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).
Prediction is very difficult,
especially about the future.
-- Niels Bohr
Other than its two eclipses, October doesn't have a lot of really notable celestial alignments. There's a superior Mercury-Sun conjunction on the 5th, a Neptune station (direct) on the 24th, and Mars reaching the degree of the solar eclipse of the 14th on the very day of the lunar eclipse two weeks later - and that's about it. Since Neptune remains within a degree of its station point throughout October, it's arguable that this is the single most important planetary phenomenon of the month, besides the eclipses. And that gives a mysterious, misty, Madison Avenue flavor to the month; as if the masks and costumes of Halloween are being worn all month long in some sense. This is a time to take nothing at face value: propaganda and sales pitches abound. At the end of the month in particular, it's a time to be watchful so as not to go in harm's way as Mars crosses over the eclipse point.
Mercury's alignment with the Sun at 13 Libra on the 5th looks pretty strong from the 4th through the 6th. Computers, power grids and other essential infrastructure networks are a center of attention at times like this. An outbreak of solar flares and geomagnetic storms is possible during this period. There's a real buzz in the media under this alignment: big stories, mysteries and scandals, discoveries.
What looks like a fairly long run of geophysical disturbances is set to get underway on the 4th, in advance of the Moon's maximum north declination the following day. This means unusually strong storms with high winds and heavy precipitation. It also means increased seismic activity, including Richter 5+ earthquakes as well as volcanic eruptions. This first geocosmic outburst looks fairly solid through the 7th, and then tapers off a bit. But it merges into the solar eclipse effect which extends from the 7th through the 21st. So upheaval in Earth's crust and seas and atmosphere really won't let up much at all - even though it's apt to be strongest around the 5th, 12th, 14th, 18th and 19th. Throughout this period, you can figure on weather-related delays slowing down people and goods in transit. Keep your batteries fresh, your candles and canned goods and bottled water ready just in case. If you're in (or plan to be in) a seismically vulnerable locale during this period, be ready for an increase in moderate to severe earthquake activity (Richter 5 and up). Stay tuned to the Weather Channel, especially if you live in a flood-prone area. Watch for all this stuff in the headlines, and a volcanic eruption or two as well.
While global in scope, the kind of seismic and meteorological action associated with this eclipse is especially likely in its zone of visibility. This encompasses northeastern Asia, Alaska, and parts of the northern Pacific Ocean (including Hawaii). In addition, astro-locality mapping points to vulnerable zones including eastern South America in the western hemisphere, plus Japan and New Guinea in the eastern hemisphere; also along a northeasterly arc from the Horn of Africa through the Arabian Peninsula into Iran and Russia.
Apart from the storm, flood and seismic potential associated with any solar eclipse, there's another element to the October 14 eclipse in particular. It belongs to Saros Series 124, which began on March 6, 1049. As I've noted elsewhere, this was at a time of plague among English cattle and "a great mortality among men," according to the Anglo-Saxon chronicle. The month's new moon eclipse marks the beginning of the concluding partial sequence for this Saros Series. The last central eclipse in this series occurred on October 3, 1986 - the year the first reports of mad cow disease surfaced in England. The historic link between this Saros Series and cattle disease is troubling. Will there be more mad cow outbreaks, or perhaps anthrax? The next six months represent a window of vulnerability for fast-spreading infectious diseases. (Makes the flu shot look especially attractive this fall, doesn't it?)
Neptune's station on the 24th comes a day before the Moon crosses the celestial equator northward, ushering in another storm and seismic risk window that lasts until November 3. The lunar eclipse on the 28th is a good part of this cycle. It all adds up to another period of special vulnerability to strong storms with heavy precipitation and high wind - and the attendant risk of flooding and unusually high tides. A surge in Richter 5+ quakes and volcanic eruptions is bound to be part of the picture as well. Watch the headlines, watch the skies: you'll see. Hopefully, it'll be far, far away. But because this is an alignment on a planetary scale, the manifestations are bound to be planet-wide. So no matter where you'll be between the 25th of October and 3rd of November, you'll do well to have a foul weather contingency plan and a handy emergency kit just in case.
That said, some places look more vulnerable than others during this particular geocosmic stress period. Looking at the astro-locality map for the October 28 eclipse, Hawaii, western Alaska and the Aleutian Islands are in sensitive spots, along with the New York City area and the eastern Caribbean. There's also a hot zone running along a north-south line from the southwest coast of Greenland down through Brasilia, and a similar line just west of that running from just east of San Juan, Puerto Rico (and all points due south) north through Nova Scotia. The entire eastern half of Africa, from Capetown to Cairo, is laced with several hot zones that reach up into Turkey and Russia (on an arc from the Black Sea to Moscow), as well as the Middle East (including Israel, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran) and points northeast along an arc through the Caspian Sea. Eastern Russia and the Korean peninsula (along the longitude of Yakutsk) and eastern China (along the longitude of Beijing) stake out another north-south danger zone that stretches down into the Philippines, Indonesia and western Australia. And finally, Japan from Tokyo northward is part of a zone which, at these latitudes, appears to suggest infrastructure breakdowns due to natural phenomena - earthquakes or storms are obvious candidates, but this could also be associated with a geomagnetic disturbance.
Apart from the storm and seismic potential associated with this eclipse, there are a couple other story lines that could be part of it. For one thing, the October 28 full moon eclipse belongs to Saros Series 136, which began on April 13, 1680 (the year of the Cas-A supernova, and the start of two decades of 'global cooling'). Moreover, this series entered its total sequence on September 26, 1950 - another tie to the Korean War, one of several such historical parallels among the eclipses of 2004. Will global climate change and Korea be key elements in annals of this year, when the history gets written? Of course they will. And the period around the end of October is bound to figure into it. Given that Mars crosses the degree of the October 14 solar eclipse on the 28th, some kind of martial outbreak is at least probable late in the month. The possibilities are the very antithesis of peace and quiet. Outbreaks of violent crime, military clashes, terrorist attacks, fires, explosions and crashes: that's Mars in a nutshell, so keep your head down.
SPECIAL FEATURE: This month's birthdays of the famous and infamous (with astrological birth charts)