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© 2008 by Richard Nolle
last revised UT 22:41 JAN 31, 2008

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).

He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future.
-- George Orwell

FEB 7 Solar Eclipse (Annular)I can't see how anyone who has been nominally conscious so far this year can do anything but declare that, at least to date, my 2008 forecast was the writing on the wall. Actually, I was hoping against hope - as so many of us around the world are hoping - that the global financial crisis might yet be fixed by the powers that be. Alas, they may be 'the smartest guys in the room' - as was said of the geniuses who brought us the Enron debacle - but smart isn't necessarily wise. And that's the problem, clearly. As I've written, this isn't just a fiscal problem. It's a symptom of a turning point in history, and we're just about at the three-quarter point of the 40-year transition phase now.

Surely we'd all love to believe that the central bankers and politicians around the world know what to do and have to the power to do it, when it comes to averting a financial meltdown. The thing is, they're running a Ponzi scheme. They're the desk at the casino, taking our real money and giving us chips in return. That's acceptable, as long as they give you real money back when you cash out your chips. And they've done that for generations, less a vigorish we've come to call inflation. (That's the Ponzi scheme part of the deal.) But the last act comes on the day when we go to cash out our chips at the desk, and find that there's nobody there: management has absconded, all the money's gone, and all we've got are the chips.

The good news is that the smartest guys in the room still have a few more tricks up their sleeves, which means we're still in the chips - even though they're starting to look more than a little suspect. (For more on how long we're still in the chips, see my 2008 World Forecast Highlights.) The bad news, on the other hand, is that February shows how the smartest guys in the room are only masters of a game that increasingly clashes with reality.

As I've already written, February and August are the months to watch this year. The solar eclipse on at 17° 44' Aquarius on February 7 is conjunct Neptune, as is the lunar eclipse on August 16. This in effect extends the 2006-2007 Saturn-Neptune opposition theme: a loss of confidence, the money's gone, misplaced faith, theft and deception (including self-deception), the Emperor has no clothes. This operates at a lot of levels, to be sure. But given what has already gone before, and the fact that we're having a Saturn-Uranus opposition this year as well, I have to think the currency crisis now underway gets a whole lot bigger in 2008. And the Saturn-Uranus opposition speaks of international conferences addressing what has become a global financial crisis.

FEB 6 Mercury-Sun Conjunction (Inferior)I figure that, with the solar eclipse being not only a conjunction with Neptune, but an inferior conjunction with Mercury as well, February brings the realization that the big banks, the insurance companies, the central bankers and the politicians are for the most part liars and fools. Some of them, the ones who really know what's going on, are liars. They're the ones cashing out. Most of them are fools, who have deluded not only themselves but the general public as well. If they weren't liars and fools, the fixes they're foisting on us and the global financial system would actually work. February makes it clear that these are band-aids on a decapitation. The head still talks, the eyes seem to see, but that won't last long.

This eclipse, as I've written, looks like a major market mover, under the impetus of breaking news that gives the lie to past assurances that credit and liquidity problems are under control. Bigger debts, weaker economic data, liar loans, money scandals, credit cover-ups and freeze-ups . . . and even then the official explanations are delusional. Anyone with anything important in their natal chart around 18d of the fixed signs (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius - especially Aquarius/Leo) might want to pay particular attention to this eclipse.

Then comes the February 21 total lunar eclipse at 1° 53' Virgo, visible from start to finish over most of the western hemisphere. Conjunct Saturn, this eclipse signals a time of worries. Of course, given the rest of what's happening this month and throughout 2008, there will be millions of people worried about their jobs, their homes, the food on their tables; but also sickness and the means to remedy it. This will be the 26th lunar eclipse in Saros Cycle 133, which began with the partial lunar eclipse of May 13, 1557. Look it up in my table of Saturn-Uranus oppositions: the signature alignment of 2008 was there at the birth of Saros 133 too, back in 1557. It was the year of an influenza epidemic in Europe, as well as a great financial crisis. Another Saros 133 lunar eclipse, another Saturn-Uranus opposition . . . another financial crisis, certainly. An epidemic too? Not so certain . . . but if you haven't already had your flu shot, time's a wastin'. Health care systems, public assistance, accounting atrocities . . .

