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).
We must use time as a tool, not as a crutch.
-- John F. Kennedy
The new year starts out on an explosive, erratic note - some of it by accident (as in fires, crashes and explosions), some of it by design (as in criminal assaults, battles and terror attacks): that's par for the course under the aegis of the December 31, 2004 Mars-Uranus square, which remains within a few degrees of being exact through January 5. It's a good idea to steer clear of troublesome places, people and situations as much as possible at times like this. And if that's not possible, then go in alert and heavily armed (with as much backup as you can get). The main thing is to stay calm and alert, to keep your mind focused on what you're doing while you're doing it. Let the other guy blunder into disaster if he must, but don't let him drag you into it. Watch for it, see it coming, duck and parry, stay safe out there. While you're at it, don't rely on machines, gadgets and high-tech equipment to save your bacon: there's a reliability problem with such stuff at times like this.
Wild weather and seismic activity is there almost from the start in 2005, although it should taper off a bit after 4th, as the geocosmic stress factors associated with the January 3 lunar equatorial crossing die down. It's the calm before the storm, and the storm is the January 10 extreme SuperMoon new moon at 20 Capricorn, the centerpiece of a risk window that runs from the 7th through the 16th (extended by the January 15 north lunar declination maximum).
SuperMoon, in case you're new around here, is a term I coined in my 1979 article for Dell HOROSCOPE magazine, wherein I predicted Savannah, Georgia getting hit by a hurricane on September 6, 1979. (That issue was on the stands six weeks before Hurricane David hit Savannah on September 6.) The term describes a new or full moon (syzygy) which occurs when the Moon is at or near (within 90% of) its closest approach to Earth (perigee). They happen about as often as eclipses; which is to say several times a year. But an extreme SuperMoon is far less common, because it's one that occurs with the Moon about as close to Earth as it ever gets. The last extreme SuperMoon was on March 8, 1993. Perigee was at 08:36 UT (Universal Time) that day, just over an hour ahead of the full moon, and just two hours before the Moon crossed the celestial equator from north to south. It was the closest lunar perigee of the year, bringing the Moon only 356,529 kilometers away from our home planet. (That's within 175 kilometers of the Moon's closest approach in centuries.) You remember March '93, don't you? Think back to "The Perfect Storm," aka "The Storm of the Century." It got its start with a low pressure system that formed over the Gulf of Mexico on March 11 . . . and then there was the Richter 5.7 quake in northern Oregon on March 5, the pair of Richter 6.6 tremors in the South Pacific the following day, and the 6.4 in the South Sandwich Islands on the 10th . . . all within the plus or minus three day window in time surrounding the SuperMoon. That's what's coming.
This year's January 10 extreme SuperMoon sees Luna approach to just 356,571 kilometers from Earth. It's the closest approach of the year, and within about 200 kilometers of the nearest pass in centuries. And it occurs less than 24 hours after the Moon reaches its extreme declination south of the celestial equator; with Jupiter in the same sign (Libra) as it was back in 1993. Another "Perfect Storm," as occurred the last time there was a SuperMoon so close to Earth? Not exactly. But as with any SuperMoon, you can expect extreme natural calamities to make plenty of headlines around the time of this unusual alignment. Severe storms with high wind and heavy precipitation (raising the risk of floods, mudslides and blizzards), higher than normal tides, and moderate to severe seismic activity (Richer 5+ quakes as well as volcanic eruptions, either of which could raise dangerous tsunamis if they occur at sea) -they're all on tap January 7-16, under the aegis of this extreme SuperMoon alignment and subsequent lunar declination maximum. And coming as it does within a week of Earth's perihelion (closest approach to the Sun) and with the full moon opposing Saturn in a T-Square configuration with Jupiter . . . well, this looks like a big one.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying all hell is going to break loose all over the world. We did that last month; or as close to it as living memory can recall. But I am saying that there will be a much higher than normal risk of extreme storm, tidal and seismic events during the January 7-13 window. Having your emergency kit ready, your fuel tank full and your batteries charged up: not a bad idea at all. Since virtually no place is beyond the reach of these natural phenomena, it's a good idea to keep an eye on the sky and an ear cocked for the news during this period, no matter where you live. That said, astro-locality analysis points out some areas which may be especially vulnerable during the January 7-13 SuperMoon window. They include an arc sweeping northeasterly from San Diego through Billings, across Iceland and down through Copenhagen into eastern Europe and down into the Middle East; a couple of pole to pole north-south zones passing through Rio de Janeiro in the west and from Tokyo down through Adelaide in the east, as well as another pair passing through London and Paris in the west and down through Wrangel Island in the East Siberian Sea; and finally another arc running northeasterly through Central America, across Cuba and along the US Atlantic coast from Florida to New England, crossing Baffin Island, Greenland and Iceland to track across Scandinavia down through Russia into Afghanistan and across India (passing near Delhi) and then skirting the coast west of Indonesia and Australia. (Be sure to examine the Mars and Saturn horizon and meridian lines on the astro-locality map.) Earth is a big planet after all, which means most of us will be unscathed - but for those in the crosshairs, a little preparation won't hurt a bit.
