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 whole life of man is but a point of time; let us enjoy it.
When I promised you back in September that "October shapes up to be the last of the really turbulent months for a while; at least as far as natural upheavals like monster storms, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and such are concerned," I meant what I wrote. And heaven knows, from the monster quake in South Asia to Hurricanes Stan and Wilma in the Western Hemisphere and Typhoon Longwang in the East, October was one more for the natural disaster record books - in what, as I advised you in my 2005 World Forecast Highlights last year, would be a year of "major tidal, storm and seismic activity."
I'm pretty sure November won't rival October's record, but that's not to say this will be a completely uneventful month. Expect surges in storm and seismic activity around the 2nd, 5th, 10th, 13th-19th, 23rd, 26th and 30th - all give or take a day or so, and all more in the way of more or less routine disturbances rather than apocalyptic natural disasters. The forces of nature are never puny, so these are times to keep fresh batteries and water handy just in case - details to follow. But I really don't see signs of the kind of calamitous storms and seismic upheaval that have rocked the world this year and especially these last few months. In short, though not a snoozer, November is a bit of a breather after a long succession of one major natural catastrophe after another: a much-needed time to catch up on relief and reconstruction.
Make no mistake; this is only a relative and temporary respite. We're still in a peak phase of the Moon's 18.6-year cycle of extreme declination. Every month, Luna traces a path in the sky that swings from above to below the Earth's equator. This distance above and below is measured in degrees of declination, and its maximum value ranges from a low of about 18° to a high of nearly 29°. Years when there's an extreme maximum lunar declination tend to have extreme seismic and meteorological disturbances, and we're in one now.
This year's record-breaking hurricane season surpassed a mark last set in 1933 - another year of high lunar declination maxima (averaging over 28°), and also the year of the killer California quake that long ranked near the top on the list of most expensive natural disasters in American history. We've been in the red zone since 2004, with lunar declination maxima over 27.5° since the spring of that year. We won't even hit the absolute peak of the current cycle (28.7°) until spring of 2006, although we were just a hair from it in late summer and early fall of 2005. With extremes still in excess of 27.5° through the summer of 2008, we'll be years getting back to what passes for normal in terms of storm and seismic disturbances. But at least, lacking any major additional triggers like SuperMoons or eclipses, November dials back on the destruction.
Human-caused calamity, on the other hand, will likely be even more abundant this month than last, not only because Mars continues to loom so large and bright in the sky, and appears to be near the radiant whence the Taurids meteor shower emanates - there's a sign in the sky for you - but also because of the T-square and Grand Cross configurations it forms to the Sun and other planets in November. (While Mars and Earth were at their closest proximity on October 30, they're still very much closer than usual throughout November.) Opposing the Sun and forming a square aspect (90° arc) to Neptune on the 7th, likewise squaring Saturn on the 18th as the Leonid meteors radiate from a point in the sky not so far from the Ringed Planet (which stations retrograde on the 22nd), and closing to within a degree of opposing Jupiter as November ends, the Red Planet is celestially huge this month in many ways.
These aren't just things one reads at a website, or in an ephemeris. These are signs you can see in the sky for yourself this month: look to the east as the Sun sets behind you, and you'll see Mars coming up over the horizon. (This is the Red Planet's acronychal rising.) Watch through the night, and you'll see Jupiter's heliacal rise - coming up over the eastern horizon just before the Sun does at dawn. Simultaneously, Saturn looms overhead, while Mars is setting in the west. This is what a T-square looks like in the sky: two planets opposing each other (e.g. Mars and Jupiter at opposite ends of the horizon in this case), with a third planet at the halfway point (quadrature) between them (in this case, Saturn). Unseen is Neptune, not only because it's too dim to be seen with the naked eye, but more to the point in this case because it's directly below you - which is to say, overhead on the other side of the world. (This is precisely why one can never see a Grand Cross in the same way that one can see a T-square: a T-square can have all three points above the horizon at once, but a Grand Cross will always have at least one point in the pattern below the horizon.)
