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© 2009 by Richard Nolle
last revised DEC 31, 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. 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.

Finally, please be aware that this is an abridged version of my 2010 World Forecast Highlights. You're welcome to order your own personal copy of the complete forecast if you like, either the print version for USPS delivery ($40) or a PDF version for email delivery($20). Orders may be placed by mail or phone as always, using check or money order or major credit cards. (See contact details at the end of the forecast.) Or feel free to use my PayPal page, for online ordering any time.

Don't turn away from possible futures before you're certain you don't have anything to learn from them.
-- Richard Bach

2010 Jupiter-Saturn-Pluto T-SquareThere are several major celestial themes for 2010, arguably more than we’ve seen coming together in a few years now. There’s the historic Jupiter-Pluto-Saturn T-Square (which includes a Jupiter-Saturn opposition, Jupiter-Uranus conjunction, the Saturn-Pluto square and the last of the 2008-2010 Saturn-Uranus oppositions); the 2009-2010 Mars Maximum cycle, the 2010-2011 Venus Maximum cycle, and an unusual string of extreme declination SuperMoons. Each and every one of these is a significant cosmic cycle in its own right, and several are historic – part of a sequence the likes of which hasn’t been seen in some 1,500 years.

An obvious accompaniment to some of these cycles is the global financial crisis. It's a crisis that got going in a big way over the past several years, exactly as I predicted in my 2006 and 2007 forecasts. My 2008 World Forecast Highlights summed it up this way: "The big story for 2008, in a word, is money . . . and the money, in a word, is gone." The celestial configurations of 2010 point to the outlines of a resolution to this ongoing crisis, as well as some new challenges.

As I wrote in my 2009 World Forecast Highlights, "People are asking whether the world economy is in a recession or a depression. The answer, frankly, is yes." I noted that what we now call a recession was once called a panic, and then dubbed a depression because that sounded less, well, panicky. After the Great Depression of the 1930s turned into "one of America’s (and the world’s) worst nightmares, subsequent administrations determined that economic downturns should be called something else – anything else – to avoid triggering a national malaise. They settled on recession, which seemed to carry a less threatening connotation – until the current one came along, at any rate. Chances are, the Orwellian types will coin a new term to replace recession, by the time this one is done. A rose is a rose is a rose . . . and some are more equal than others."

Indeed, pundits have christened the current economic downturn the "Great Recession", and called it the worst since the Great Depression; as if that’s truly historic. Call it recession, call it depression, call it panic . . . call it what you will. This is no ordinary (or even unusual) downturn in the business cycle, as the pundits and politicians and bankers proclaim. (They’re whistling past the graveyard, trying to reassure themselves and us and avoid a panic.) This is a turning point in history. As I’ve been explaining these past several years now, this is a combination of cycles that run the gamut from hundreds of years long to well over a thousand years.

AUG 31, 2006 Great T-SquareThe underlying story, the real deal, is that this is part of the ongoing and historic shift in civilization I've been writing about in my forecasts these past several years. It hit critical mass, as I have written, under the aegis of the 2006 Saturn-Jupiter-Neptune T-Square configuration (the first of its kind since the year 536), and the subsequent 2006-2007 Saturn-Neptune opposition, and then the 2008-2010 Saturn-Uranus opposition. These configurations in turn are rooted in what the astrologers of old called the Trigonalis, the historic watershed we've all been living in since 1980-81 and which culminates in 2020.

Historically, these various cycles are associated with dramatic changes in climate, widespread pandemic, and fundamental changes in culture and civilization (terms which specifically include economics and politics). Take the 2008-2010 Saturn-Uranus opposition, for example. As pointed out in my 2008 World Forecast Highlights, it’s an alignment that has an historical association both with pandemic disease and widespread financial debacles: "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 what 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, H1N1 pandemic peaked in 1919, during the Mars perigee pass - which is in effect again during the winter and spring of 2010.

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. Antivirals and immunizations are not without risk, however: the 1976 H1N1 vaccinations killed more people than the flu itself, for example. Still, 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.

APR 26, 2010 Saturn-Uranus OppositionThe current H1N1 flu, like the 1918-1920 iteration, 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 that’s exactly the sort of prospect that means this flu should not be taken lightly – most especially, given the historical association between Saturn-Uranus oppositions and pandemic influenza.

That 2008-2010 Saturn-Uranus opposition series concludes this year with the April 26 and July 26 apparitions. While both alignments mark times of great social, political and economic import – give or take several weeks either way, because these planets move so slowly - the July 26 alignment appears to be especially momentous. It occurs under a full moon, and includes Mars conjunct Saturn, opposed by Jupiter conjunct Uranus, all squared up to Pluto in Capricorn – the signature T-Square of the year, with the Red Planet and a full moon thrown in for good measure. Mars is integral to both of this year’s final Saturn-Uranus oppositions. It’s still in its Mars Max phase for the one in April, and is part of the opposition for the one in July. These are indications that the H1N1 pandemic is still a public health threat through mid-year, at least. But that’s not the half of it.

There’s an element of social strife to any Saturn-Uranus opposition, as economic hardship grows and the consequent suffering attains critical mass. Consider the "Tea Party" movement in the US and the Green Revolution in Iran, for example. Both arose during the 2008-2009 Saturn-Uranus oppositions, and both countries were suffering under the burden of high unemployment at the time. With Mars playing a big role in the 2010 concluding alignment of Saturn and Uranus – further complicated by the other planets involved, the T-Square, etc. – I’m expecting a bang-up finish.

APR 26, 2010 Saturn-Uranus OppositionI’ve already described the Saturn-Uranus alignment as a harbinger of "panic in the markets, panic in the streets, people in need of rescue, just a whiff of revolution in the air" . . . these things grow in intensity in 2010, under the aegis of the Mars Max cycle and the last of the quintuple 2008-2010 Saturn-Uranus oppositions.

It might be nice to believe that panic in the streets is a faraway prospect. While it’s true that this won’t be happening everywhere all at once in this or any other year, it’s also true that it can happen anywhere in 2010. In a time of economic dislocation and upheaval in the financial system, billions of people around the world are a paycheck or two from being on the streets – if they’re that secure.

With pundits, governments and central banks telling us lately that a global economic recovery has begun, it’s comforting to believe that things are indeed getting better. They are. Dump trillions of dollars worth of cash into the global financial system, and there’s bound to be an increase in economic activity – for a while. All would be well, if that money were real; if it was a genuine store of value and a reliable medium of exchange. It is neither. It’s not value at all. It’s debt. It’s all borrowed, and there comes a time when the line of credit gets cut off and the loans come due. The first – but certainly not the last – day of reckoning begins this year, under the aegis of the Jupiter-Saturn opposition component of the signature 2010 T-Square.

MAY 23, 2010 Jupiter-Saturn OppositionThe 2010-2011 Jupiter-Saturn opposition is a typical "three-peat" alignment, due to retrogrades of first Saturn, then Jupiter and then Saturn again. It’s the first Pisces-Virgo melding into Aries-Libra apparition of this opposition since the 1951-1952 triplet. Previous transitional triplets like this occurred in 1156-1157, 1097-1098 and 362-363 in the Common Era (CE), as well as 551-550 and 492-491 BCE (Before the Common Era). With only a half-dozen or so examples in 3,000 years, this particular transitional opposition of Jupiter and Saturn is fairly rare. But this barely scratches the surface when it comes to the significance of the current Jupiter-Saturn alignment: more on that in a moment.

