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 is much like the present, only longer.
-- Dan Quisenberry
August has a peculiar look about it. For one thing, the entire month is under the aegis of Mercury's intersolar cycle; and Mercury is retrograde to boot from the 10th onward. Foul-ups, frauds, multifaceted messes in need of major fixes: that's what's on tap. Hackers, crackers, thieves and cons, infrastructure breakdowns and cracks in the edifice: they make clear how utterly dependent we are on trustworthy, reliable networks of various kinds. And how fragile such networks can be. Then there's the electrifying (if not downright explosive) Mars-Uranus opposition, exact on the 18th but within a few degrees of exact alignment from the 11th onward: this one's got "handle with care" written all over it. Month's end brings a pair of ominous short-term economic indicators, what with Pluto going stationary-direct on the day of the full moon on the 30th, followed by a Venus-Saturn conjunction the next day. And then of course we have the usual lunar geocosmic stress indicators, promising lots of storm and seismic activity around the beginning, middle and end of August - with periods of relative peace and quiet in between. There's lots of buzz and energy at the outset, and a sense that something momentous yet not directly seen is just around the corner. This is followed by rapid-fire surprise shocks around mid-month, and something of a let-down at the end. That's August in broad strokes.
The full moon on July 31st was the dramatic grand finale to a month that, as predicted, made the news for "destructive storms, floods, earthquakes - and probably volcanic eruptions, too." It's a trend that carries over into August, under the lingering full moon effect and the Moon's northward equatorial crossing on the 4th. As it was, per my forecast, at the end of July, so it will be for the first five days of August. Powerful storms and thunderstorms, packed with high winds and heavy precipitation, will continue to wreak havoc. And this will likely continue to include solar and geomagnetic storms, which flared up in late July as predicted and will surely continue during the early August geocosmic stress window. (With Mercury intersolar now, and opposing Uranus on the 1st, powerful electrical storms and energy grid disruptions appear likely.) Candles, flashlights and fresh batteries, bottled water and a few canned goods can be mighty handy in the pantry if you're one of the many who'll get cut off from the world for a while. And if you're traveling, be sure to allow extra time for weather-related delays - because they'll be plentiful enough. I've already indicated that while no place on Planet Earth is beyond the reach of Mother Nature on a rampage, it looks like the Mississippi River Valley, the Gulf of Mexico and southern Mexico/Central America are in the crosshairs this time around, along with Cuba, Hispaniola, the US Atlantic coast and the Pacific coast of South America; also Eastern Europe (to Moscow), Turkey and from central China down through the Indochina peninsula.
Early August offers little in the way of a sense of economic security or financial strength to a global economy desperately seeking such. Mixed signals, contradictory trends, inflationary spikes (primarily energy related), worries about the solvency of large financial institutions and concerns about the honesty or competence of corporate and regulatory officials: that's the kind of thing associated with the August 6 Sun-Neptune opposition and Jupiter-Pluto square. The latter planetary configuration is within a few degrees of being exact all month, while the former eases up after the 10th - just as Mercury's retrograde begins. As I read these signs in the sky, they add up to an uncertain, choppy week or so in major financial markets at the beginning of August. Lots of miscalculations . . . even the smart money can get taken to the cleaners at times like this. Look for a few good days at a time, but a flat to downward trend in most major markets for the month as a whole. No huge crash, mind you: just a fitful trading range, with abrupt drops here and there followed by periods of feeble recovery.
Spending the whole of August on the same side of the Sun as Earth, Mercury gets lost in the Sun's glare for most of the month. (You might catch a glimpse of it low in the western sky at dusk in early August.) This is the little planet's intersolar period, and it puts a major emphasis on all things mercurial. Writing, thinking, planning, communicating and traveling take on greater than usual importance at times like this, requiring more of our time, energy and attention. Once the Mercury retrograde begins on the 10th, "what was I thinking?" becomes a common refrain. Things we normally take for granted tend to go off-track at times like this, unless we pay them closer attention. Getting to the root of things, fixing up plans that go awry, re-figuring equations, going over the books, and in general going the extra mile to make sure we've got it right and it's clearly understood and implemented: that's what the August intersolar Mercury and Mercury retrograde are all about. Assume nothing, except that Murphy's Law befalls us all. Be ready for it, be alert and pay attention, have a backup plan ready just in case.
