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 future is always beginning now.
-- Mark Strand
Fires, crashes, clashes and explosions: they've been growing in prominence as a retrograde Mars has grown larger in the night sky these past few weeks. They'll be coming on even stronger throughout December, as we approach the full moon Sun-Mars opposition on the 24th. Mars perigees, when the Red Planet aligns with Earth on the same side of the Sun - bringing the orbits of these two planets into their cyclical nearest proximity - are always times of extra strife and danger on our home planet. Consider the current riots, looting and arson in France: they began under a Mars retrograde, just like the last such riots in France two years ago. Another Mars perigee cycle, another riot cycle . . . it's not the only story this month, but it is a major theme. And it continues at least through January.
In recent years, such Mars cycles 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 in full swing 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). This time around, the Mars close approach includes within its time slot a Jupiter-Pluto conjunction which, while not exact until December 11, is within a few degrees already as of late November - and stays there through the end of December.
A Mars perigee alone is plenty significant. Geopolitical tensions accelerate the closer we get to the Sun-Mars opposition of December 24, now that we're well into the build-up to the next international crisis. A military conflict, terrorist attack or even some very awful accident or 'act of God' could be the trigger that sets off a panic in oil and other commodity prices during this Mars cycle. It's a period that's bound to be a time of elevated tension and conflict, the kind of atmosphere that feeds inflamed passions, hot tempers and rash, even violent action; also accidents in general, and in this case with a special focus on mines, dangerous chemicals and other noxious substances, and the petroleum and nuclear industries.
Apart from the direct impact of the fires (including energy infrastructure conflagrations), clashes, crashes and explosions that are par for the course under this sort of Mars close approach, some such incidents can raise the particular 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. That's because the current Mars perigee includes within its time slot a Jupiter-Pluto conjunction which is within a few degrees of precise alignment throughout December. The Jupiter-Pluto factor adds gravitas to this month's Mars perigee, which occurs within days of the Red Planet aligning in opposition to Jupiter (December 26) and Pluto (January 2). This looks to me like the aegis of developments that shake the world's commercial and financial infrastructure, from fires, crashes and clashes that disrupt energy supplies, delivery and infrastructure to international saber-rattling - the kind of stimuli that send equity markets into a swoon. Before it's done, I suspect $100 a barrel oil, $800 an ounce gold and two dollar pounds will look like a bargain.
There's plenty of other significant celestial action this month, including Saturn's Saturn retrograde station on the 19th (marking the beginning of the Ringed Planet's cycle of apparent backwards motion through the sky, which lasts until May 3, 2008). Watch for all saturnine phenomena to grow in prominence over these next few months, with a peak late in February, as the Sun and Saturn align at opposite ends of the heavens with Earth in the middle. What's saturnine? It's the very opposite of former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan's iconic "irrational exuberance": things slow down and sober up, get heavy or serious or sad; turn glum, morose or melancholy. If that sounds like 2007 in a nutshell with regard to credit and equity markets, consumer confidence and the like, there's a very strong astrological reason for it. And that reason isn't gone now that the Saturn-Neptune opposition has passed. When you spend years digging yourself into a hole, you don't climb out the instant you stop digging.
This Saturn station is part of an annual cycle, so too much should not be made of it. But it's bigger than most, given the important Saturn cycles this year (including the oppositions to Neptune back in February and June); also the fact that the December 19 retrograde station occurs within days of the full moon and Sun-Mercury-Jupiter-Pluto alignments in opposition to Mars, as well as at a point within a few degrees of the very spot in space that would turn the January 22, 2007 Jupiter-Uranus square into a T-Square. All in all, it's greed trying to put fear to rout: the buyers step in to bottom-feed, until panic breaks out again and the crowd tries to sell out before they're trampled under. With the Mars close approach shouting "fire!" so to speak, December never wanders too far away from a panicky crisis. That's how it looks from a bottom line kind of perspective, anyway. From a social, cultural and political perspective, it bespeaks a general anguished frustration with things the way they are, and a yearning for someone good and strong to set things right. Be careful what you wish for . . . I believe it was President Gerald Ford who said, "A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have."
Don't read any of this as an endorsement of the gloomer-doomers out there. This old world lurches from panic to crisis even in the best of times, and somehow it manages to stay together. If you bought your gold and silver a couple years ago as I advised back then, and followed my advice to buy the metals on the dips ever since, you're doing well. Buy commodities in general on the dips, and sell them on the panics: that way, even the panics treat you right. And knowing when the world's trouble spots are apt to erupt, steer clear when the time comes: there's a ticket to relative calm and peace of mind, at least. Speaking of such, the Sun-Mars alignment on the 24th is culminating along a longitudinal line through Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Indian Ocean in the Old World, and the western US and Canada in the New. While these may be particular focal points for the coming Mars hot spots, the fact remains that a trouble spot can be anywhere one cranky person raises a ruckus.
Finally, don't forget the storm and seismic risk windows this month. There are no SuperMoons and no eclipses, so I'm not expecting the worst of the worst in this regard. But still, there are enough geophysical warning signs to warrant a little advance notice. For example, the Moon's southward equatorial crossing on the 2nd (in effect from the 1st into the 4th) is one such indicator of an up-tick in damaging storms with high winds and heavy precipitation, as well as moderate to severe seismic activity (magnitude 5+ earthquakes and volcanic eruptions). Another such interval is in effect from the 6th through the 12th, surrounding the new moon on the 9th and the south lunar declination extreme on the 10th. December 16-18 (bracketing the northward lunar equatorial crossing on the 17th) and 29-31 (centered on the Moon's southward crossing of the celestial equator on the 30th) are likewise notable geocosmic risk windows. But by far the most ominous storm and seismic risk window for the month has to be December 21-27 (associated with the north lunar declination peak on the 23rd hard on the heels of the previous day's lunar perigee, plus the especially potent full moon of the 24th). These are the times to keep a weather eye on the sky, to have your emergency kit ready to hand, and to make allowances for weather-related hazards and delays if traveling or expecting someone who is. It's a big planet, and chances are most of us will have the luxury of witnessing this part of the December forecast as spectators, rather than being personally caught up in the hazards of dangerous storms or seismic upheaval. But do be prepared, just in case.
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