The opposition morphs from an initial alignment in Pisces-Virgo (respectively) on May 23, 2010, to a pair in Aries-Libra (one on August 16, 2010, the other on March 28, 2011). All three alignments have a strong Mars component: the first occurs during the Mars Max cycle, the latter two have Mars at one end or the other of the opposition (conjunct Saturn in the first case, opposing the Ringed Planet in the second). The Red Planet factor means that governments and central banks don’t have the luxury of working up solutions to economic and financial breakdowns at their leisure. Rather, there’s anger and the threat of violence in the mix: from civil unrest to terrorism to international tension and conflict. Moreover, having the last (August 16) of this year’s Jupiter-Saturn oppositions falling just a few weeks after the final (July 26) Saturn-Uranus opposition of the 2008-2010 series means that the limits of the emergency response to the financial collapse - and more broadly, the collapse of civilization as it has developed since the Industrial Revolution began - are staring world leaders in the face.

Jupiter-Saturn oppositions are the midpoint in the secular cycle known from ancient times as the Great Chronocrator; i.e. the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. The Great Chronocrator occurs at twenty-year intervals, and heralds a social, political, cultural and economic cycle of generational significance - indeed, of epochal significance, when the alignment changes element. The change of element is termed the Trigonalis, and it happens at intervals of 200 years, more or less.

AUG 16, 2010 Jupiter-Saturn OppositionTraditional astrology classifies the twelve signs of the zodiac into four elements; fire, earth, air and water. The fire signs are Aries, Leo and Sagittarius. Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn comprise the earth signs. The air element is represented by Gemini, Libra and Aquarius. Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces are the signs of the water element. Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions occur in the signs of one element for a couple hundred years or so, and then shift into signs of the next element. It’s a pattern astrologers have observed for millennia, and it has come to be recognized as one of great historical significance.

Until 1802, the Great Chronocrator had taken place in an unbroken series in the fire signs of the zodiac, dating back to 1663. The shift into signs of the earth element began with the Virgo conjunction on July 17, 1802. This ushered in a period of transition that was interrupted by one final fire sign conjunction (in Aries, on June 19, 1821), before an unbroken series in the earth element began with the Capricorn conjunction of 1842.

The 1802-1842 period neatly brackets the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, although the precise dating of this turning point in civilization remains a subject of debate among historians. Simultaneously, modern capitalism ("finance capitalism") supplanted mercantilism as the prevailing economic system during this period, a transition first formalized de jure in Great Britain in the 1840s by the repeal of the Corn Laws and the Navigation Acts (in 1846 and 1849 respectively). The two went hand in hand: you can't have industrialism without expanding markets, and you can't have expanding markets without credit. Factories require banks, in other words. The Industrial Revolution was a Capital Revolution.

We may as well distinguish these Trigonalis periods as stretching from a dawn that coincides with the first out-of-element Chronocrator (the first one to break the old element series), to a dusk that coincides with the first in a long unbroken series in the new element. In that sense, we're now more than halfway from dawn to dusk in the current Trigonalis, the transition to a new order of the ages that will last for the better part of a couple centuries.

DEC 31, 1980 Jupiter-Saturn Conjunction (Trigonalis Dawn)The earth sign Chronocrator series that ushered in industrialization and the civilization that embraced it is now itself in a period of transition into the next element series, which comprises the air signs (Gemini, Libra and Aquarius). The first air sign Chronocrator in centuries (since 1405, actually) happened in 1980-81, when a Libra triple conjunction broke into the earth sign run: the dawn of the new Trigonalis. However this was followed in 2000 by the last of the earth element series, the May 28 alignment at 22° 43' Taurus. The continuous air element Chronocrators begin in 2020, with the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in Aquarius: the dusk of the current Trigonalis. The air sign series is then unbroken until 2159, when these two planets align in the water sign Scorpio. This ushers in the dawn of a new Trigonalis, which includes a return to the air element for the conjunctions of 2179 and 2199, before the continuous water element series begins in 2219 (carrying through to 2318).

The last earth to air Trigonalis occurred in 1166-1226, initiating a period of less than a century during which "there were more inventions developed and applied usefully than in the previous thousand years of human history." (See Wikipedia, "Renaissance of the 12th Century".) That first air sign conjunction in centuries back in 1980 brought the popularization of the personal computer, followed shortly afterwards by the first generation cell phones: two developments very much in tune with the intellectual and communicative nature of the air element. (Arguably, both technologies had their antecedents; but their current manifestations are clearly recognizable in the wake of the 1980 Chronocrator.)

Connectivity is certainly a keyword of the air sign series, if its 1980 harbinger is any real indication. It's a peculiarly impersonal kind of connectivity, a virtual rather than real connection - and yet, it passes for real. People are in touch, but not touching. They're aware of so much, yet they fully grasp very little; they're smart, but not wise. The network is the thing. In short, the Chronocrator element change in 1980 heralded a fundamental shift in civilization, from earth (industrialization and finance capitalism) to air (virtualization, and a new economic order). Virtualization means globalization, and that's the one key outline of the new world order that's undeniably well underway. The earth sign Chronocrator series saw the rise of the modern nation-state, while the air sign series launched what is now glibly called globalization - which amounts to a dissolving of nation-states. Look around you, see the things that have grown up since 1980: the European Union, NAFTA, the dissolution of the Soviet Union and its emergence as an oligarchic capitalist entity, Red Capitalism in China, outsourcing, off-shoring, etc., etc.

DEC 21, 2020 Jupiter-Saturn Conjunction (Trigonalis Dusk)The trend away from physicality (the earth element) into virtuality (the air element) is key here. The old physical, brick and mortar institutions of the earth sign Chronocrator era are metamorphosing from pubs and coffee shops to chat rooms and social networks, from books to e-books and e-readers like Kindle, from shops and malls to Amazon and eBay, from factories to service centers. Similarly, energy production is moving from fossil fuels and chemistry - how earth sign can you get? – to renewables and physics. Solar, wind, geothermal, nuclear fission and fusion and hydropower (including tidal generation) are the energy sources of the next hundred years. Nanotechnology, genetic engineering, biotech and quantum mechanics are the manufacturing processes of the air sign Chronocrator era. They’ll engender a new economic and social infrastructure as they develop, beginning in the 2020s.

The 2010-2011 Jupiter-Uranus conjunctions – at 0° 17’ Aries on June 8 and 28° 42’ Pisces on September 19 this year, and 27° 02’ Pisces in 2011 – are pointers to scientific and technological breakthroughs that will be important in shaping the new industries of the air sign Chronocrator century. (These will be precursors, not full-blown commercial developments – much like the telephone or light bulb in the 1870s, or the transistor in the 1940s.)

The economic dislocation rampant since the 1980s isn’t just the bursting of one bubble after another seemingly ad infinitum – although that’s certainly an accurate description of affairs. More importantly, it’s happening because the earth sign system has broken down to the point that it can only generate growth through bubbles. Look back on the last 30 years or so of history, from one real estate bubble to the next, through the dot-com bubble, the currency speculation bubbles. They all collapsed because they had to, because there’s no productive substantial reality underlying them. (Take the residential real estate bubble, for example: unlike the family farm which most people called home prior to the Industrial Revolution, there’s no productive value in a home.) The Industrial Revolution and finance capitalism are a race to the bottom of human prosperity, in which even the big winners are wiped out over time because the bursting bubbles take everything down with them. Hence the Western aphorism, "shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves in three generations"; or as it's said in Asia, "rice paddy to rice paddy in three generations".