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a fatalist, and I see no point in despair. Despair only distracts us from doing what we can to save ourselves. Do what you can to save yourself, and the people you care about. You don't need to pull it all off in February, and few people have the wherewithal to do it that quickly anyway. But if you haven't started by now, you're making it hard on yourself; if not impossible. What to do? Study my 2008 World Forecast Highlights for a few ideas. I don't pretend to have all the answers, but some of the ones you'll find there have worked out pretty well these last few years. Take gold and silver, for example. (All you can afford.)

Synodic Cycle of MarsThese market meltdowns and financial fiascoes are a big part of the February story, but not the whole thing. Mars remains prominent in the night sky, still closer than usual to Earth, even though it's now receding from its peak perigee of late December. I have previously described this as signifying a trend toward "extra strife and danger," a time when there's a surfeit of "fires, crashes, clashes and explosions . . . inflamed passions, hot tempers and rash, even violent action," and a greater than usual risk for "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." While there are no huge spikes in the Red Planet danger curve this month, the high end Mars phenomenon continues into April, so there remains a higher than usual background level of hazard and agitation, so be ready for it.

Agitation due to people not paying attention was a big part of January, and remains prominent this month, as Mercury's intersolar cycle continues throughout February. Peaks come around the 6th (the inferior conjunction with the Sun, followed by the eclipse) and the 19th (the day of Mercury's direct station).

Mercury's Synodic CycleIf you're a regular, you know the drill. If not, the key idea is that 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. 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 chaos created by the people who are sleepwalking. So be ready. Otherwise, it's silly season out there, a whole Murphy's Law festival.

So be prepared for 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.

Last but not least, February looks pretty active on the storm and seismic front, what with the eclipses on the 7th and 21st. These are easily the most prominent of the soli-lunar factors at work this month, indicating upsurges in the risk for powerful storms with heavy precipitation and damaging winds, as well as notable seismic activity (magnitude 5+ quakes and volcanic eruptions).

FEB 21 Lunar Eclipse (Total)Visible over Antarctica, New Zealand and parts of Australia, the February 7 solar eclipse is likely to coincide with some notable geophysical disturbances in this region during the January 31-February 17 risk window - most likely around the 2nd (south lunar declination maximum), 7th, (the solar eclipse itself), 9th, (the Moon's northward crossing of the celestial equator), 14th (lunar perigee) and 16th (north lunar declination peak) in particular. Astro-locality mapping paints a couple of longitudinal risk zones crossing Australia, Indonesia, Japan and China in the eastern hemisphere, and from Venezuela through Brazil down into Argentina in the west. There's also a special vulnerability horizon sweeping from the Aleutians to east of Hawaii, along east Africa into the Middle East and through Russia. While these appear to be zones of particular susceptibility, no place on Earth is ever beyond the reach of severe weather, so be prepared regardless of where you happen to be during the January 31-February 17 risk window. And remember that weather-related infrastructure disruptions tend to be par for the course during a Mercury intersolar cycle - including geomagnetic disturbances.

In addition to its zone of visibility - pretty much the whole western world - the February 21 lunar eclipse raises the storm and seismic risk level worldwide. This alignment is planetary in scale, after all. Astro-locality maps out a familiar danger zone for this eclipse; pretty much identical to the solar eclipse earlier in the month: a couple of longitudinal special risk zones crossing Australia, Indonesia, Japan and China in the eastern hemisphere, and from Venezuela through Brazil down into Argentina in the west, along with a special vulnerability horizon sweeping from the Aleutians to east of Hawaii, along east Africa into the Middle East and through Russia. I don't recall seeing a one-two punch like this, in decades of looking at astro-locality eclipse maps. It will be fascinating to see what develops. Probably more fascinating if you've got fresh batteries and plenty of bottled water ready at hand.

I look for the storm and seismic activity surge associated with the February 21 lunar eclipse to make its presence felt from the 18th through the 24th, with probable peaks around the 21st (the day of the eclipse) and the 22nd (the Moon's southward crossing of the celestial equator). The month ends on another turbulent note, as geophysical stress markers start rising again on the 29th in advance of the south lunar declination peak on March 1.

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