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© 2007 by Richard Nolle
last revised UT 23:55 JUN 30, 2007

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).

Those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.
-- John F. Kennedy

JUN 25 Saturn-Neptune OppositionDetails to follow of course, but here's the outline: July is a lot like June, with strong geophysical disturbances stirring up Earth's atmosphere, crust and seas around the beginning, middle and end of the month; plus a persistent crisis of confidence where the major financial, social and political institutions of the world are concerned. Mercury's intersolar cycle continues through most of the month as well, lasting until the 20th; while the lesser included Mercury retrograde period wraps up with the little planet's direct station on the 10th. So the whole "Murphy's Law" thing runs pretty well rampant for the better part of the month. Another intersolar cycle that began in June kicks it up a notch late in July, as Venus turns retrograde on the 27th: normally a positive financial indicator, this one looks edgy because Venus is so close to Saturn in the sky. And then there's the Red Planet build-up late in the month, with Mars squaring first Neptune on the 24th and then Saturn on the 31st: signs of danger and conflict at many levels. It's going to be one of those months when we all need to stay alert and step lively, but it's not by any means an unmitigated disaster. A fair amount of frustration, a tragedy here and there, but all in all not too bad for most folks, most of the time.

Equity markets, currencies, trade and all such manifestations of socio-political infrastructure - the big story of the year as a whole -were very much a major theme for June, what with the third and final instance of the current Saturn-Neptune opposition series exact on the 25th. It's a configuration that stays within a few degrees of precise alignment well into July, and it picks up some reinforcement through a string of off-and-on activations for the next couple of months. These include Venus aligning with Saturn July 1 (repeated August 13 and October 14), the Venus opposition to Neptune (June 30, August 25 and September 21), plus a similar set of solar and Mercury alignments in July and August and the aforementioned Mars squares to Saturn and Neptune this month. That's far from a complete list, by the way. The nub of it is that the credibility of the social, political, economic and cultural edifice that underpins the dominant civilization of this planet is going Cheshire cat on us: disappearing in fits and starts before our eyes.

This is all happening right on schedule, of course. My forecast for the year spelled out what to expect concomitant with the historic Jupiter-Uranus square and Saturn-Neptune opposition (both in effect in May and June just passed as well as in January and February, with Saturn-Neptune remaining in force for weeks yet to come): Look back, check out the major market swoons in both time frames, and you'll get an idea what to expect this month. Think stock market drops, currency panics and the like. For more on this, see my forecast for the year as a whole. And bear in mind this isn't some 1929-style crash. (It's a new kind of crash, a settling of the soufflé that takes years.) Think "how the mighty hath fallen" and look for bargains amidst the debris. (Think political debris too: look at the collapse of US immigration reform legislation in June.) Don't make a fetish of exact dates, since these are slow cosmic functions and they're not far from exact for a good part (if not all) of the month. Just as in June, but this is one of those situations where we're within one snowflake of an avalanche just about the whole month long.

These fiscal and political messes are not helped by Mercury's intersolar circus continuing this month. In the same sense that a SuperMoon or high declination new or full moon is an extreme moon - akin to Luna on steroids, if you will - Mercury in its intersolar cycle is extreme Mercury. Mercury goes intersolar as seen from Earth more than any other planet; several times a year in fact, including the infamous Mercury retrogrades of astrological legend. While most astrologers pay a fair amount of attention to Mercury's retrograde, few realize that it's only a part of the more fundamental intersolar phase in the orbital interaction between Mercury and Earth, as they both orbit around the Sun.