Of course, the bubble pops long before infinity is reached, as it must. That’s when the politicians and central bankers put their heads together and try to patch up the system that keeps things running. They don’t want a real fix, mind you, because that would tie their hands. Who wants real money, when you can get away with ginning up the fake stuff? So they fix things the Keynesian way, inflating their way to prosperity – or rather, inflating their way to the next bubble, because inflation doesn’t create wealth, it destroys it. This time around, that’s where the Jupiter-Saturn opposition comes in.

October 20, 1940 Jupiter-Saturn ConjunctionThis destruction of wealth stems from mortgaging the future, and the means is money. Finance capitalism is based on credit, which is the creation of money out of debt. All forms of credit are essentially loans. In order to loan more money than is really on hand requires margin, as for example when a bank has a hundred million dollars in deposits and loans out ten million dollars – leaving it ten million dollars short (in debt) if all the depositors want to withdraw their money at once. That ten million dollars is the margin in this case: ten percent. Or it would be, if central banks weren’t ginning up money out of nothing – which devalues every dollar (yen, pound, euro etc.) everywhere, including those on deposit in the bank that thought it was operating on a ten percent margin. It now takes more money to keep the same margins, which means margins must increase just to keep up . . . and so on, in a race to ultimate collapse.

Credit and loans have existed from time immemorial. As long as the margin of lending remains fairly conservative and underwriting standards are prudent, there’s room for borrowers to spend more than they have and still pay off their loans at a profit to the lenders. Unfortunately, things don’t stay this reasonable for very long. Some borrowers default, the remaining money in the good accounts is devalued due to inflation, and after a time margins must be expanded to keep the wheels greased – lest the financial system itself seize up. And seize up it eventually does, as the margins become unsustainable and the pursuit of ever-higher returns becomes pathological. This is exactly what we’ve seen under the aegis of the Saturn-Jupiter-Neptune T-Square and Saturn-Uranus opposition in recent years.

Judging from past Trigonalis periods, I think the one we're in now will lead to a new currency regime. This time, it will be global, and it won't be based on one particular national currency. The last Trigonalis, from 1802 to 1842, set the stage for the Bank of England going on the gold standard (per the 1844 Bank Charter Act). The 1940-1941 Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in Taurus was followed in short order by the Atlantic Charter, which set in motion the process that led to the 1944 Bretton Woods Agreement. In essence, Bretton Woods made the US dollar the money of the world, the official international reserve currency. Which was all well and good as long as the dollar was backed by something real, as it was in those days; namely by gold.

As it turned out, the US was forced to stop redeeming dollars with gold on August 15, 1971 - right in the middle of a triple Saturn-Neptune opposition, the last such alignment of these two planets prior to their 2006-2007 triple opposition. The alternative was national bankruptcy, since the Federal Reserve had by then devalued the dollar through inflation, to the point that there was no longer enough gold left to redeem even a fraction of the dollars in circulation. Since that time, the dollar is no longer real money; only bank notes, mere digits.

A lot of people like the digit dollar. It’s lighter than gold, which means it doesn’t take a wheelbarrow to carry some serious walking around money. It’s lighter than gold in another sense: the Federal Reserve can print up (or electronically create) as many dollars as it sees fit, because nobody’s able to call their bluff by demanding redemption. The central banks of other countries have been in on the game for generations now. Since the dollar is the official reserve currency of the global economy, everyone benefits from having enough money in circulation to expand their economies ad infinitum.

Alas, the bubble pops long before infinity is reached, as it must. That’s when the politicians and central bankers put their heads together and try to patch up the system that keeps things running. They don’t want a real fix, mind you, because that would tie their hands. Who wants real money, when you can get away with ginning up the fake stuff? So they fix things the Keynesian way, inflating their way to prosperity – or rather, inflating their way to the next bubble, because inflation doesn’t create wealth, it destroys it. This time around, that’s where the Jupiter-Saturn opposition comes in.

JUN 8, 2010 Jupiter-Uranus ConjunctionHalfway through the cycle from one Chronocrator to the next comes the Jupiter-Saturn opposition. The opposition signals a phase of adjustment in the cycle, when the momentum of change and development has reached a point of diminishing returns. Unless the adjustment is made, the momentum is lost and the process of disintegration gets out of control. Cycles being alive and organic, the adjustment is always made – sometimes sooner, sometimes later, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse; but they always get made.

They get made in a very big way this time around, because this is a most unusual Jupiter-Saturn opposition. Not only is this particular opposition the last one in the current Trigonalis transition. It also includes a Jupiter-Uranus conjunction at one end of the heavens (a three-peat that runs from 2010 into 2011), Saturn at the other, and a Pluto square to both ends right in the middle. The Saturn-Uranus opposition component of this T-Square comprises the last two alignments of these planets in the 2008-2010 series of five. All things considered, there hasn’t been a combination like this in some 1,500 years.

I’ve already said – see my 2008 World Forecast Highlights – that the global financial system will move, over a period of several years, in the direction of a global currency compact established on "things like gold, silver, platinum and the like being basic to whatever solution arises. Other commodities will be argued for and accepted to some degree (oil, uranium, silicon chips, photovoltaic cells, etc.), but the foundation will be the precious metals because they are in fact a store of value: always have been, always will be. And, incidentally, an essential part of this restoration entails the price of precious metals skyrocketing in the process of liquidating debt." But these are really sideline issues: the air sign Chronocrator series, once it gets established starting in 2020, will change the historic definition of wealth. It won’t happen in my lifetime, but new means of production ushered in during this epoch will effectively do away with scarcity as the prime denominator of wealth.

JAN 31, 2010 Saturn-Pluto Square (Waning)The fix to the immediate debacle, as I foresaw, began in late 2008 and accelerated in 2009. It has happened in a de facto way, rather than de jure, as various national central banks have drawn down their US dollar reserves and increased their gold holdings. The dollar isn’t disappearing, but it is being devalued and deemphasized. Central banks which between them now hold more than 15 percent of all the gold ever mined, expanded their reserves in 2009 for the first time in a generation. India, China and Russia are among the central banks that added some 429 metric tons of gold to their reserves last year. It was the first net expansion in gold reserves since 1988, according to some estimates.

As part of this process, interest rates in the US will go up: it’s the price the US government must pay to finance its ever-growing debt in a global economy that finds dollars less desirable, and US obligations less creditworthy. Short of a major credit event in January-February, under the auspices of the next Saturn-Pluto square that takes down industries, banks and maybe even a country, this will probably start around the time of this year’s first Jupiter-Saturn opposition, in late May – give or take four or five weeks, which is about as long as these two planets remain within a few degrees of being in exact alignment. For a time, this will likely strengthen the dollar and depress US equity markets, as investors seek a safe haven. However the dollar’s strength will be relative to other major currencies, more than in relation to precious metals. Any dip in precious metal prices should be viewed as a buying opportunity. It’s only temporary, in view of the bigger picture.

The waxing Saturn-Pluto square in January is a quadrature that was exact on November 15, 2009; but these two planets remain within less than two degrees of their 270° arc throughout December and on into January – when the aspect is exact again on the 31st, due to the Ringed Planet’s January 13 retrograde station. The third and final pass in the current Saturn-Pluto waxing square cycle comes on August 21.

This is the first Saturn-Pluto square from Libra to Capricorn since the 1776-1777 quadrature. These things are relatively rare: 1274 and 539-540 CE plus 197-196 and 431-430 BCE are the only examples in the last couple thousand years or so. If you’ve been following my forecasts for the last several years, that 539-540 CE time slot may ring a bell. It falls closely in the wake of the great 536 Saturn-Jupiter-Neptune T-Square in Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius respectively; the one that coincided with a period of rapid climate change and a reorganization of some of the world’s great civilizations. And in fact the 2009-2010 waxing square between Saturn in Libra and Pluto in Capricorn is part of yet another historic T-Square, in which Jupiter and Uranus are conjunct in Pisces-Aries, opposing Saturn in Virgo-Libra and squaring Pluto in Capricorn – a configuration last seen in the 539-540 CE epoch.