After what should be a return to relative normality, another spike in storm, tide and seismic risk accompanies the north lunar declination extreme on the 22nd and the full moon on the 25th. While neither of these ranks with a SuperMoon or eclipse as a sign of geocosmic turbulence, together they do up the ante for strong storms with gale force winds and very heavy rain and snow, as well as moderate to severe (Richter 5 and up) earthquakes - and of course, volcanic activity as well. So be on the alert during the January 21-28 period, particularly if you'll be in an area susceptible to dangerous tides, seismic activity and/or severe weather. In the latter case, that's just about everywhere. But with the Sun and Moon on the zenith and nadir on a line from Alaska down through Hawaii and from Russia through Turkey, Egypt and due south, people in those areas might want to be especially vigilant; likewise along the Mars longitudinal arc through Iceland in the west and the Solomon Sea in the east, and the Sun-Moon horizon arc through Peru, Brazil and Venezuela across the Atlantic through Scandinavia and Russia southeasterly through China and Indochina across Indonesia and western Australia. If traveling (or meeting someone who is), be sure to allow extra time for weather-related delays no matter where you'll be: airport and road closures will be par for the course. Keep your storm gear handy, and stay aware of the sky and in touch with your favorite (hopefully battery powered) weather alert system. And don't be surprised if the month turns turbulent again as it draws to a close, with the Moon crossing the celestial equator southward on the 30th.
Speaking of the end of the month, there's a lot happening late in January. Pretty much the whole of January is stamped with the imprint of Jupiter's February 2 retrograde station, when the Giant Planet comes to a standstill and then reverses its normal direction of motion as seen from Earth. Jupiter seems to slow down and hang in the sky around this turning point, remaining within a single degree of the retrograde station from January 7 through February 27. Political, religious and legal battles are central issues on the world stage during this period, particularly late in January and on into early February. World financial markets look primed for some significant (and savvy) profit-taking January 24-28. It can't be just coincidental that Iraq's elections are set for this same turbulent period. Tragically, something else is set for the same window in time: the January 28 Mars alignment with Pluto in Sagittarius. Don't make a fetish of the exact date, because this conjunction remains within a few degrees of being exact from January 23 to February 3. It stands like a bookend to the Mars-Uranus square that starts the year. They're both alignments associated with violence, accidents, fires, explosions and worse: this isn't garden party stuff, it's threatening. The obvious place to look would be Iraq, where Islamists, Baathists, Sadaam Fedayeen and others of their ilk are going to be working overtime trying to kill as many decent Iraqi citizens as they can. (The Mars-Pluto conjunction nadir line runs right through the Middle East, very near the longitude of Dhahran.) But that won't be the end of the carnage, and it won't be the only place it happens. Anywhere people are evil or careless, mayhem tends to break out under a Mars-Pluto conjunction. (The horizon for this alignment touches Australia, New Zealand, the northern part of North America and the eastern tip of Brazil.)
SPECIAL FEATURE: This month's birthdays of the famous and infamous (with astrological birth charts)