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©2005 by Richard Nolle
last revised UT 17:41 APR 1, 2005

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).

It is today that we fit ourselves for the greater usefulness of tomorrow.
-- W.E.B. Du Bois

Mercury's Synodic CycleOn the storm and seismic front, this month's stirrings of earth and sea and sky will conjure Eliot's words: "April is the cruelest month." Not the bittersweet, poignant kind of cruel Eliot had in mind; but the real thing. But not as cruel as December's tsunami full moon, either. April's eclipses are the predominant theme for the month, and they usher in a heightened potential for strong storms with damaging winds, and for moderate to severe seismic disturbances (including Richter 5+ quakes and volcanic eruptions). Details later . . .

But first, there's more to the month than geophysical upheaval. Most of April remains solidly within a Mercury intersolar phase, which continues through Mercury's retrograde (ending on the 12th) all the way to the little planet's maximum elongation west of the Sun on the 26th. It's a time of prominence for all things Mercurial: commerce, communication, transport, and all manner of electrical and electronic infrastructure. The sharp focus on these areas of human endeavor and experience often uncovers (and sometimes causes) delays, interruptions and outright failures. Don't be fooled by the simple doctrine that such things are the provenance of Mercury's retrograde alone. This is an organic phase in the Sun-Mercury-Earth relationship, during which the little planet is on the same side of the Sun as Earth. The retrograde is only part of this relationship! So go ahead and do your best to be prepared for everything going wrong that can go wrong - and at just the very least opportune moment. It won't be as bad as all that, but you'll be ready for the snafus that do crop up - and there'll be plenty of 'em.

MAR 12 Mercury Station (Direct)Transportation and communication tie-ups and strikes, teacher walk-outs and media mess-ups, power failures and attacks on networks and computers: they're all standard fare while Mercury is intersolar. Have your backups, backup plans, workarounds and detour routes all planned out and ready. Go over all paperwork and calculations with the proverbial fine-tooth comb, and then do again for good measure: double- and triple-check everything, and then follow up on it right down the line. Assume nothing, except that nothing will go right without careful monitoring. Don't be misled, there's a good side to having Mercury on our side of the Sun: it's an emphasis on things mental, commercial and communicative, not a curse. If you're careful with your thoughts and words and plans during this period, instead of just absent-mindedly playing around, then there's plenty of progress to be made. It's the slip of the mind, the lack of focus that screws things up so easily now, and it probably has to do with the sensory overload that goes with this Mercury cycle. Too much input!

Murphy's Law and burning the midnight oil aren't the only themes that carry pretty much throughout the month of April. Two major planet stations from back in March are still very much a presence this month: Saturn remains within a degree of its 20° 24' Cancer March 22 direct station until April 25, and Pluto stays within a degree of its 24° 31' Sagittarius March 26 retrograde station all the way to June 1. As I indicated last month, "given that both stations portend uncertainty and a reversal of previous trends, it's hard to envision a scenario where the financial markets do much of anything other than take profits and retrench." The last three weeks of March, just as I forecast, have seen significant profit-taking in major financial markets around the world. (Among the US indices, the Nasdaq posted the steepest loss for the month, sliding 52.49 points, or 2.56 percent. The Dow sank 262.47 points, or 2.44 percent, and the S&P declined 23.01 points, or 1.91 percent.) With this in mind, it could well take until around April 25 for major markets to recover lost ground - maybe even just to turn the tide.

There's likely to be another carry-over from the March 22 Saturn station, and it has to do with the fact that the March 7 Mars-Saturn opposition occurred in the same degree as the later Saturn station. I described that alignment as signifying "a lot of tension, posturing, threat displays, aggression and the like." Running the gamut "from criminality to terrorism to military confrontations," the Mars-Saturn zeitgeist, I warned, would bring "a bumper crop of the 'if it bleeds, it leads' type of headlines." From the murder of Judge Lefkow's family in Chicago to the Atlanta courthouse shootings, it's clear that the Mars-Saturn opposition has been running true to form. And since Saturn remains within the same degree of its place in that opposition all the way to April 25, I fear I may have been premature in my deduction for last month's forecast; namely that the havoc associated with this alignment would be over by March 15. Obviously, the upsurge in murder and mayhem continues - as evidenced by the March 21 mass murder that left ten people dead in a Bemidji, MN school. So just to be on the safe side, you might want to keep in mind through April 25 my recommendation regarding the perilous potential associated with all this Mars-Saturn stuff:

Be careful out there, particularly if you came into this world under an emphasis on the 20th degree in the Cancer-Capricorn polarity. This includes many people born in 1930 and 1931 or around January 11 or July 13 in any year, to name just a couple sensitive time stretches. (Check your chart, and in any case play it safe as best you can during this period.)