AUG 21, 2010 Saturn-Pluto Square (Waning)The 536 T-Square from Saturn in Leo to Jupiter in Scorpio to Neptune in Aquarius was the first configuration of these planets in that particular sign combination since 3734 BCE. That prehistoric event came near the end of the Neolithic Subpluvial climate epoch, aka the Holocene Wet Phase, and it marked a period of sudden and severe climate change. It brought the end to a warm and rainy period in North African climate history that lasted from about 7000 to 3300 BCE. (Some authorities extend it to 3000 BCE.) The effects were global, although different in different regions: a sudden freeze in the Peruvian Andes, the onset of desertification in the Sahara, a drought in England and Ireland, floods in Mesopotamia. The point is, long term climate change accompanied this rare T-Square.

From the end of the Neolithic Subpluvial climate epoch, to the fall of the Nazca civilization in Peru and the last Roman Emperor on the throne in Constantinople in the 536 epoch, to the current shifts in climate and civilization, this sequence of planetary configurations has borne witness to events that changed history. Global warming gone into hiding lately? Maybe the Congo’s Nyiragongo volcano, which for several years now puts out more sulfur dioxide in a week than the whole US does in an entire year, has a part to play in this. It’s happened before that volcanoes changed the climate, and changed history: think 535-536, when the climate changed following a massive volcanic eruption in the South Pacific, and the world balance of power came unglued under the aegis of the last Jupiter-Saturn-Neptune T-Square to form in the skies until the one just a few years ago now.

Volcanoes emit the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide; however current scientific doctrine is that human activity releases more than 100 times as much CO2 each year than is produced by all the world’s volcanoes combined. The sulfur dioxide out-gassed from volcanoes typically overwhelms their carbon dioxide output, making volcanic eruptions a greater contributor to global cooling than global warming. Volcanic sulfate aerosols also play a part in destroying the ozone layer in Earth’s upper atmosphere, resulting in more intense ultraviolet radiation (UV-B) reaching the surface of our home planet. UV-B radiation is harmful to humans and other animals, as well as to plants from plankton to redwoods.

From Plato and his would-be philosopher kings onwards, intellectuals have been telling everyone who’d listen that everything would be better if only they were in charge. Karl Marx, who was born during the 1801-1842 Trigonalis, ended up figuring out how finance capitalism would ruin the world, and offered humanity a way to save itself – his way. By the late 1960s, as the 1969-1971 series of Jupiter-Saturn oppositions formed in the heavens and Marxist regimes were in the midst of their latest outbreak of brutality against their own citizens, even American university professors had given up on Marxism. Lo and behold, the intelligentsia found in the ecology movement a new route to power. At first, in the early 1970s, they warned us that a new Ice Age was imminent, and that only science could save us. When that didn’t sell, they told us that global warming would cook our goose, if we didn’t do what they said. (Meet the new would-be boss: same as the old would-be boss.)

MAR 8, -536 Great T-SquareIt’s now politically incorrect to raise doubts about global warming, so I shouldn’t mention that it’s been happening on Mars, where Hummers and gasoline stations are scarce. (See the February 28, 2007 National Geographic News.) As an astrologer, I’m not astonished that solar radiation might be upping temperatures on Earth and Mars. I’m even prepared to accept the possibility that the same kind of volcano-induced global cooling that set in starting around the time of the 536 Saturn-Jupiter-Neptune T-Square has already begun, following the 2005-2006 first reappearance of that celestial configuration in nearly 1,500 years. And given that the Sun has recently been in a period of relative inactivity – like the one called the Maunder Minimum, at the start of the "Little Ice Age" a few centuries ago – I’m even willing to consider that what our would-be philosopher kings call long term global warming might be little more than a blip on the screen of cosmic time.

That’s the long run. In the short run, we’ve got this crisis in the world economy, the global financial system. The central bankers and politicians are telling us that recovery’s on the way. We all want them to be right. Then along comes the Dubai debt default, as Saturn squares Pluto in the heavens, and global markets have a fit. There’s more where that came from, when the Saturn-Pluto square is repeated in January and August. Will the markets recover in short order? Yes. Because central banks have created trillions of dollars worth of liquidity in the form of fiat currency – another name for debt. From an investment perspective, all that extra money has no place to chase returns but to go but into equity markets, driving the latest bubble – which manifests as a rising market in a sinking or at best artificially and temporarily stimulated economy. (That’s the 2009 rally in a nutshell.)

Governments and central banks the world over have reassured their citizenry that deficit-funded stimulus and rescue programs would fix the global financial collapse. In the US and many other countries, most of that rescue package has essentially gone to banks, to prop up their solvency and get them to lend money into the economy again. But the banks won’t lend to each other because they know they’re broke. They won’t lend more than a pittance to consumers and companies, because they know they’re all at risk of a default. (And default they do, as bank after bank gets closed by the FDIC, one "Freaky Friday" after another.) So the money just piles into the markets, expanding the bubble as long as possible.

What happens when possible runs out? We may see sooner than anyone would like, maybe during the 2010 T-Square apparitions. Saturn squaring Pluto from the one side, and Jupiter-Uranus squaring it from the other . . . sounds like the next bubble bursting. Of course, as I’ve said for years, this is a slow and historic process. The burst of one bubble isn’t the end of the world. It’s just another settling of the soufflé. This isn’t Humpty Dumpty falling off the wall. It’s more like Humpty cracking and poaching in place . . .

What to expect? I’ve been saying for a long time that we’re in for a "W (or double-W)" recovery curve. Virtually all the government stimulus and liquidity injections have essentially been pumped into unproductive assets, industries and financial institutions that have collapsed on their own and are being kept alive only through heroic and unsustainable efforts. Sure you get a bounce – and then a fall-back. Things get better as long as money is poured into things like auto rebates (“cash for clunkers”) and first-time homebuyer rebates. When the rebates stop, the semblance of prosperity comes to an end, and all that’s left is the debt. It’s not unlike the government deciding to bail-out buggy manufacturers in 1910, and borrowing money to do it.

As described in my September 2008 forecast online, "It’s as if the good doctors of international finance are attempting to cure the patient with one heroic operation after another aimed at saving this organ or that system . . . and then hooking the patient up to an IV of pure poison after each new surgery". The whole international finance system with its baskets of fiat currency, bubbles and debt is well into an historic collapse, in the run-up to the new system that will emerge starting with the 2020 Great Chronocrator.

JAN 29, 2010 Sun-Mars OppositionIt’s a long way to 2020. Closer to hand, expect world equity markets to continue the rally they began last year, under the Venus Maximum cycle in effect then. No rally is homogeneous and constant. This one has had its interruptions, and will have even more in the first half of 2010 – especially during the Mars Maximum cycle, which will see geopolitical threats that disrupt commerce (including energy supplies) and shake investor confidence. (Look at January in particular, in this regard.) But the equity markets should recover for a time – because there’s still no place else to put the money and get a decent return. Then, sometime between May and August, comes a day of reckoning. Not the day of reckoning, just another settling of the soufflé.