Mercury's Synodic CycleMercury's intersolar phase this time around began on June 2nd, when the little Sun-grazer reached its maximum elongation east of the Sun - its evening star phase. This happens when Mercury has come 'round to the same side of the Sun as Planet Earth, and is relatively near us. The little planet is then pulling up to pass Earth on the inside track, as it were; catching up to us from behind and then passing between us and the Sun. Just as it catches up with us, Mercury passes directly between Earth and the Sun. This is Mercury's inferior conjunction with the Sun, and it happened on June 28. After the inferior conjunction, Mercury continues pulling ahead of us until it reaches its greatest elongation west of the Sun (its morning star phase), at which point the little planet is headed toward the far side of our parent star: that's July 20th, the end date of the Mercury intersolar phase that begins this month. Between these two extremes, the greatest east and west elongations, comes the fabled Mercury retrograde period of astrological lore.

Retrograde means moving backwards, which is what Mercury appears to do in our skies when the little inner planet catches up on us and passes us on the inside, between Earth and the Sun. First Mercury reaches its greatest eastern elongation, then it appears to stand still in the sky (the June 15 retrograde station in the current cycle), and then it appears to move backwards through the heavens for a period of several weeks: that's Mercury retrograde for you. It ends when the little Sun-grazer's backwards motion comes to an apparent halt (the direct station, which occurs this time around on July 10); after which, Mercury moves forward again, until it reaches its maximum elongation west of the Sun. The reality of course is that Mercury never stops in its orbit, and never moves backward: this is only how the relative motions of Earth and Mercury around the Sun cause Mercury to move through our night sky. (Maybe the animated illustration in this paragraph will help convey the idea.)

Mercury retrograde is when everything goes wrong, to hear some astrologers tell it. The truth is not so simple-minded. All things Mercurial are crucial during the intersolar Mercury phase; infrastructure, commerce, information, communication and transport being prime examples. Absent careful investigation and planning, and conscientious follow-through, all such things are apt to go off track during these cycles. There is "a time to every purpose under heaven," as the Preacher wrote (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Mercury's intersolar phase is a time for focus, concentration, planning, follow-through and communication - all the qualities of the active and involved mind, in short. In case you haven't noticed, most people are not especially alert and focused most of the time. When this kind of sleepwalking runs into Mercury's intersolar cycle, with its focus on mental acuity, it doesn't take long for things to go awry. If you're sharp and focused and alert, you can avoid a certain amount of this mess. In fact, you can even prosper by concentrating on tasks that center on thought, planning and communication. But you'll still have to dodge all the messes created by the people who are sleepwalking. So be ready. This is extreme Mercury, so you must be extremely aware and attentive just to keep pace in the midst of the overload.

JUL 10 Mercury Station (Direct)Among the sort of things to be ready for during the above mentioned Mercury intersolar cycles: 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. We've already seen scads of this kind of incidents since Mercury went intersolar back in June: the many strikes (the South African civil servants and miners, the Korean automakers, the Indian airline employees, etc.), the power failures (e.g. the one that stopped the New York subways); the space station and United Airlines computers going haywire, the hedge fund miscalculations, Senator Reid's inability to count votes . . . I'm just scratching the surface here. Expect plenty more of the same.

If I had to pick a day to have a backup generator all fueled up and ready to go, a backup plan in place in case the scheduled or expected didn't come to pass, a day to be especially sharp and steady and focused - it would be during one of these Mercury cycles. In particular, I'd pay heed to the remaining key dates in the little planet's intersolar period; namely the date the retrograde ends (July 10) and the date the intersolar phase ends (July 20). Also take a look at July 12-13, as the high-declination balsamic Moon passes very near Mercury in the sky. These are the times when being ready with a fallback plan is apt to be especially vital. And remember - Mercury retrograde horror stories notwithstanding - it's not so much that disaster is destined to strike when Mercury is in its intersolar phase, 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. And that's the reason these Mercury cycles tend to turn into Murphy's Law festivals. Don't say I didn't warn you!

Synodic Cycle of VenusComplicating the current Mercury intersolar cycle is the fact that Venus is simultaneously in its intersolar phase this month. It began with Venus as evening star (Venus Vesper) reaching its maximum eastern elongation on June 9, and ends with Venus the morning star (Venus Lucifer) attaining its greatest western elongation on October 28. This is the time, once every year and a half or so, when Venus comes up from behind Earth on the inside orbital track, catches up on our home planet and then passes between us and the Sun before leaving us behind. Included in the Venus intersolar cycle for 2007 are the July 27-September 8 retrograde (the latter date falling perilously close to the solar eclipse on the 11th), as well as Venus' inferior conjunction with the Sun on August 18 (which is conjunct Saturn - not a good sign).