All this Mars action is telling us that, from collective violence like war to individual violence like murder and other criminality (and including that strange twilight, terrorism), from accidents and crashes and fires and explosions due to recklessness or evil intent and sometimes just plain bad luck, November is yet another adrenalin surging month. If you sense angst and impatience in yourself and others, don't be alarmed: it's par for the course when Mars is so prominent. Get a grip, calm yourself as much as possible, keep focused on what you're doing and watch out for interference (or worse). Be ready to dodge danger, and for heaven's sake don't go where you're likely to find it unless you're just bound and determined for trouble.
While the whole month has this edgy feel to it, the greatest danger falls within a few days either way of the 3rd, 7th, 9th and 16th; and from the 18th on through the end of the month and into December. Of course murder and mayhem are the stuff of news every month; it's just that there'll be so much more news than usual in November. As I've mentioned in previous forecasts, this Red Planet rampant business has been going on for months - but now, it's peaking. So be careful out there.
Although Mars is the major celestial theme for November, there's plenty more going on - as mentioned in passing while laying out the Red Planet scenario. Several planetary stations occur this month: Mercury and Saturn both turn retrograde (on the 14th and 22nd respectively), coming to an apparent standstill and then reversing their normal progress through the sky. Uranus on the other hand ends its retrograde cycle, apparently halting in the heavens on the 15th (its direct station), and then resuming its normal course of motion. And then there's Pluto, which remains within a degree of its September 2 direct station until November 3rd. In combination with the Moon being still being very much in its extreme declination cycle and Venus going intersolar November 3, this particular Pluto station is one among a chorus of factors proclaiming some major profit taking in the financial markets. We've already seen a lot of that in the last couple months, and the November outer planet stations suggest that we're not through the woods yet. The last peak lunar declination cycle came in 1987: a change at the helm of the US Federal Reserve, followed by a stock market crash. Sound familiar, Mr. Bernanke? Look back to the 1929 crash: the Moon's peak declination topped 27.5° that month, edging into the red sector. Déjà vu all over again? Not exactly, not yet - but not nice, either.
The major market indices continue to look awfully shaky this month, and normally that's good for precious metals - especially with the Moon still being so extreme. But watch for a metals buying opportunity around the time of the Saturn station on the 22nd. The high lunar declination extremes may point to a metals bull market, but the Saturn station in Leo looks like a momentary weakness in that trend. The Ringed Planet remains within a degree of its November 22 station all month, and well into December, so gold's reversal could come anytime during this period. And it won't last long when it does happen, so be ready to buy the metals on whatever short and shallow dips do manifest.
I mentioned Mercury's retrograde, but that's just part of the picture where the little Sun-grazer is concerned. Mercury reaches its maximum elongation east of the Sun on the 3rd, the same day as Venus. This puts both planets at the start of their intersolar period, when they're on the same side of the Sun as Planet Earth and relatively near us. It's when these two faster inner planets catch up to Earth and then pass us on the inside track, as it were. For Mercury, this phase lasts until December 12, the day of the little planet's greatest elongation west of the Sun. (Venus' intersolar sojourn continues until its March 25, 2006 greatest elongation west of the Sun.)
During Mercury's November 3 - December 12 intersolar phase -including its November 14-December 4 retrograde cycle - all things Mercurial are in high focus. They're critical, essential, foremost and crucial: intelligence, wit, focus, communication, coordination, dexterity and speed are at a premium. Live and plan accordingly, and you're in a position to make the most out of whatever situation or experience comes your way during this cycle. Otherwise, you'll end up feeling like you're on the wrong side of Murphy's Law. Failure to pay attention and exercise due diligence will inevitably prove to be the worst possible thing imaginable during this kind of Mercury cycle. So stay focused, think things through, double-check everything. More than half of humanity will be oblivious to this mandate, and you'll eat their lunch. You'll know it from the headlines: infrastructure breakdowns (including computers and computer networks, as well as power, communication and transportation systems), strikes and weather interruptions (including geomagnetic storms), human error and in some cases intentional mischief disrupting electrical and electronic systems, business and financial schemes that seem clever yet threaten good order (somebody double-check the books and the reserves!), overburdened and under-equipped educational institutions in disarray . . . themes like these are a constant undercurrent during Mercury's intersolar phase, and especially around the 3rd, 14th 21st and 24th of this month, and the 5th, 10th and 12th of next. Plan for them, have your workarounds and fallback positions ready, and you'll make headway regardless.
