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© 2009 by Richard Nolle
last revised AUG 30, 2009

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). Also please be aware that, while I never change a forecast once it's published, I do post errata to acknowledge typographical errors and the like.

And when the future hinges on the next words that are said,
Don’t let logic interfere, believe your heart instead.

-- Philip Robison

SEP 4, 2009 Full MoonI’m looking for a bit of easing on the geophysical front this month, with no SuperMoons or eclipses from now all the way into December. This isn’t to say that the skies and seas and crust of our home planet will be drama-free throughout September – because that’s not going to happen. September 1-7, 10-21 and 23-26, for example, show some elevated storm, flooding and seismic risks (including magnitude 5+ earthquakes and volcanic eruptions), particularly within a few days either side of the full moon on the 4th, the new moon and southward lunar equatorial crossing on the 18th, and the south lunar declination extreme on the 25th. Still, Mother Nature seems destined to save most of her worst for the end of the year now.

It’s just as well, because the world doesn’t lack for notable celestial signatures this September. They may not have the high drama of natural cataclysms, but they can shake things up in their own right. I’m referring to the September 15 Saturn-Uranus opposition (socio-economic upheaval), primarily; but also to the September 11 Pluto direct station on the same day that Mars reaches the degree of the December 31, 2009 SuperMoon lunar eclipse (a continuation of the fires, crashes, explosions and mayhem of late August into early September). Wildfires, criminality, terrorism, and murder most foul made headlines in late August as Mars opposed Pluto. They’ll certainly persist into early September, particularly within a few days mid-month . . . maybe peaking around the 13th, when the Moon aligns with Mars. (Relief may come a few days later, when the Moon aligns with Venus.)

SEP 11, 2009 Pluto Station (Direct)By far the most significant of the celestial signatures of September, historically speaking, is the third (and the second this year) in the 2008-2010 series of Saturn-Uranus oppositions. I’ve described this cosmic signpost in detail and in context in my annual forecasts for 2008 and 2009, so I’ll refer you to those sources for a fuller exposition. For now, suffice it to say first, that this alignment is within a few degrees of being exact the whole month long (and has been since late August, and will continue to be so into early October). So, despite the fact that the exact alignment occurs on September 15, don’t expect a one-day flare-up. It’s already working as the month begins, and it’s not over when the month ends. And since it’s the middle alignment in the whole 2008-2010 set of five oppositions between these two planets, this is obviously a longer-term process – part of a longer-term transformation yet, as I’ve pointed out many times. Considerations like these are one of the reasons why I always caution clients not to make a fetish of exact dates. (Closer to home is the Jupiter direct station on October 13, another tipping point that is within a degree of exact from mid-September throughout the month of October.)

What’s this longer-term transformation all about? As I said, my 2008 and 2009 annual forecasts cover this in detail and put it into historical context. So I’ll just hit the high points here. This alignment is associated with an overturning of the economic and political status quo; again, not overnight, but this month should usher in the next significant development in the process. Another banking crisis, a reversal in the equity markets, more irregularities and uncertainties in international currency exchanges: these are the hallmarks of this alignment, historically. "That's what Saturn-Uranus oppositions do," as I pointed out in my 2009 World Forecast Highlights: "they replace a bankrupt regime with a new one, because the old fiction becomes too expensive to maintain."

SEP 15, 2009 Saturn-Uranus OppositionWith these developments come revolution and reform in the political sphere – including plenty of scapegoating and class warfare. Just don’t fall into the apocryphal mind-set that all too often afflicts those who attempt to understand and explain transitions of this sort. It’s not the end of the world: that’s a model based on human mortality, and it’s inappropriate here. It’s not a crash or a collapse: those are mechanical models, and they’re off-base too. What this is, is more along the lines of an ecological model: an environment is changing, altering food chains and species distributions. It’s an organic process, in other words. When the Industrial Revolution moved the center of economic activity from rural farms to urban factories, the farmers didn’t all die – even if the family farm mostly did. Now that we’re in the throes of a transition to a post-industrial economy, the workers won’t all die either – even if their jobs do.

Another historical signature of the Saturn-Uranus opposition is pandemic disease, as pointed out in my pointed out in my 2008 World Forecast Highlights: "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." More immediately, consider a Saturn-Uranus opposition that changes signs during its set, which is happening in the 2008-2010 set of five alignments (beginning in Virgo-Pisces, ending in Libra-Aries). The last time there was a change of sign during a set of Saturn-Uranus oppositions was the 1918-1920 set of five, which began in Leo-Aquarius and ended in Virgo-Pisces. In that last set, pandemic H1N1 swine flu peaked in 1919, during the Mars perigee pass - which will be coming up again this winter. These celestial parallels between the 1918-1920 H1N1 outbreak and its 2008-2010 redux suggest that the current pandemic will return far stronger this fall and winter as I pointed out months ago, in my May forecast.