The April 13 Mars-Neptune alignment at 17° Aquarius is within a few degrees of being exact from the 7th through the 17th. It's an alignment that adds to the potential for violence (particularly against women, judging from the Moon and Venus configurations in effect); also danger associated with poisons, industrial chemicals, noxious fumes and other toxic substances spread by stealth or accident. Military conflict and terrorist atrocities on the collective level, and violent crime on the individual level: these are the stuff of headlines under a Mars-Neptune conjunction; along with appalling accidents. Like the Mars-Saturn opposition and the Saturn station of last month, April's Mars-Neptune alignment could end up lingering for weeks after the fact. That's because it occurs in the same degree as May's Neptune station; which in turn coincides with a Mars-Uranus conjunction (attacks on oil wells, refineries, chemical plants, tankers etc.). Keep your head down . . .

APR 8 Solar Eclipse (Hybrid)On the geophysical front, April starts out with an upsurge of nasty weather and moderate to severe seismic activity (including Richter 5+ earthquakes and volcanic eruptions), under the aegis of the Moon's south declination maximum on the 1st and the April 8 solar eclipse. This is the unusual hybrid variety of eclipse; so called because it's a total eclipse as seen from some locations, and an annular eclipse as seen from other places. Solar eclipse windows tend to run a little larger than any other type of new or full moon. Figure this one to be in effect from April 1 through the 15th. And figure it could come close to rivaling the January 10 extreme SuperMoon in terms of accompanying severe storms, moderate to severe earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Like that earlier alignment, this one is part of a T-Square pattern that includes Jupiter and Saturn (also Venus). It also comes with the Moon on the celestial equator (crossing from south to north). Just to be on the safe side, this would be a good time to freshen your emergency kit and keep in touch with the news, the Weather Channel, your weather radio, whatever. Most of us will be completely unscathed, but more than a few people will face freakish weather, flooding, heavy precipitation, tornadoes, thunderstorms and such. And some will have seismic upheaval to deal with as well. So be prepared and stay tuned in between the 1st and the 15th. (Greatest risk will probably center around the 1st, 4th, 7th, 8th and 14th.)

Considering that an eclipse is an alignment of cosmic proportions, you've got to expect that it's planetary in scope. Consequently, anywhere on Earth could be a target zone for storms, floods and seismicity during the April 1-15 eclipse window; although our home planet is quite large enough that most of us will emerge unscathed through the miracle of statistics. Feeling lucky? Then don't prepare in any way at all. On the other hand, if you live in one of the eclipse's zones of visibility, you have a rather obvious reminder that you're part of a cosmic alignment. A partial eclipse will be seen from much of North and South America and New Zealand, but the full eclipse will be visible only along a path from southeast of New Zealand across the Pacific Ocean to Central America: this is a primary zone of special vulnerability to tidal, seismic and meteorological disturbances from the 1st through the 15th of April. Other zones of vulnerability, as suggested by astro-locality mapping, include the Pacific coast of North America from Alaska down to northern California; the eastern tip of South America; Iceland, Japan, Indonesia and eastern Australia; the Middle East and central Russia; and along a north-south longitudinal from Ireland down through Spain and west Africa. (Be sure to check out the Mars and Saturn horizon and meridian lines on the astro-locality map.)

APR 24 Lunar Eclipse (Penumbral)Remembering that this eclipse falls within the March 12 to April 26 Mercury intersolar phase, commerce and transport and infrastructure generally (including the power grid, the Internet etc.) are all particularly vulnerable to disruption during the eclipse. Things like storms (atmospheric as well as solar) and other forms of nature run amok are especially likely to bring such systems grinding to a halt at times like this. Anything you can deploy in the way of a backup system or a fallback plan would probably be a good idea about now.

If Mother Nature calms down after the 15th, the lunar eclipse at 4° Scorpio on the 24th should stir up the sky and sea and crust of Planet Earth all over again. This eclipse is of the penumbral variety: rather than being blacked out by Earth's shadow, the lunar disk is only shaded, and only partially so at that. This eclipse signals a potentially strong upsurge in severe storms, higher than normal tides and moderate to severe seismic activity (Richter 5+ quakes and volcanic eruptions). Heavy precipitation, flooding and mudslides, dangerous electrical storms - they're all par for the course during this lunar eclipse risk window, in effect April 21-27. The Moon's south declination maximum on the 28th and the lunar perigee on the 29th extend this storm and seismic risk window all the way to the end of the month, it should be noted. Have your emergency kit ready, be prepared for weather-related travel and shipping delays (Mercury being intersolar, after all) . . . you know the drill. And you might want to pay special attention if you're in western North America at the time, since the entire eclipse will be visible from there. Other areas of potential vulnerability, judging from the astro-locality map for this eclipse, include an arc from southern California northeasterly through the Rockies and across Greenland, turning southeasterly through Scandinavia and western Russia down through the Middle East; also along one pair of pole to pole north-south lines roughly from Honolulu through Anchorage in the west, and through Budapest and Johannesburg in the east; and another pair from east-central Greenland down through eastern South America in the west and from Hokkaido down through Melbourne on other side of the globe; and finally along an arc that runs across northern Alaska and northwest Canada before curing down through New York and down to Caracas and Buenos Aires, then coming up through Indonesia and the Philippines to cross Taiwan, South Korea, far eastern China and Siberia.

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