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).
As long as one is committed to the idea that the stars are something above the head, they will lack the eye of knowledge.
-- Friedrich Nietzsche
August is even more full of significant Mars activation than July: danger, stress and conflict will be even more rampant this month than last. No Armageddon, no World War III (except to the extent that we're lurching from one skirmish to the next in a World War that's decades old already) - no sudden Apocalypse this week or next, in other words. But vicious outbreaks will be gathering momentum all month as we head toward September's eclipses. August is pretty much an unbroken chain of Mars action, from the mid-month Mars passage over the degree of the March 3, 2007 lunar eclipse (13° Virgo) and the Mars opposition to Uranus (14° Virgo-Pisces), to the Mars transit through the degree of the March 14, 2006 lunar eclipse (29° Virgo) at the end of the month. The 9th, 12th, 13th and 29th may be extremes in this trend, but there isn't a day in the whole month that isn't singed with the Red Planet's mark.
Of course this means extremes of action, aggression, conflict and confrontation at all levels of human experience, from the individual to the collective. Recklessness, rage, impatience, intolerance and other brutish facets of human nature come to the fore under the Mars alignments of August. Fires, explosions, oil and chemical spills, crashes, crime and military or paramilitary threats and strikes (including terrorism) will make even more headlines than usual this month - even more than they did last month. Tools, weapons and machinery are always dangerous in the hands of the careless, let alone the brutish - and this month, that's more a concern than usual. 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. Recognize the potential for aggravation and conflict, try to stay cool and focused, and don't let your guard down.
I know, I know, this Mars stuff is getting old. Hang in there, we're in the home stretch now. The last major challenging Mars aspects of 2006 will occur in September. And then the Mars action really heats up - next year.
The Mercury intersolar cycle that began on June 20 and continued throughout July (including the July 4-29 Mercury retrograde period) comes to a close on August 6, as the little planet in its morning star guise reaches maximum elongation west of the Sun. I've already described and diagrammed this cycle in some detail. Suffice it to say that for the first several days of August, we're still in a phase when all things mercurial are a higher than normal priority. Thought, communication, commerce and transportation remain prominent themes during this period, in other words. People who prepare and act accordingly will prosper during this cycle. Nearly everyone else will end 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 at times like this. Those who don't will get caught up in the miasma of missing information, missed connections and all kinds of messes and delays during the wrap-up phase of this, the next-to-last Mercury intersolar cycle of 2006.
Remember that you'll still need to make allowances in early August for the typical intersolar Mercury manifestations: 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) may play a part in such breakdowns, 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 such are in the cards, so make sure your own IT security protocols and other backup plans are well practiced and ready to hand.
The full moon on the 9th at 17° Aquarius brings together most of the major celestial themes for the month. That's as good a sign as any that this will be a time (give or take a few days) when editors have a hard time choosing headlines. Of course there's the Mars stuff (described above), very much in effect with Mars only two degrees from its exact opposition to Uranus under the light of the full moon. Added to the stories of conflict and conflagration will be the storm and seismic extremes in effect from the 3rd (in advance of the Moon hitting its extreme declination south of the equator on the 5th), through the lunar perigee (closest approach to Earth) on the 10th, winding down on the 13th (following the lunar southward equatorial crossing on the 12th). From severe storms packing high winds and heavy precipitation (with attendant flood damage) to moderate to severe seismic activity (including Richter 5+ quakes and volcanic eruptions, combined with tsunami in the worst case scenario), this is a geocosmic stress period that turns the forces of nature loose on the world. Be prepared, have your emergency kit well stocked, batten down the hatches. Remember that we're not talking garden variety natural disasters here. This is part of the secular lunar declination extreme, a cycle which has been in effect for several years already and continues through the summer of 2008.
But the main event of the full moon sky show - the whole month, the whole year in fact - is 2006's signature T-square configuration, Jupiter in Scorpio squaring the Saturn-Neptune opposition from Leo to Aquarius. It's a pattern that's slipping into place all month, like some gestalt in a kaleidoscope. The Sun slips from its quadrature (90° arc, aka the square aspect) to Jupiter on the 2nd to an alignment with Saturn on the 7th, pulling the square from Jupiter and Saturn into focus the whole time. The full moon on the 9th is conjunct Neptune, even as the Sun aligns with Saturn - voila, the T-square. And Saturn's opposition to Neptune becomes exact on the 31st, by which time Jupiter is back within a few degrees of its exact square to both Saturn and Neptune. As I've already indicated, this is an historic celestial configuration, the likes of which hasn't been seen since 535-536. And it doesn't betoken a single, snap event that makes headlines for a single day. Rather it signifies a broad process which is already underway and will continue on into next year. This means that there's a range of things you can expect from it this month, all of which is part and parcel of a trend that's already in progress.
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." Late June into early July did do a turnaround in the major equity markets, although it was temporarily reversed in July at the outset of the latest Middle East mess. With Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune all now closing in on their T-square, I figure the time is soon at hand to take profits and move into commodities again - by around the end of August or early September at the latest.
Economics aside, the social, cultural and political realignments signified by the Jupiter-Saturn-Neptune T-square are clearly ramping up lately, and will continue to do so at an accelerating pace in August. There hasn't been business as usual for a long time now, and you can pretty well kiss it good-bye.
In closing, I mentioned the geocosmic stress window associated with the full moon early in August, but that's not the only one this month. There's another that starts on the 17th, just ahead of the north lunar declination maximum on the 18th, running through the new moon on the 23rd all the way to just past the southward lunar crossing of the equator on the 26th, finally throttling back to normal on the 27th. 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) throughout this period, but most especially around the 18th, 23rd and 26th. The latter date, incidentally, marks a time (give or take a day or two) when strike-slip faults in particular (e.g. the San Andreas) are prone to break loose.
SPECIAL FEATURE: This month's birthdays of the famous and infamous (with astrological birth charts)