Speaking of the "Mars Max" cycle, which I’ve mentioned several times already, it began on September 23, 2009, when the Red Planet’s daily motion through Earth’s sky dropped below its mean motion for the first time since April, 2008. This relative slow-down was the precursor to the Red Planet retrograde that began on December 20, 2009; as well as the beginning of the biennial Mars perigee phase, as Mars and our home planet make their close approach during the full moon Sun-Mars opposition on January 29, 2010. This proximity means that Mars gets brighter and bigger in the night sky, culminating in the late January, 2010 perigee and then slowly dimming back to normal. Likewise, all things pertaining to Mars loom larger and larger in human experience during this period: haste, heat, fire, danger and conflict - literally and figuratively - are more and more on the rise during the Mars Maximum that holds sway into late May, 2010. This means a spike across the whole spectrum of violence, from the individual to the collective, from school and workplace violence to mass murder and spree killings all the way to suicide bombings and other terrorist atrocities. Criminality, terrorism and military conflict are never rare, but they’ve been looming larger and larger in the news since late September 2009, and will continue apace into May of 2010 – and beyond, considering the long Mars-Venus alignment later in the year.

Mars cycles of this sort happen only once every couple of years, so we've survived plenty of them to date. They're not unlike the intersolar (Maximum) cycles of Mercury and Venus, in that they emphasize the nature of the planet in question during that portion of its orbit where it passes closest to Earth. So the high Mars cycle that began in September 2009 and concludes in May 2010 indicates a period of elevated tension and conflict, the kind of atmosphere that cultivates inflamed passions, hot tempers and rash, even violent action - of the criminal and military type, from terrorist atrocities to large scale military conflict. A notable increase in dangerous fires, crashes and explosions is also typical of the Mars Max cycle, which is accompanied by rash, hasty and impulsive action generally.

Synodic Cycle of MarsThe last such Mars cycle was accompanied by Israel’s bombing of a Syrian nuclear facility; it also coincided with the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan, etc. Before that came the Mars Super Maximum of 2003 (as the insurgency phase got underway in Gulf War II). The latter Mars alignment was historic, being the closest pass between Earth and Mars since Neanderthal Man shared the planet with our own species. It was chief among the factors that led to my 2003 World Forecast Highlights prediction that the Persian Gulf War II would break out that year, and then get really messy that summer: "Whoever thinks a swiftly concluded Persian Gulf War II settles the world into a Pax Americana early in 2003 is tragically mistaken. This late summer super Mars thing says peace and quiet remains far away, that danger and conflict are close at hand."

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 set investors and institutions in a mad dash for the exits. India, Pakistan and Afghanistan fall right under the Mars meridian line for this alignment, while the Rocky Mountains from Canada into the US (along with western Mexico) are on the Mars anti-meridian: these are some but not all of the focal zones for the alignment.

We’ll have plenty of time to watch the headlines and observe the Mars Maximum correlates as they develop. Just remember that they don’t develop only ‘out there’ in the world at large. They’re also alive in us, in the people around us. This is a time to be safety conscious, to get a grip on the animal spirits within and channel them productively rather than letting them loose on anyone who gets your goat. If people are cranky, if you’re short tempered too, realize that this is just the nature of the time/space field for now, and do your best to ride it out with as little drama and damage as possible.

Apart from the Mars Max cycle on the whole, there are more than a few Red Planet hot spots in time this year. Some come during the Mars Max cycle itself, such as the January 29 Sun-Mars opposition (effectively the Mars perigee); and the March 10 Mars direct station, when the Red Planet’s apparent backwards (retrograde) motion through our skies comes to an end. Others come along with the major Mars alignments of the year: the conjunctions with Saturn (July 31) and Pluto (December 14), the oppositions to Neptune ((June 4), Jupiter (August 4) and Uranus (July 30). There’s also an assortment of quadratures (square aspects, a 90° or 270° arc) mostly later in the year, which are numerous enough that I’ll wait to detail them in my online monthly forecasts. And then there are those December Mars alignments to the eclipses: December 7 (Mars opposing the degree of the December 21, 2010 solar eclipse), December 13 (Mars crossing the degree of the June 26, 2010 lunar eclipse), and December 25 (Mars crossing the degree of the January 4, 2011 solar eclipse). There’s also a long, drawn-out Venus-Mars conjunction, effective within a few degrees from early August into early October: a period of enhanced infatuation, lust and avarice. Crimes of passion are apt to spike under this long alignment, and conflict both individual and collective is stimulated by a sense of righteous rage and indignation. Don’t expect it to make sense: when the looters burn the neighborhood stores after cleaning them out, everybody loses. There’s good stuff here to enjoy, and ugly stuff to avoid.

Synodic Cycle of VenusSpeaking of which, Venus enters into its close approach phase in 2010 as well, a cycle that continues into next year. These Venus Max phases come along once every year-and-a-half or so. The early 2009 Venus Max heralded the inauguration of the President Barack Obama, and the stimulus program begun under his administration. The 2010-2011 Venus Max begins with Venus as evening star (Venus Vesper) reaching maximum elongation east of the Sun at 12° 57’ Libra on August 20, conjunct Mars and smack in the middle of the Great 2010 T-Square. The cycle ends with Venus the morning star (Venus Lucifer, aka Venus Hesperus) attaining its greatest western elongation on January 8, 2011 at 1° 11’ Sagittarius. In between comes the Venus retrograde cycle, beginning with the retrograde station on October 8 (conjunct Mars again) and concluding with the direct station on November 18. In between comes the keynote of the whole cycle, the inferior conjunction with the Sun on October 29, as Venus passes directly between Earth and Sun.

Most people are well aware of Mercury's retrograde, but not much attention is given to the retrogrades of other planets. When one of the inner planets (Mercury and Venus) in its faster orbit starts catching up on the slower orbiting Earth, the inner planet's apparent motion in our night sky begins to slow. The planet moves slower and slower until it comes to an apparent standstill in the heavens. This is the retrograde station, the point at which the planet appears to stop and then begin moving backwards (clockwise, or westward) through the sky. This period of reverse motion continues for some weeks (roughly three weeks for Mercury, about seven weeks for Venus), until the planet once more slows its nightly progress through the sky and again comes to an apparent standstill - the direct station, in this case. Normal counterclockwise (eastward) motion then resumes, until the next intersolar cycle brings a new retrograde.

Now that you've got the picture, one thing should be clear: during its intersolar cycle, when it passes between us and the Sun, an inferior planet is actually closer to Earth, making it brighter and more prominent in our sky. That’s why I’ve christened it the planet’s Maximum (Max) cycle. In the case of Venus, this tends to coincide with a period of relative ease and prosperity, all else being equal. All else has been far from equal during the 2009 Venus Max cycle. It still isn’t back to battery in the 2010-2011 cycle, which begins under the aegis of the Great 2010 T-Square.

President Barack ObamaLast year’s forecast described "the January 14-June 5 Venus intersolar cycle of 2009 as arguably the most positive part of the year, as far as financial markets and economic development go." Indeed, the Obama administration’s stimulus program got underway during this period, and the great market rally of 2009 got started on the very day Venus’ retrograde began (March 6). This year’s Venus Max comes at a time when the first stimulus has pretty well run out, and the bills for financing it have started coming in faster and bigger every month. Probably this means that the fall-off in economic activity associated with this summer’s Great T-Square will be moderated somewhat. Things get a little better, but they don’t get really good just yet.

And then there are the Mercury Maxima for 2010. Being closest to the Sun, Mercury goes between Earth and Sun 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.

The Mercury Max 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 headed 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.

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.

Mercury's Synodic CycleWhat I have termed the Mercury Max 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 April 18-May 11, 2010 Mercury retrograde would begin on April 4 (the day Mercury reaches the degree at which it goes direct on May 11) and end on May 28 (the day Mercury returns to the degree at which it went retrograde on April 18). 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. The corresponding organically derived dates are April 8 (greatest eastern elongation) and May 26 (western elongation maximum).

