infectious diseases make a headline comeback, from West Nile to bird flu to Norwalk to what-have-you. But this looks like something else, too - like dangerous contaminants of the inorganic variety, perhaps polluting byproducts, chemicals, minerals or metals." Religious, political and ideological extremism is emphasized under this alignment as well: people do awful and ugly things to each other in the name of all that's right and righteous. May will have more than its share of landmark legal decisions, political turning points, revolution, and breakthroughs in biotechnology, communications, space sciences and weapons development. This same alignment, incidentally, suggests a peak and then slow decline in oil and gas prices.
The world economy is another of May's major themes, what with Venus being intersolar all month - i.e., on the same side of the Sun as Earth - and turning retrograde with Neptune on the 17th. Speculative investments have a way of turning sour at times like this, prompting a flight to quality. People too clever by half end up proving that sometimes - and in the long run, always - it's better to be wise than smart. Precious metals, and gold in particular, have been beaten up since the peak I predicted for January and the upside break-out I predicted for April. This month, I look for gold to begin another climb prior to its 2005 decline. Speculative market gyrations and localized exceptions aside, economic expansion is pretty much worldwide this month, bringing job growth and inflationary pressures. Industries (and investments) that benefit from expansion and inflation stand to benefit from this trend. Other likely beneficiaries include biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, the defense and public health and safety sectors (manufacturers supplying military as well as fire and police equipment plus hospitals) and the communications industry (particularly wireless devices). Just remember: everything is likely to get dragged down a bit around mid-month, but then quality rises like cream. May is not a crash, it's an opportunity.
Which brings me to the third of this month's major themes, namely the rather alarming potential associated with the Mars-Saturn conjunction at 11 Cancer on the 25th. Fires, fiery crashes and firefights are the stock in trade of this alignment, a sign of danger and violence if ever there was one. A terrorist attack, a military conflict, a crime wave, a school or workplace shooting: plan on 'em off and on just about all month, but most especially around the 7th and 25th (give or take several days in either case). These are times when people are apt to get defensive, to feel edgy or irritable - and sometimes, to snap. So watch your back, keep an eye out for the raging or reckless types, and generally steer clear of the kind of places where trouble is likely to strike. That's about all any of us can do as far as the personal dimension of this Mars-Saturn alignment is concerned. As for the collective dimension, that's where fear and panic can set off a market stampede. So consider getting safely to the sidelines in advance of Mars entering Cancer on the 7th and conjoining Saturn on the 25th. (Also in advance of the Venus and Neptune stations on the 17th.) Then, when the panic starts, look for quality at a discount.
Fourth in this month's litany is an emphasis on geocosmic disturbances; namely strong storms with high winds and heavy precipitation, unusual flooding (tidal and inland, the latter due to excessive rainfall), and moderate to severe earthquakes (Richter 5 and up) plus volcanic eruptions. A notable upsurge in such incidents will be evident from the 1st through the 9th, judging from a combination of factors including the southward lunar equatorial crossing on the 2nd, the total lunar eclipse at 15 Scorpio on the 4th, the lunar perigee on the 6th, and the Moon's south declination extreme on the 8th. While this entire period is likely to feature lots of reports about Mother Nature on the rampage, the latter three dates just mentioned are likely to be the worst of the lot.
There's only one thing to do when nature goes wild, as it will at times like this; and that's to get out of the way if you can - and otherwise, pray. Plan on weather-related transportation tie-ups, and have foul weather backup plans ready to hand. (Fresh batteries and a well-stocked emergency kit wouldn't hurt a bit.) As always, these geocosmic stress factors are planetary in scale, and so there is no place on Earth that's beyond the reach of natural disaster on the indicated dates. Still, our little blue speck in the cosmos is big enough that most places will dodge the bullet. The ones that look a little closer to the bull's eye, judging from astro-locality factors associated with the lunar eclipse, appear to include northwestern North America (particularly the Pacific coast of Canada), as well as along a pair of north-south lines running through Havana in the west and Boston in the east. The Atlantic coast of South America from Brazil southward is part of another risk vector, the other end of which swings down through China and across eastern Australia. East Africa, the Middle East and much of Russia lie in another risk zone, which runs along a north-south line passing through Tehran. And finally, there's another pair of north-south lines bracketing Indochina from east to west, extending northward into China and southward across Indonesia.
The May 4 lunar eclipse, as mentioned in my forecast for the year as a whole, belongs to Saros Series 131. It's a series that began on May 10, 1427 (near the turning point of the Hundred Years War, which ended England's continental expansionism), and first went total on April 2, 1950 (on the eve of the Korean War, the first major outbreak in the Cold War). While I suspect that world finance, economic institutions and public health will be the general focus of attention around this time, I expect a couple of specific issues to make headlines: the multiparty nuclear negotiations with North Korea (brinksmanship), and the European Union coming into a period of consolidation.
Another batch of increased storm and seismic activity is on tap from the 13th through the 23rd, and particularly around the 14th (the Moon's northward crossing of the celestial equator), the 19th (the new moon at 29 Taurus), and the 22nd (the lunar north declination maximum). Things calm down to a routine level of disturbances after that, until picking up again a day before the southward lunar equatorial crossing on the 29th and the onset of the June 3 full moon SuperMoon effect the following day. All things considered, I suspect that the two full moon periods at the beginning and near the end of May will be the two most notable storm and seismic outbursts of the month. (That June 3 SuperMoon will be Luna's closest approach to Earth all year.)
Last but not least, don't lose sight of Mercury remaining intersolar (on the same side of the Sun as Earth) until the little planet reaches its maximum western elongation on the 14th. This is the tail end of the cycle that includes Mercury retrograde, and it means that all things Mercurial remain near the forefront of human experience; transport, commerce, communication and planning among them. Schemers and dreamers, plans too clever by half and the vagaries of Murphy's Law are common currency, even if they're starting to fade to normal background noise as we approach the 14th. Expect the first half of May to have much to do with discovering where plans went awry, and laboring to patch things up. Transportation, communication, power and other infrastructure networks (including the Internet) remain vulnerable to disruption if not collapse in the weeks before Mercury's maximum western elongation.
Venus is similarly emphasized this month, being intersolar throughout May and retrograde as well from the 17th onward. Since value is the hallmark of Venus, all manifestations of value are dramatically emphasized throughout May - and especially around the 17th, when Venus stations. This is one reason I see financial and economic concerns as preeminent this month. Jewelry, fashion, art, entertainment and fine furnishings are likewise emphasized, along with all that's beautiful and sensuous and sexy and passionate - and all the ugliness that arises when people greedily take what they cannot win legitimately. Examples? Theft, rape, jealousy, orgiastic excess and the puritanical reaction to same. Bankruptcy filings should reach a peak in late May or early June as well, as people get in over their heads due to financial reversals. Keep in mind that this is no ordinary intersolar Venus: its crown jewel comes with the June 8 Venus-Sun conjunction, the first transit of Venus across the face of the Sun since 1882. This is "Super Venus" - the "Mighty Aphrodite," if you will. So the next few months feature lots of beautiful things to see and hear and touch . . . some of them even to hold. These are the finer things in life, indeed. And yet they're cheek to jowl with harsh realities like the violence of the Mars-Saturn alignment this month. Beauty and the Beast: that's May in a nutshell.
SPECIAL FEATURE: This month's birthdays of the famous and infamous (with astrological birth charts)