The good news is that 21st Century medicine has a great many more tools at its disposal than WWI medicine, including antiviral drugs (e.g. Tamiflu, Relenza) as well as immunization. So the odds of having an apocalyptic pandemic this time around are reduced; which is a very good thing, given that the 1918-1920 pandemic killed anywhere from 50 million to 100 million people worldwide. On the other hand, no flu virus is to be taken lightly: ordinary seasonal flu kills about a half-million people around the world each and every year. And be aware that antiviral drugs and vaccinations carry risks too: the US vaccination program for the 1976 swine flu outbreak killed more people than the flu.

Mercury's Synodic CycleThe current H1N1 flu, like the 1918-1920 incarnation, has been most lethal to healthy young adults. This is very unlike the normal seasonal flu, which is deadliest to the very young and the very old. The WWI H1N1 was a versatile killer, taking people’s lives by way of pneumonia as well as hypercytokinemia – an immune system disruption that was also observed in the 2003 SARS epidemic; which, like 1918-1920 H1N1 peak, coincided with a Mars perigee pass – the very same phenomenon coming up in the fall/winter 2009-2010 period. Hypercytokinemia can culminate in hemorrhaging, resembling the Ebola virus in that respect. I haven’t seen any reports of hypercytokinemia in the current H1N1 outbreak yet, but I wouldn’t expect any until late fall into winter 2009-2010. By then, with a little luck, there may be sufficient preparation to head off a pandemic. In any event, September’s recurrence of the Saturn-Uranus opposition suggests that swine flu gets its second wind, building up for a strong fall and winter offensive first in the northern hemisphere, and then in the southern.

Very nearly guaranteeing that all the best intentions in the world won’t suffice to get things right is that fact that the whole month is subsumed in the year’s third Mercury intersolar cycle, when the little inner planet travels along with us on the same side of the Sun. It began on the 24th of August, when Mercury reached its maximum elongation east of the Sun as seen from Earth. The cycle continues through the September 7-29 retrograde and the September 20 inferior conjunction, ending with Mercury’s maximum western elongation on October 6.

This is a peak Mercury experience, with the little planet shining brighter than usual as the evening star at the beginning of the intersolar phase. And then it gets really strange, when Mercury’s apparent motion through our sky slows, then comes to a standstill, and then reverses direction – the infamous Mercury retrograde. After a few weeks, the reverse motion slows and stops, and then the little planet resumes its normal course of motion through our sky. Mercury remains brighter than usual following the end of its retrograde cycle, until it reaches maximum elongation west of the Sun (Mercury’s morning star phase) and then passes behind the solar plane as seen from Earth.

SEP 18, 2009 New MoonWhat I have termed the Mercury intersolar cycle is a way of putting the Earth-Sun-Mercury relationship into a perspective that reflects real-sky, observational astronomy. Look up in the sky over the indicated period and on the specified dates, and you will see the phenomena described above. This perspective replaces the stilted, removed-from-reality practice of looking not at the sky, but at an ephemeris: first to see when Mercury comes to the degree at which it will later makes its direct station, and second when it reaches the degree at which it will later make its retrograde station; and then referring to the overlap between these two dates and the lesser included Mercury retrograde dates as the "shadow period" of the retrograde.

For example, the shadow period for the September 7-29 Mercury retrograde would begin on August 17 (the day Mercury reaches the degree at which it goes direct on September 29) and end on October 14 (the day Mercury returns to the degree at which it went retrograde on September 7). But in terms of any organic, visible manifestation in the skies of our home planet, these ephemeris-derived dates have no relevance to the Earth-Sun-Mercury dynamic. It’s like left-brain versus right-brain thinking, linear versus holistic. One is a made-up abstraction looked up in a book, the other a reality that can be seen in the sky.

I’ve already described the Mercury intersolar cycle in detail elsewhere, so I won’t repeat myself here. The animation in this month’s forecast may help put the phenomenon in perspective. In any event, of more immediate concern is what to expect during this August 24-October 6 cycle. First and foremost, it’s important to recognize 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 hadn'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. And that's the reason these Mercury cycles tend to turn into Murphy's Law festivals. So be ready.

Among the sort of things to be ready for during the above mentioned Mercury intersolar cycles: strikes and other disruptions affecting , or just stay home.

In closing, I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind you to be prepared for more "Freaky Fridays" this month – the day US regulators seize failing banks. I know it’s fashionable to believe that the so-called "Great Recession" – the longest US economic downturn since official statistics were kept – is over or nearly over: and the sooner the better, I say. Certainly it will end someday. But what I see, as I’ve said before, looks like a said before, looks like a "W or double-W" recovery curve. September’s Saturn-Uranus opposition and Pluto direct station look like a convincing reversal point in the first up-leg of the W.

As I’ve said, this isn’t an ordinary recession: it’s a turning point in history comparable to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and the system of finance capitalism that enabled it. The old order is frantically printing money, creating credit and ginning up one bubble after another to try and preserve the status quo. That’s how we get a rising stock market (with made-up money and bank bail-outs), increased auto sales (with government rebates) and home sales (with government first-time buyer payoffs). It’s how we keep unemployed workers from taking to the streets (with extended unemployment benefits, and 10% of the US population now on food stamps). All of this, of course, is being financed with borrowed money. At some point, somebody sees that the Emperor has no clothes – and Saturn-Uranus oppositions like the one this month are just the thing to bring that realization home. You know what to do.

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