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 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 (Max) 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.

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.

If I had to pick a day to have a backup generator all fueled up and ready to go, a contingency 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. Note these dates; be ready with a fallback plan just in case. It's not so much that disaster is destined to strike when Mercury is in its intersolar phase. Rather, it's that everything pertaining to Mercury becomes crucial; and unless it's treated as such, then it goes awry. More and more, we live in a "just in time" world - and if the slightest delay holds up just one single thing, then a whole process screeches to a halt. 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. Practically speaking, this means that having a “just in time” inventory of essentials is risky business at times like this. Don't say I didn't warn you!

The first intersolar Mercury phase of 2010 is already underway as the year begins. It actually started with the little planet's maximum eastward elongation on December 18, 2009, includes the December 26, 2009-January 15, 2010 retrograde and the January 4 inferior conjunction with the Sun, and ends with Mercury's greatest western elongation on January 27. Next comes the April 8 greatest eastern elongation, initiating a Mercury intersolar cycle which includes the April 18-May 11 retrograde and the April 28 inferior conjunction, and concludes with the May 26 western elongation maximum. Mercury’s August 6 greatest elongation east of the Sun marks the next intersolar cycle of the little planet, which continues through the August 20-September 12 retrograde and the September 3 inferior conjunction, ending with Mercury’s maximum western elongation on September 19. Finally this year comes the Mercury intersolar phase that starts with the maximum eastern elongation on December 1, includes the December 10-30 retrograde and the December 20 inferior conjunction, and wraps up with the western elongation extreme on January 9, 2011.

I mentioned at the outset that this year’s extreme declination SuperMoons look like an important theme for 2010. SuperMoon is a word I coined in a 1979 article for Dell Publishing Company's HOROSCOPE magazine, describing what is technically termed a perigee-syzygy; i.e. a new or full moon (syzygy) which occurs with the Moon at or near (within 90% of) its closest approach to Earth (perigee) in a given orbit. In short, Earth, Moon and Sun are all in a line, with Moon in its nearest approach to Earth. (My most recent print article on this subject appeared in the October-November 2007 issue of The Mountain Astrologer.)

SuperMoons are noteworthy for their close association with extreme tidal forces working in what astrologers of old used to call the sublunary world: the atmosphere, crust and oceans of our home planet - including ourselves, of course. From extreme coastal tides to severe storms to powerful earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, the entire natural world surges and spasms under the sway of the SuperMoon alignment - within three days either way of the exact syzygy, as a general rule. SuperMoon solar eclipses tend to have a wider sphere of impact, extending roughly a week before and after the actual event. And other lunar extremes (of declination, for example) can extend the geocosmic stress window by a day or two here and there in any case.

If you're interested in the history of SuperMoon alignments in connection with great storms, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, you'll find a sampling of them in my book Interpreting Astrology (published by the American Federation of Astrologers). But a simple review of the news over the past few years should serve to get you acquainted. Take Hurricane Katrina, for example; spawned from a tropical depression formed within three days of the August 19 SuperMoon. My forecast for 2005 warned of severe storms within plus or minus three days of the day Hurricane Katrina formed, and even specified the Gulf of Mexico as one of the areas at risk in connection with that particular SuperMoon alignment. I've done this for some thirty years now, from articles in the astrology press to the online forecasts at my website, Astropro.

Examples of the SuperMoon connection with major storms and seismic events abound: the Mt. Pinatubo eruption, the largest volcanic event in the second half of the 20th Century, took place on June 15, 1991 (within three days of a SuperMoon); the October 6, 1948 Richter 7.3 earthquake that struck Ashgabat, Turkmenistan and took 110,000 lives, one of the deadliest earthquakes on record (again within three days of a SuperMoon, allowing for time zones); and the September 8, 1900 hurricane and tidal surge that struck Galveston, Texas on the day of a SuperMoon, which killed more people (8,000 dead) than any other Atlantic hurricane on record and remains the deadliest natural disaster yet to strike the United States. I'm just scratching the surface here, citing only a few historic instances in the past hundred years or so. Look a little deeper, and you'll run across literally hundreds more greater and lesser seismic and meteorological disturbances, from Hurricane Andrew in 1992 to the 1989 World Series (Loma Prieta) earthquake - just to name a couple contemporary notable examples.

Obviously it won't be the case that all hell will break loose all over the world within a few days either side of the SuperMoons of 2010. For most of us, the geocosmic risk raised by SuperMoon alignments will pass with little notice in our immediate vicinity. This is a rather roomy planet, after all. But the fact remains that a SuperMoon is planetary in scale, being a special alignment of Earth, Sun and Moon. It's likewise planetary in scope, in the sense that there's no place on Earth not subject to the tidal force of the perigee-syzygy. Of course, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions don't go wandering all over the planet. They happen in predictable locations, like the infamous "Ring of Fire" around the Pacific plate. If you're in (or plan to be in) a place that's subject to seismic upheaval during a SuperMoon stress window, it's not hard to figure out that being prepared to the extent that you can is not a bad idea. Likewise, people on the coast should be prepared for extreme tidal surges. Severe storms on the other hand can strike just about anywhere, so it behooves us all to be ready for rough weather when a SuperMoon alignment forms.

That said, there's no harm in making sensible preparations for this year’s SuperMoons. The worst that can happen, if the worst doesn't happen, is that you end up with a stock of fresh batteries and candles, some extra bottled water and canned goods, maybe a full tank of gas and an evacuation bag packed just in case. (The US Department of Homeland Security has a detailed evacuation kit inventory that, to quote them, "could mean the difference between life and death".) And maybe you'll think twice about being in transit and vulnerable to the weather hazards and delays that are so common during SuperMoon alignments. These are the kind of sensible precautions that can make a big difference if the worst does come to pass.

Like eclipses, there are typically four or five SuperMoons annually. We get five this year. (There’s not another year that gets short shrift in SuperMoons until 2013, which has only three.) All of the 2010 SuperMoons are closely associated with another extreme lunar factor: the Moon’s crossing of the celestial equator (the plane of Earth’s equator, projected out into space). This close association between the lunar perigee and the lunar equatorial crossing is something that slips in and out of synch. The two have been meshing within a couple days of each other from summer into fall of 2009, a period of notable storm and seismic activity.

Don’t get me wrong, 2010 doesn’t shape up to be one of those geophysical disaster years like 2005-2007, when the Moon reached the apex of its 18.6-year declination cycle – the so-called lunar standstill. Maximum lunar declinations were running in excess of 28d back in 2005-2006. For 2010, the peaks are down into the 25d range. Extreme lunar declination years tend to have extreme storms and seismic activity. Think Hurricane Katrina, the December 2004 Sumatran earthquake and monster tsunami: these natural disasters accompanied the most recent peak in the lunar declination cycle.

We’re well away from those high declinations and associated risks this year, but having a string of SuperMoons each very near the monthly lunar equatorial crossing is a combination that enhances the prospects for geophysical extremes – even more than an ordinary SuperMoon, which is in its own right a harbinger of enhanced disturbances in the skies, seas and crust of our home planet. I’m not expecting a Katrina or Sumatra class year of hurricanes or seismic activity in 2010, but I do anticipate a more than usual level of major storms, quakes and volcanic eruptions associated with this year’s SuperMoons and eclipses. (Speaking of eclipses – more about them later – 2010, unlike 2009, doesn’t have any combined SuperMoon and eclipse alignments.)