During their intersolar cycle, the inferior planets Mercury and Venus are actually closer to Earth than usual, brighter and more prominent in our sky. In the case of Venus, this tends to coincide with a period of relative ease and prosperity, all else being equal. All else is not equal during this year's Venus intersolar cycle, unfortunately. It starts in the same sign as, and within a few weeks of, Saturn's location at its final opposition to Neptune of the year; at a time when these two planets are barely more than a degree away from their exact alignment in the sky. And then there's the aforementioned proximity of Saturn to Venus' conjunction with the Sun, and Venus' direct station to the September 11 solar eclipse.

All this Saturn stuff in combination with Venus' intersolar cycle tends to weaken an otherwise favorable indicator, turning apparent prosperity into something considerably less. Consequently, I'm inclined to expect that this summer brings the dawning realization that we're facing a generally lukewarm global economy at best this year. It's as if a promising start early in the year is seen to lose momentum, and I expect it will be one of those situations where central banks manage to put together rescue and stimulus packages that keep things from falling to pieces - but only just barely. It turns out, I suspect, that the pundits have been referring to the wrong girl in marveling at the Goldilocks economy of late (not too hot, not too cold, just right). While Venus shines bright in the sky, Goldilocks very likely morphs into a different girl, right before our eyes: Cleopatra, Queen of Denial. Toss in some terror attacks, military clashes and general international instability around the time Mars squares Saturn and Neptune at month's end, and you've got the makings of crisis prices here, a panic there . . . you get the picture.

Speaking of those Mars squares on the 24th and 31st, they make the last week or two in July a good time to be especially safety-conscious. Accidents, fires, crashes, criminality, violence and strife are on the upswing as Mars draws into a T-square to Saturn and Neptune. Watch your back; be careful with fire, weapons, tools and machinery; get a grip on your passions and look out for the proverbial 'other guy' at times like this. Remember: this operates not only at the individual level, in terms of interpersonal conflict and hazards; but also at the collective level, which brings social and political powers into play. That can mean military conflict, terrorism, etc. Such things are still at a fairly low level this month compared to what they'll be in the fall, when Mars goes retrograde. Plenty of time for practice . . .

As mentioned earlier, geophysical stresses - strong storms with high winds and heavy precipitation, moderate to severe seismic activity (magnitude 5 and up earthquakes, volcanic eruptions), tidal extremes and the like - will be concentrated largely at the beginning, middle and end of July. The full moon on June 30th marks one such risk window, which extends to July 3. Another brief danger zone is associated with the lunar equatorial crossing on the 6th, and remains in effect from late on the 5th into the 7th. July 11-17, under the new moon and north lunar declination peak, is the next upsurge; followed a brief burst of turbulence from the 18th to the 20th and a larger one that extends from the 25th through the full moon on the 30th and into early August.

The lunar surge dates bracketed above are times to be prepared as best you're able to deal with Mother Nature's brute power. If you live in, or plan to be in, a seismically active location, these are the times to brace yourself and know where the exits are. And the same currents stirring Earth's crust whip up the atmosphere too, so keep a weather eye peeled and your emergency gear handy. Remember that the geocosmic forces at work here are planetary in scale, and therefore there's no place on Earth beyond their reach. At the same time, the law of probability means that the whole planet can't take it all on the chin at once. So be ready wherever you are, but perhaps most especially if you'll be in some of the high risk astro-locality zones for the month. For example, western Europe and west Africa as well as western North America plus the Caribbean and south Asia at mid-month . . . southern Mexico, the Gulf and eastern US plus Iceland, Russia, western Asia and New Zealand toward month's end.

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