If you were expecting some kind of sun sign nonsense, forget about it. This is real astrology for the real world. If it's real astrology for yourself that you want, you can get it by phone or in print. 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).
Each of us enters the world because hope for the future preceded us.
-- Marge Kennedy
Like June, July features significant Mars action; namely an opposition to Neptune on the 5th (activating the year's signature T-square configuration). This opens the month on a note of danger, stress, and conflict. The Mars-Neptune alignment is within a few degrees of exact from late June (the 28th) through the 13th of July - the customary plus or minus one week wake for a Mars aspect. This is a celestial portrait of action, aggression, conflict and confrontation at all levels of human experience, from the individual to the collective - with a twist of subterfuge, confusion, deceit or mystery tossed in. Fires, explosions, oil and chemical spills, crashes, crime and military or paramilitary threats and strikes (including terrorism) will make even more headlines than usual during this stretch of the month. Be alert and cautious, steer clear of danger and conflict as much as possible - and otherwise, go in as well prepared (heavily armed, even) as you possibly can. I'm not predicting that peace will break out all over after the 13th; just that the worst of the worst for the month is in by then.
Another carry-over from June is the off and on waxing quadrature from Jupiter to Saturn. This configuration was exact on June 22, but remains within a few degrees through mid-July. After that, it will re-form in late September, heading into the final quadrature on October 25. Inasmuch as this particular Jupiter-Saturn aspect is part of the year's signature T-square, it's big stuff. Since the epochal 2000 Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in Taurus, this is the second in a series of three quadratures (square aspect, a 90 degree arc between these two planets as seen from Earth). I've already covered the meaning of the Jupiter-Saturn square in some detail in last month's forecast, and some of what I wrote then has already played out in the news of the day. Suffice it to say that this is part of an ongoing historical watershed that began late last year and continues through late 2006; and that as the quadrature is a turning point in the 20-year Jupiter-Saturn cycle, none of this happens overnight. But since this latest Jupiter-Saturn square lined up in June, we've already seen indications in the news of the day that we're at a threshold.
For example, my June forecast spoke of "shaky equity and commodity markets - although oil does well, especially around the 19th - continue this month, the turnaround coming only when Jupiter goes direct. This actually happens in July, but the Giant Planet is within a fraction of a degree of its turnaround in late June." Sure enough, late June brought a turnaround in the major equity markets, and in precious metals as well. As Jupiter remains within a degree of its 9° Scorpio station point throughout July and into August, I figure we've got a reprieve from the recent commodity and equity corrections that lasts at least that long - probably into September, in fact. So if you haven't done so already, it's time to get off the sidelines and back into the markets for a couple months. Then be ready to take your profits and sit out the equity markets again, through the September sell-off. (Commodities, in contrast, should fare well in the post-Labor Day sell-off. If you haven't already taken advantage of gold and silver buying opportunities during the recent correction, you'll be hard pressed to find that sort of bargain in July.)
Of course the Moon remains very near the peak of its 18.6-year declination cycle this month, as it does all year long. (Luna will still be in the extreme range, in excess of 27.5°, of this particular cycle through the summer of 2008.) So the month as a whole has a greater than normal probability of strong storms with high wind and heavy precipitation (engendering an enhanced potential for flooding, mudslides, avalanches and the like); as well as moderate to severe (Richter 5 and up) earthquakes plus volcanic eruptions. Over-all elevated risk aside, there are a number of peaks in the tides and torques stressing our home planet this month. Apart from a somewhat elevated earthquake risk along strike-slip faults (e.g. the San Andreas) from the 1st through the 4th and the 28th through the 31st, the first notable peak in widespread geocosmic stress kicks in on the 8th (in advance of the south lunar declination peak on the 9th and the full moon at 19° Capricorn on the 11th). It continues through the Moon's July 13 perigee (closest approach to Earth) and July 15 northward equatorial crossing, finally winding down early on the 18th.
The next geocosmic stress windows stretches, in full, from the 21st through the end of the month; with peaks around the 22nd (the Moon's north declination extreme), the 25th (the new moon at 2° Leo), and the 29th (the Moon's southward equatorial crossing). Watch for news-making strong storms (with high winds and attendant flooding) and moderate to severe seismic activity (Richter 5+ quakes and subsequent tsumanis where conditions permit, plus volcanic eruptions).
Anyone who has travel plans during any of the above indicated geocosmic stress periods should be prepared for weather delays, missed connections and the like. Speaking of delays, schedules in general tend to be fragile during Mercury's intersolar cycle, which began on June 20, and is in effect all through July right up until August 6. Mercury's intersolar period corresponds to the segment of its orbit which lies between Earth and the Sun. (If this sounds a little abstract, I'm hoping the accompanying animation I have prepared will help clarify things.) The intersolar cycle includes the little planet's July 4-29 retrograde, when Mercury appears to reverse its normal course through the sky, as this swift inner planet catches up and passes the slower-moving Earth on the 'inside track' as it were. (The actual passing moment coincides with the Mercury-Sun conjunction on the 18th.) The cycle concludes with Mercury's maximum western elongation on August 6.
As you can see from the animated diagram, Mercury is much closer to Earth than usual during its intersolar phase. This is nature's way of telling us that all things mercurial are a higher than normal priority at these times. The mercurial elements of human experience are thought, communication, commerce and transportation, primarily: these will be prominent themes during the June 20-August 6 Mercury intersolar period. People who see it coming, who prepare and act accordingly, will prosper during this cycle. Nearly everyone else ends up falling farther and farther behind. So plan, study, research, gather information and documentation in advance, and have fallback positions ready. Anticipating the importance of all that is mercurial means being alert, paying attention, being sharp and perceptive. Assume nothing, follow up on everything; stay informed, in touch and on top: that's exactly what the smart people do. Those who don't will get caught up in the miasma of missing information, missed connections and all kinds of messes and delays.
Typical themes during this Mercury cycle include an upsurge in strikes and other disruptions affecting transportation and communication (e.g. postal, phone, mass transit, trucking, airline, shipping, dock and warehouse workers, teachers and all manner of media). Weather both terrestrial and solar (including geomagnetic storms) can play a part in the kind of breakdowns described here, but human effort (and sometimes malicious action) is a part of the mix as well. Power failures due to infrastructure breakdown and computer network disruptions caused by hacker attacks, software vulnerabilities and the like are also just a crossed wire or a keystroke away from a major mess at these times. (Make sure your own IT security protocols are up to snuff!) It's not so much that disaster is destined to strike when Mercury is in its intersolar phase. Rather, it's that everything pertaining to Mercury becomes crucial; and unless it's treated as such, then it goes awry. Unfortunately, few people keep their eye on the ball with any consistency and diligence. Most people spend most of their lives sleepwalking around on autopilot. And that's the reason these Mercury cycles tend to turn into Murphy's Law festivals.
SPECIAL FEATURE: This month's birthdays of the famous and infamous (with astrological birth charts)