JAN 30, 2010 Full Moon (SuperMoon)First comes the full moon on January 30 at 10° 14’ Leo, followed by the February 28 full moon at 9° 58' Virgo). After a hiatus of several months, the SuperMoon train resumes with a trio of new moons starting with the one at 17° 25’ Leo on August 10, followed by the September 8 new moon at 15° 40’ Virgo, and then the one at 14° 24 Libra on October 7. (There won’t be another SuperMoon until February 18, 2011.)

There’s an unusual Mars-Venus theme to the SuperMoons of 2010. Four out of the five alignments this year feature a Venus-Mars conjunction. The January 30 full moon, for example, occurs with the Sun conjunct Venus and the Moon conjunct Mars. And Venus and Mars are aligned in the sky for the SuperMoons of August 10, September 8 and October 7. Although SuperMoons have long been associated primarily with geophysical phenomena – tidal surges, seismic activity and severe storms – that’s only the macrocosmic end of the spectrum. At the microcosmic end, these things express in terms of human psychology and behavior as well. (The trick to astrology is that the macrocosm and the microcosm are really the same.)

Having a Venus-Mars tie-in with these four SuperMoon alignments speaks of strong passions – great for a runaway romance or a lusty liaison, not so great in the case of runaway jealousy, hate or avarice. Something to keep in mind in one’s personal life from a few days before to a few days after these particular alignments of 2010. Sometimes lust turns to bloodlust, which is why Mars and Venus both represent warriors in one culture or another. So it’s probably not a bad idea to keep your guard up during these alignments too. When feelings run high and blood runs hot, it’s no time to be complacent.

The Venus and Mars SuperMoon tie-in works on the collective level, as well as the individual. Border clashes, terrorist attacks, hijackings and military confrontations triggered by posturing and propaganda that gets out of control . . . there’s a lot of that this year under the Mars Max anyway, but there’s probably a few extra outbursts connected with these SuperMoons too.

The first SuperMoon of 2010 falls on January 30 at 10° 15’ Leo, when the full moon aligns with Mars in the sky (and Venus with the Sun). It’s also particularly potent, for a couple of reasons: it’s the closest SuperMoon of the year, and it occurs within just a few hours of the Moon’s northward crossing of the celestial equator. Expect a full litany of SuperMoon phenomena from January 25 through February 2: an increase in coastal flooding due to higher than usual tides, a gaggle of strong storms with high winds and heavy precipitation (triggering inland flooding), and of course an up-tick in moderate to severe seismic activity (including magnitude 5+ earthquakes as well as volcanic eruptions). And then there’s that Venus-Mars connection, which comes at a time when one of the year’s two primary cosmic themes is at full tilt. A SuperMoon full moon emphasizing Mars when the Red Planet is in its close approach to Earth (the Mars Max cycle) speaks of hot blood and hot tempers – particularly, as far as the January 30 SuperMoon is concerned, for people born under significant Leo-Aquarius factors. Remember: this is true not only for individuals, but for the collective as well; which is why the potential for terrorist attacks and military conflict will be running fairly high in late January and early February.

FEB 28, 2010 Full Moon (SuperMoon)Being planetary in scale, there’s no place on our home planet that’s beyond the range of a SuperMoon, so it wouldn’t hurt to make ready wherever you are or plan to be during the January 25-February 2 SuperMoon risk window. That said, possible zones of special vulnerability may be indicated by astro-locality mapping the January 30 SuperMoon. Higher risk sectors align with longitudinal zones running from the US Midwest down through the Yucatan Peninsula and up through Canada, passing over the poles to cross through Russia, western China and eastern India. Horizon arcs sweep northeasterly through west Africa and southeastern Europe, crossing northern Russia and turning southeasterly over Kamchatka to cross out into the open Pacific Ocean. Again, I’m not saying that life is so safe as to be boring outside these indicated special risk zones; only that some of the more newsworthy events of the day will have ties to these locales.

The February 28 SuperMoon full moon at 9° 59' Virgo is an exception to the Mars-Venus theme this year, but it’s in the midst of the Red Planet’s close approach to Earth nonetheless. Consequently, I’m still expecting more than the usual rasher of rash behavior in February – just not tied so closely in time to this particular full moon. What I do expect is a newsworthy upsurge in moderate-to-severe seismic activity (including magnitude 5+ earthquakes and volcanic eruptions), plus strong storms with damaging winds and heavy precipitation; along with extreme high tides. In effect from February 25 through March 3, and happening within sixteen hours of the Moon’s southward crossing of the celestial equator, this looks mostly like a storm and flood indicator – probably not on a par the January alignment, but noteworthy in its own right. It’s global in scope by definition, but astro-locality mapping suggests a few special risk zones for the February 28 SuperMoon alignment. These include longitudinal risk zones running from Hong Kong down through Perth in the eastern hemisphere, and from Newfoundland down through west-central South America in the western hemisphere. There’s also a Mars horizon arc of note, along the eastern coast of Australia from Brisbane to Melbourne; as well as a longitudinal Mars zone pretty much centered on Delhi.

AUG 10, 2010 New Moon (SuperMoon)After a six-month lapse, a train of three SuperMoon new moons starts with the alignment at 17° 25’ Leo on August 10. (Venus and Mars are conjunct for this alignment.) This one has a wide effective geocosmic shock window, beginning on August 5 as the Moon’s north declination peak approaches; and continuing into the 13th. Expect the usual: strong storms with high winds and heavy precipitation, unusual tidal surges, and of course a raft of magnitude 5 quakes and volcanic eruptions. I suspect that high winds may be this particular SuperMoon’s strong suit. It’s cosmic in scale and therefore global in scope of course, but the August 10 SuperMoon’s astro-locality map shows a few areas of special vulnerability. These include a horizon arc that runs through the Pacific Northwest and the east African coast, and a couple of longitudinal arcs from the southern tip of Greenland through eastern Brazil in the western hemisphere and from Siberia due south down through central Australia in the eastern hemisphere.

Next up is the September 8 SuperMoon at 15° 41’ Virgo, just a few hours before the Moon crosses the celestial equator from north to south – and with another Venus-Mars conjunction in effect, along with the Great T-Square. Expect the usual, during the geophysical stress window that runs from the 5th through the 11th: an upsurge in extreme tidal surges, severe storms and moderate-to-severe seismic activity (including magnitude 5+ earthquakes and volcanic eruptions). No place on earth is beyond the reach of at least one such disturbance, but astro-locality may offer a few hints as to places most at risk during this particular SuperMoon window. For example, there’s a longitudinal risk zone running from Cape Town, South Africa up through Belgrade in the Old World, over the poles and then through western Alaska in the New; as well as a horizon arc sweeping down through eastern Canada and the US Atlantic seaboard (directly through New York), and across western South America in the New World, emerging to sweep through Indonesia and eastern China (touching both Hong Kong and Beijing).

Finally comes the October 7 SuperMoon new moon at 14° 24’ Libra (conjunct Saturn), still with the Venus-Mars conjunction and also hard on the heels of the Moon’s southward equatorial crossing. The Venus-Mars connection again points to inflamed passions, manifesting anywhere along the spectrum from the lust and avarice of individuals to deadly violence both individually and collectively. We’ll all be glad when this one’s over. In effect from the 4th through the 10th, the September SuperMoon has a strong storm and seismic connection, so look for events of this sort to make more than the usual number of headlines worldwide. A look at the astro-locality of this alignment does suggest a few areas of particular vulnerability. These include a longitudinal swath running through west central North America, over the poles and down through India-Pakistan. There’s also a horizon arc sweeping from northwest to southeast Greenland across westernmost Africa to pass between Australia and New Zealand, heading northeasterly from there across the South Pacific and up to Kamchatka.

