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).
The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be the beginning.
-- Ivy Baker Priest
October is very much a hands-on month, a time when it takes lots of care and attention to keep things on track and running right. It's a trend that really began last month, as Mercury reached its maximum elongation east of the Sun on the 29th. This marks the beginning of the third and final Mercury intersolar phase of 2007, which includes the October 12-November 1 retrograde and the October 23 inferior conjunction, and wraps up with the western elongation extreme on November 8.
Unless you're new around here, you probably know all this already. In any event, here's how it works. Mercury's intersolar phase begins when the little Sun-grazer reaches 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. 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 well on its way toward the far side of our parent star. Between these two extremes, the greatest east and west elongations, comes the fabled Mercury retrograde period of astrological lore. (See the animated illustration for more on this.)
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 retrograde station), 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); 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.
Mercury retrograde is the cycle when everything goes wrong, to hear some astrologers tell it. The truth is not so simple-minded. All things Mercurial are paramount 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. 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 - like those bozos putting on makeup, shaving, eating and/or texting on their cell phones while driving. 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.
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); as well as strikes in general. 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.
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 a Mercury cycle like the one in effect all this month - and particularly around the 12th (Mercury's retrograde station, with Venus conjunct Saturn and the Moon's south node) and the 23rd (its conjunction with the Sun); plus November 1 (Mercury's direct station, with Saturn and the south lunar node still conjunct). Note these dates: stay on task and be ready with a fallback plan just in case.
Mercury isn't the only intersolar planet this month, which means of course that Venus is also between us and the Sun now. The cycle that started with Venus reaching its maximum eastern elongation on June 9 comes to an end with Venus' greatest elongation west of the Sun on October 28. Having addressed this phase in some detail in my 2007 World Forecast Highlights (and further in the August forecast), I won't belabor the issue here. Suffice it to say that Venus being intersolar, which means in its near approach to Earth, tends to coincide with a period that emphasizes all things under the aegis of Venus: love and sex and beauty, money and value, aesthetics and ease, etc.
If all that sounds just wonderful, remember that each of these concepts has a dark side too. And since this particular Venus intersolar cycle coincides with some indicators of vulnerability in the world financial system and equity markets - the Saturn-Neptune and Jupiter-Uranus alignments, first and foremost - I long ago saw fit to forecast a weakening of "an otherwise favorable indicator, turning apparent prosperity into something considerably less. Consequently, I'm inclined to expect a generally lukewarm global economy at best this year. It's as if a promising start loses momentum, possibly by late spring and certainly by late summer. 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." I published that last year in my forecast for 2007, and I think it's fairly clear by now that it was at least somewhat prescient: the US dollar collapse, the global liquidity crunch, the whole nine yards. (If you bought gold and silver two years ago per my 2006 forecast, you're sitting pretty now, and none of this bothers you much.)
This isn't over yet; not only because it's part of a multi-year secular cycle as I've described elsewhere, but also because in the short term there are still a couple biggies to get past this month. One is this year's third and final Jupiter-Uranus waning square (270° arc), exact on the 9th but within a few degrees of exact just about all month (at least through the 24th). And then there are the several Venus, Saturn and Neptune factors: the Venus-Saturn alignment on the south lunar node on the 14th, Venus opposing Uranus on the 25th and squaring Jupiter on the 29th, and Neptune's direct station on the 31st. In short, the world equity markets and financial infrastructure remain in a shaky adjustment cycle throughout this month. Of course this won't be one-directional. It will have its ups and downs. And given the sinking dollar, only corporate globalization keeps US equities from tanking altogether. But they have to go up just to keep even, by the same token. Purely domestic US assets (e.g. real estate, labor and any other goods and services that can't be exported) don't have this protection. They rise in dollar-denominated value because of inflation (i.e. the sinking of the dollar); but in relation to more universal commodities, they sink.
All in all, I suspect that pressures on the financial infrastructure should begin to let up for a time in October, especially as we approach the end of the month. That's not to say that the whole system is sound as-is, because it obviously isn't. One development that helps prop up the illusion for now is a relative easing in geopolitical tensions; namely a slow-up in the march to the next war. This is the sort of thing that keeps oil from hitting $100 a barrel for a time. We're a couple months out from the next such crisis, which is indicated by the fast-approaching biennial Mars perigee (close approach to Earth). It's easy to imagine that a military conflict, terrorist attack or even some very awful accident or 'act of God' could be the trigger that sets off a panic.
Prominent Mars years, when Earth and Mars are relatively near each other, come around once every couple years, give or take a month or so. They correspond to the Sun-Mars opposition, which occurred in 2001 (a few months before the 9/11 attack) and in 2003 (as the insurgency phase got underway in Gulf War II). For 2007, the Mars perigee effect is active from the time Mars goes retrograde (November 15), peaking at the Sun-Mars opposition (December 24) and continuing through the end of the Red Planet's retrograde (January 30, 2008). That whole period is bound to be a time of elevated tension and conflict, the kind of atmosphere that cultivates inflamed passions, hot tempers and rash, even violent action. Apart from the direct impact of the fires, clashes, crashes and explosions that are par for the course under this sort of Mars close pass, some such incidents can raise the possibility of a disruption in the oil and natural gas supply chain - which in turn can shock the financial markets and put investors and institutions in a mad dash for the exits. More on that as the time draws near . . . for now, just this brief heads-up, which is timely as Mars slows its progress in the night sky.
While terror attacks, refinery fires, wars and such are sure to do the trick, they're not the only threats to a stable oil market. Mother Nature has a way of disrupting production and distribution too, mainly by way of storms. And the severe storm potential is particularly high around the 26th this month, as the second SuperMoon in a row (and the closest one all year) stirs up Earth's crust, seas and skies. (For more on SuperMoons, see my article in the October/November 2007 issue of The Mountain Astrologer magazine.) This isn't the only geophysical stress window of the month, but it sure looks like the biggest. Consequently, be on the lookout for an upsurge in severe storms (with attendant high winds, heavy precipitation, flooding, mudslides and such) as well as notable seismic activity including moderate-to-severe earthquakes (magnitude 5 and up) and volcanic eruptions during the October SuperMoon window, which extends from the 22nd (30 hours in advance of the lunar equatorial crossing the next day) through the full moon and perigee on the 26th and on until the wee hours of Halloween (just past the Moon's north declination extreme on the 29th).
There's no place on Earth beyond the reach of natural hazards like these - a SuperMoon alignment is planetary in scale and scope, after all - but there are a few hints as to areas of special vulnerability. Astro-mapping the October 26 SuperMoon shows a longitudinal risk zone from central Mongolia and China northward through Siberia and southward across Indochina and Indonesia. That same line shows up on the other side of the world to carve a swath through Ontario Province southward to bracket Washington DC and Raleigh, North Carolina; continuing across Cuba and Central America to the northern and northwestern tip of South America. This particular map also includes a horizon arc running northwesterly through Africa across the Mediterranean Sea and Eastern Europe across western Russian (including Moscow and Kiev).
The extreme SuperMoon of the 26th is surely the headliner, but it's not the only geocosmic stressor this month. Additional storm and seismic risk windows run from the 1st through 3rd (surrounding the north lunar declination extreme on the 2nd), the 8th through the 14th (triggered by the Moon's southward equatorial crossing on the 9th and the new moon on the 11th), as well as the 15th into the 18th (associated with the south lunar declination peak on the 16th).
SPECIAL FEATURE: This month's birthdays of the famous and infamous (with astrological birth charts)