Remember that commerce and communication tend to be a particular focus of vulnerability during Mercury's intersolar phase. Things and people in transit rarely get from A to B without incident or delay at times like this. Networks - the power, transportation, information and communication infrastructure that underlie civilization - are especially vulnerable to breakdowns due to accident, poor design or mischief. Make sure you keep your computer security protocols up to date, beware of identity theft schemes in particular.
While this intersolar Mercury cycle is in effect all month long - and then some - there are a few pronounced peak phases. They come within a couple days either side of the 10th (when Mercury goes retrograde); also the 18th and 19th (when Mercury aligns first with Mars and then with Uranus), and the 23rd (Mercury conjunct the Sun). If you find it tiresome to keep your focus sharp and your guard up all month long, these are the likeliest times for an eruption of Murphy's Law. And in fact the whole thing won't be all behind us until Mercury ends its retrograde on September 2 and then reaches its maximum westward elongation on September 9. So be sharp, and be patient. Incidentally, natural upheavals of one kind or another - storms, flooding, and moderate to severe seismic events - appear likely to contribute to infrastructure breakdowns give or take a day of the 12th, with the Moon hitting maximum north declination then.
Speaking of intersolar cycles, the long Venus intersolar cycle that began back on March 29 will finally conclude on the 17th of this month. It's been, just as I forecast, the harbinger of an economic recovery of sorts. But as these things go, this one has been (again, as forecast) "fragile rather than robust - the kind of thing that could run for months or even a year or so, but not a whole lot longer." As I warned in my 2004 World Forecast Highlights, "don't mistake a temporary boomlet for more than what it is." Which is one more reason I'm seeing August as economically choppy with ups and downs along the way but flat to declining when all's said and done. Somehow mid-August feels like the end of a party . . .
The aforementioned lunar north declination maximum on the 12th signals headline-making storms and seismic events from the 11th through the 20th. The new moon on the 16th is the centerpiece of this cycle, and the southward lunar equatorial crossing on the 19th draws it out. There's a whole tangle of cosmic strands all knotted up around this particular new moon period, which includes Venus' maximum westward elongation and the Mars-Uranus opposition. Somehow this looks like a very costly mess. Severe storms with powerful lightning and high wind can do plenty of damage in their own right, let alone when you add in all the effects due to flooding. Add in the damage potential of moderate-to-severe (Richter 5+) earthquakes, toss in a volcanic eruption or two, and we could have a real mess. That's the kind of thing to expect during the August 11-20 geocosmic stress window.
Mother Nature's rampages aside, the August 18 Mars-Uranus opposition is not a comforting sign in the sky. Criminal enterprises, terrorist plots, and people going postal: that's the kind of hazards associated with this one, which remains within a few degrees of exact alignment from the 11th through the end of the month. It's a time to get a grip on yourself, find a safe outlet for your frustrations, and in general cultivate a safe and harmonious path through your life. And if you can't do that - well, then at least make sure the clip is full and there's a round in the chamber, and someone's got your six.
A few days of relative calm on the geophysical front should be on tap after the August 11-20 turbulence settles down, but the pot gets stirred up again from the 24th through the end of the month and on into early September. The Moon hitting maximum south declination on the 25th gets things started, with the lunar perigee (closest approach to Earth) close behind on the 27th. This in turn is the beginning of the full moon effect, which culminates on the 30th and carries over into next month. With the Sun-Uranus opposition of the 27th, the Pluto station on the 30th and the Venus-Saturn alignment on the 31st all chiming in, this is another strong signal of major disturbances in the Earth's crust, atmosphere and oceans. Have your emergency kit ready just in case, and figure on weather related delays if your plans for this period include travel and other outdoor activities. There's still lots of Mars involvement in this, so apart from the danger storm and seismic disturbances during this full moon phase, the prospect of criminal and terrorist action as well as military conflict is a possibility. Steer clear of trouble where you can, and remember the old Taoist maxim: avoid rather than check, check rather than hurt, hurt rather than maim, maim rather than kill; for all life is precious.
SPECIAL FEATURE: This month's birthdays of the famous and infamous (with astrological birth charts)