There are four eclipses this year, an average number. They’re transitioning from the Cancer-Capricorn polarity (where the first three occur) into the Gemini-Sagittarius polarity. In the process, they line up with Pluto, which spends the latter part of the year aligned with the Moon’s north node – a sign of crop failure, hunger and privation; and of the powers that be doing whatever it takes, however brutal, to stay in control for as long as they can.

The January 15 annular solar eclipse at 25° 01’ Capricorn is conjunct Venus, at a time when Mercury aligns with Pluto and Jupiter with Neptune, and very near the peak of the Mars Max cycle. Something spooks the equity markets around this time, some kind of a panic that probably stems from geopolitical factors: a threat, an attack, a revolution perhaps. There’s an element of secrets and deception being exposed, changing the rules of the game; on a more positive, this eclipse speaks of discoveries and break-throughs. This first eclipse of 2010 belongs to Saros Cycle 141, which began in 1613, at the start of the Romanov Dynasty in Russia. Being a solar eclipse, this one has an effective shock window that runs from the 8th through the 22nd, in terms of its connection with disturbances in the skies, seas and crust of our home planet. (Significant storms and seismic activity are likely.)

All the world feels an eclipse, so there’s no place to hide. But only part of the planet actually gets to see this one, all or parts of which will be visible over Eastern Europe and most of Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Indonesia. In addition, astro-locality mapping the January 15 eclipse shows a longitudinal arc from India-Pakistan over the poles and through west-central North America; as well as a horizon arc that sweeps northeasterly across West Africa and Central Europe, bending southeasterly across northern Russia to pass through Japan and the South Pacific to New Zealand.

The June 26 partial lunar eclipse signals what may be the most dramatic period of the whole year. It falls in the midst of the Great T-Square of 2010, and turns it into a Grand Cross: the full moon conjunct Pluto squaring the Jupiter-Saturn opposition and Jupiter conjunct Uranus. This may be the cosmic trigger for the turning point represented by the Great T-Square. Business as usual is the last thing anyone will be thinking about at a time like this. Lunar Saros Cycle 120, to which the June 26 eclipse belongs, began with the penumbral eclipse on October 16, 1000. It was a time that marked the zenith of Islamic civilization, and great wealth in China – which introduced the world’s first known paper currency around this time, perhaps foreshadowing the rise of the yuan as an international currency in the wake of this year’s Great T-Square. (Don’t hold your breath, this won’t happen overnight.)

Visible over eastern Asia and the western part of the Americas, and particularly over the South Pacific (including Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand), the June 26 eclipse is potent from the 23rd through the 29th. The eclipse occurs just over 24 hours after the Moon reaches maximum declination south of the celestial equator, making this an extreme full moon, with enhanced potential to raise unusual tides in Earth’s atmosphere, oceans and crust – particularly in the zone of visibility, where headlines are likely to be made by seismic events and powerful storms. Central Europe and the western part of Central Africa are under one of the astro-locality longitudinal stress lines for the June 26 eclipse. Another longitudinal risk zone runs through Chicago in the western hemisphere, over the poles and through Calcutta in the east. There’s also a hazardous looking horizon arc sweeping southeasterly from Alaska down through the Yucatan Peninsula and western South America (crossing Santiago) and through the Falkland Islands before turning northeasterly to sweep across Indonesia, the Indochina Peninsula, eastern China and the east coast of Siberia.

July 11 brings the year’s second total solar eclipse, which falls at 19° 23’ Cancer – at a time when the Great T-Square of 2010 is still very close to exact, which suggests more turbulence in the socio-economic and political arena will break out in early to mid-July. (By the same token, desperate times call for desperate measures, and this eclipse is bound to usher in some attempts at corrective action.) The July 11 total solar eclipse belongs to Saros Cycle 146, which began in 1541 – at a time of Islamic expansion into Europe that saw Muslim armies take Hungary. A very wide geocosmic stress window goes with this eclipse, stretching all the way from the 1st (in advance of the Moon’s northward crossing of the celestial equator) all the way through the 18th. This is another extreme lunation, coming just 48 hours after the lunar south declination maximum. Consequently, look for headline-making powerful storms and moderate-to-severe seismic activity (e.g. magnitude 5+ quakes and volcanic eruptions) during the indicated stress cycle.

Planetary in scope by definition, there may nonetheless a few hints as to where the July 11 eclipse will make its presence felt most strongly. There’s the zone of visibility for the eclipse, for example: mostly out in the South Pacific, although it grazes the southern end of South America at its eastern extremity and comes very close to Tahiti at the western end. Turning to the astro-locality map, the western US and Canada (close, but not limited to, the Rocky Mountain range) lie in one longitudinal risk zone that crosses the poles to traverse Central Asia (centered on Afghanistan, in this instance). There’s also a horizon arc running northeasterly from the northwest coast of Africa across Western Europe and the north of Russia, before turning southeasterly to cross eastern China, Japan and the South Pacific to make landfall again in New Zealand. Some of the biggest storm and seismic action for the July 1-18 period are likely to touch these areas of our home planet.

The last eclipse of the year occurs on December 21, and belongs to Saros 125, which began in 1163. It’s a total lunar eclipse at 29° 20 Gemini, with the Sun at that time in a rolling conjunction including Mercury, Pluto and Mars. The Great T-Square by this time has broken up: we’ve hit the bottom of the latest economic hole, and are digging our way out. The “W-shaped” recovery has turned the corner – this time, I think for good. Well, not forever, because the business cycle and bubble mentality are too deeply engrained in nature and human nature for that. And not fast either, because it takes until 2020 at least for the New World Order to get up to speed. But the December 21 eclipse does look like a turning point . . .

It also looks like a time for a new round of storm and seismic headlines. As usual, these can happen anywhere – and will. But there may be some hints as to areas of greatest risk in the zone of visibility and astro-locality maps for the eclipse. North and South America are best situated to see the Moon be obscured by Earth’s shadow this time around, although East Asia gets part of the action. As for the astro-locality map, a prominent longitudinal risk zone runs from the South Pacific through the western parts of the US and Canada, over the poles and through Russia, the Middle East and the western India Ocean. In addition, there’s a horizon arc that skims northeasterly across the south Atlantic coast of South America, across the northwestern coast of Africa and through western Europe, Scandinavia and northern Russia before turning southeasterly across eastern China and Japan and down through the South Pacific to traverse Papua New Guinea, skim the eastern coast of Australia and broadside the whole of New Zealand. Whatever storm and seismic headlines are made during the December 18-24 geophysical risk window, some of the bylines are likely to come from these danger zones.

By way of summary, to the extent 2010 seems to have an over-all theme, I think it goes something like this: the easy answers have been tried, weighed in the balance and found wanting. Now, what do we do? That’s not pretty, but it is progress. It’s far from the end of the road, but at least we’ve turned a corner. And the way forward will be more a break with (and breakdown of) the past than anyone would have expected when this long, strange trip began.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: All astrological charts as well as eclipse and astro-locality maps were calculated and produced using Matrix Software's WinStar Plus 2.05 and Esoteric Technologies’ Solar Fire Gold Version 7.0.8. Additional astronomical diagrams and calculations were produced with John Walker's HomePlanet 3.1 and Maris Technologies' RedShift 5 software. Fred Espenak's NASA Eclipse Home Page is an indispensable online reference. Thanks to Alan Brown for many hours of discussion on historical details mentioned in this forecast.

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