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©2011 by Richard Nolle
last revised JANUARY 2, 2011

If you were expecting some kind of sun sign nonsense, forget about it. This is real astrology for the real world, not some mystical mumbo-jumbo word salad. 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.

Don’t feel bad
because the sun went down
the moon is made of gold
the night is magic
and the moon is made of gold

-- Rickie Lee Jones

Synodic Cycle of VenusThe New Year is unsteady on its feet, as if hung-over from too much revelry ushering the old year out. Actually, there are good and bad hangovers going on here. On the plus side, there’s the last week of the Venus Max that began back in August, and turned the economic and financial tide (for now), exactly as predicted last year. Make hay while the sun shines, because this one is on its last legs. I’m not saying the markets and industries around the world will immediately crash on January 9, the day after the Venus Max ends (and the day Mercury Max does the same). This up-turn has more momentum than that. But be looking to take profits and set some extra cash aside, whether for emergencies or for opportunities to buy precious metals and good stocks on the dips. In short, don’t hunker down in a bunker: wacky Mayan aficionados and other Chicken Little types notwithstanding, this isn’t the Apocalypse!

JAN 4, 2011  New Moon Partial Solar EclipseThat’s not to make light of the very real suffering that’s going on. When millions of people lose their jobs and their houses, there’s genuine despair out there. Likewise when a natural disaster rises up and knocks your house down. That’s happened to a lot of people in the last couple of weeks, under the aegis of the December 21 total lunar eclipse and this month’s (January 4) partial solar eclipse. The latter has been stirring up the crust, seas and atmosphere of our home planet since late last month. (One victim of these storms, in the wreckage of a tornado-tossed neighborhood, cited the fact that no one was injured or killed in all the devastation as proof of God’s love. I’m thinking, too bad God didn’t love your houses too: presumably you’d all be sleeping safe and sound in your own beds tonight.)

The January 4 partial solar eclipse at 13° 38’ Capricorn belongs to Saros Cycle 151, which began on August 14, 1776; the week that news of the American Declaration of Independence reached England. (Fitting that it reappears now, in a time when there’s "a whiff of revolution in the air".) The eclipse is in quadrature (90° arc) to Saturn, and comes at a time when Jupiter and Uranus are exact conjunct once more (the last apparition in their three-peat series). Pluto is emphasized in the heavens at this time as well, being on the north node and transited by the Moon in the hours preceding the eclipse. Mercury and Venus are both still in their Max cycle, but they’re down to days left now. Equity markets should still be more positive than negative over-all – but probably not for long. A good time to start thinking about taking profits, if you can; and looking to buy precious metals on the dips whenever possible. No hurry, mind you: the trigger for panic in the markets is probably a debt crisis that next emerges in March. But with Saturn and Pluto being emphasized in this eclipse, ominous rumblings of the next debt crisis – the next of several, mind you – will cast a shadow over the otherwise sunny Venus Max cycle that’s been in effect since August 2010. There’s some kind of major scientific/technological break-through at work this month – the whole month, what with Jupiter and Uranus remaining all month within a few degrees of their exact alignment on the day of the eclipse. Bear in mind that, this being a solar eclipse, it’s actually operative from December 27 into January 11. Greatest intensity during this period will likely be on or about January 2, 4 and 9.

JAN 4, 2011 Partial Solar Eclipse VisibilityThe storm and seismic potential associated with the December 27-January 11 solar eclipse shock window is considerable. It occurs with Earth at perihelion (closest approach to the Sun), and just a couple days after the Moon’s maximum declination south of the celestial equator. The Mars, Pluto and Saturn emphasis in this eclipse conjures an iron fist – no velvet glove whatsoever. So be as ready as you can, for things like extreme storms with high winds and heavy precipitation, unusual tidal surges, and noteworthy seismic activity (including magnitude 5+ earthquakes and volcanic eruptions). If you must travel during this period, be aware that weather-related delays are likely. (Think of the "snow hurricane" airport shutdowns in the US, Europe and Russia at the end of 2010, as this eclipse window opened up.)

Visible over much of Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, eclipse manifestations of the sort described above will certainly be seen and felt in those parts of Planet Earth. But that’s hardly the whole story. Being astronomical in scale, the geophysical shock window for an eclipse encompasses the whole of our home planet: tides raised in the crust, seas and atmosphere know no boundaries. Batten down the hatches as best you can, and have your emergency kit ready just in case . . . maybe especially if you’ll be in sight of the eclipse, or in one of the astro-locality target zones for the alignment. These include a horizon arc sweeping across Great Britain and northern Europe; China, the Korean Peninsula and Japan; the Philippines, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand; and pretty much the whole of South America except the northwestern quadrant of the continent. And then there are the longitudinal meridian arcs of vulnerability, stretching from the eclipse’s zone of visibility in the Old World, crossing the pole and coming down on the Pacific coast of North America, from Alaska on down.

JAN 4, 2011 Partial Solar Eclipse Astro-MapUnless you’ve been in a subterranean Faraday cage the last couple of weeks, you’ve already seen plenty of evidence of the kind of geophysical turbulence described above. (It actually got started in the last half of December, heralded by the total lunar eclipse on the 21st.) Australia has had historic floods, as has California (both among the target zones mentioned above); not to mention the powerful 7.0-magnitude earthquake that shook Santiago del Estero, Argentina on the 1st and the 7.1 that rocked Araucania, Chile on the 2nd (ditto). And then there was the "snow hurricane" up and down the US east coast from December 26 onwards, in the dusk of the lunar eclipse shock window and the dawn of the solar eclipse portal. It’s still early days in terms of this solar eclipse, so have your emergency plans and kits ready to hand just in case. Traveling despite the eclipse weather and the Mercury Max? Well, if you have to, plan on weather delays and hope for the best. Everybody can’t get stuck in a snowdrift, a socked-in airport, a storm-tossed ship . . . somebody has to be among the lucky ones, and here’s hoping it’s you and yours.

Speaking of Mercury Max, bear in mind that it’s still in force up to January 9 – the day after the 2010-2011 Venus Max ends. It’s a combination of the two inner planets making their close pass to Earth at the same time, and that adds up to a huge emphasis on everything they represent: communication and finance, for example. Among the sort of things to be ready for during this and any Mercury Max: 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).

JAN 4, 2011 Jupiter-Uranus ConjunctionWeather 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. Once the Mercury Max ends, there are still a few more isolated disturbances of the sort cited above, around the 11th, 18th and 26th - plus or minus a few days in each case.

The other big event in the sky this month is the aforementioned third and final exact Jupiter-Uranus conjunction of the current (2010-2011) series. Exciting discoveries and breakthroughs in science and technology are on the agenda under this kind of alignment: particularly in the fields of astronomy, astrophysics, aerospace, electronics, energy, medicine and physics. If Atlantis were to be discovered, if ET were to phone in – and I’m not saying these things will happen – then this would be the time for it.

In closing this brief forecast, I’d be remiss not to point out some of the other storm and seismic indicators for January. They will likely pale in comparison to the eclipse action at the beginning of the month, but they’re not trivial if you’re the one whose caught up in a thunderstorm or blizzard or tornado – or an earthquake. Dates of heightened vulnerability for such disturbances center around the full moon on the 19th (say, from around the time of the Moon’s extreme declination north of the celestial equator on the 16th, through 23rd), and from the 29th into early February (associated with the south lunar declination extreme on the 29th, leading into the new moon on February 3).

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