The long lasting Venus intersolar phase that starts November 3 and continues for the next several months is a horse of another color. Knowing the difference between wants and needs is critical in such times. Shoppers are strapped, and scared. People with eyes to see and fingers and toes to count on can figure out that the world financial system is a house of cards, in which every credit is in fact a debt that can't be repaid. Collapse? No. Not yet. But caution, and that slows down commerce; and that in turn moves the whole system just a little closer to the precipice. But there are still so many pleasing, sexy, fashionable distractions - lots more than usual in fact, while Venus is intersolar. From haute couture to entertainment ingénues to record prices paid for fine art, to new love blooming and old love cut down in its tracks, to the biggest song and dance craze in years, there's plenty to keep people's minds off matters of lasting value and beauty.
The bird flu flap is right on schedule, what with Neptune remaining within a degree of its October 26 direct station at 14° 49' Aquarius throughout the month, and on into mid-December. Uranus cranks the pandemic panic up a bit, also holding within a degree of its November 15 direct station at 6° 51' Pisces into mid-December. I've already described this celestial confluence "in combination with other factors - including the eclipses and declination extremes," as a signal of "notable outbreaks of disease;" while on a more positive note, the same combination points to "the emergence or production of new medicines and medical techniques during this period."
Frankly, I don't see how it matters much whether the outbreak du jour is avian influenza, anthrax, smallpox, Marburg or what-have-you. This fall is a little early for the pandemic that's selling so many ads for the media, but it does look like a season for a little more virulent flu than usual. What can you do, other than what your mother told you? You know the routine: eat right, exercise daily, take your vitamins and wash your hands - and maybe, get a flu shot. And quit worrying about the bird flu for now.
As mentioned earlier, the storm and seismic potential for November is far more ordinary than the wicked extremes of months past. But even ordinary months have their share of disturbances in Earth's crust and atmosphere: we're talking strong storms with high winds and heavy precipitation (and the floods, mudslides, blizzards and such resulting from same); as well as moderate to severe (Richter 5 and up) earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. None of this looks like the kind of widespread cataclysms that became almost routine in months past, but any of it could feel like the end of the world it you're at ground zero when it hits. So have your emergency kit stocked up and ready at hand: fresh batteries and candles, an off-grid stove (and/or a generator with adequate fuel), at least three days food and water rations (and cash), a full tank of gasoline, etc. These are not luxuries, these are necessities - and they're minimal, at that.
With any luck, all this stuff will just gather dust this month. But if it doesn't, it's most likely to be in the first few weeks of the month, from the 1st through early on the 20th, under a string of geocosmic factors starting with the New Moon on the 2nd and the Moon's south lunar declination maximum on the 5th; blending into the lunar perigee (Moon's closest approach to Earth) on the 10th, the Moon's northward crossing of the celestial equator on the 12th, the full Moon on the 16th and the Moon's north declination maximum on the 18th. Another geocosmic risk windows opens up November 25, in association with the Moon's southward equatorial crossing on the 26th. This one lasts into next month, thanks to the December 1 New Moon.
Bear in mind that these weather disturbances, at a time when Mercury is intersolar, point to weather-related travel delays and hazards. Allow extra time in transit, have a backup plan for missed connections, and be of good cheer: it's not as if you didn't know it was coming.
SPECIAL FEATURE: This month's birthdays of the famous and infamous (with astrological birth charts)