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 psycho-babble 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, aka GMT). 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.
PLEASE NOTE: This monthís forecast incorporates elements of (and refers to) my complete 2012 World Forecast Highlights (34 8-1/2 x 11Ē illustrated pages), focused, amplified and elaborated with details for the month as appropriate. If youíd like your own copy of the full 2012 World Forecast Highlights, itís available in hard copy by mail ($75) or as a PDF document by email ($50). Orders may be phoned in (toll-free from anywhere in North America to 800-527-8761) and charged to any major credit card. PayPal orders may be placed direct from your own PayPal account page to email@example.com Ė or by using the AstroPro PayPal order page.
History is a relentless master. It has no present, only the past rushing into the future.
-- John F. Kennedy
The Uranus-Pluto square that was in precise quadrature on September 19 remains within a couple degrees of exact throughout October. As Iíve already indicated, this planetary configuration is one in an ongoing series that doesnít conclude until 2016. Itís been in effect off and on since 2011, and per my annual forecasts it signals a social response (e.g. anarchy and revolution) to fundamental political, technological, economic and social change. Youíve seen it in the Arab Spring, in the Occupy Movement, the anti-austerity riots in Greece and Spain and more Ė and itís only just begun.
Remember: this is not just a "Great Recession" or Depression weíre going through: itís the start of a whole new historical epoch, unprecedented since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. The transition, as described in my annual forecasts, began in 1980 as the Great Chronocrator (Jupiter-Saturn conjunction) entered the transitional phase from the earth to the air element. It reaches critical momentum in 2020, when the transition is completed and we enter the long, uninterrupted air element series.
Revolution remains the key theme for October, just as it was last month, as the Uranus-Pluto configuration continues to longer so close to exact in the heavens all month. The transition from the earth series (Industrial Revolution) to the air series (Virtual Revolution, the Singularity, the Nano Revolution?) is especially rocky under the aegis of this Uranus-Pluto square, with its herky-jerky, uneven, disruptive quality: shocking discoveries, shock tactics, shock troops.
While the turbulence Iím describing is an ongoing factor throughout October, itís likely to be most pronounced early in the month, in the aftermath of the September 30 full moon; as well as on or about October 27 (when the Moon waxes nearly full as it aligns with Uranus, Mars opposes Jupiter, and Saturn rises just before the Sun).
Although the collective, geopolitical sphere will be a prime focus for all of these things, itís not as if individual human beings arenít also caught up in the turbulence. Collectives donít spasm without individuals participating in the disturbances, after all. If you were born with significant celestial factors in the area of the early cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn), the Uranus-Pluto square points to these as prime territory in your life this month. (Check your chart!) Challenges of this sort, if they arise in your life under this configuration, are probably already in progress Ė and are best met clearly and forcefully now. This is a time to see the challenges, set a course and follow it closely Ė being sure to adjust as necessary when things change fast, as they surely will. Clinging to the past is not an option! (Also, if you were born Ė again, check your chart - with significant celestial points around the 15° Gemini-Sagittarius axis of the October 28 Mars-Jupiter opposition, taking safety precautions and getting a grip on yourself could help avert a world of hurt around the 28th Ė give or take a few days.
The social, economic, political and technological ferment that is Uranus-Pluto square is the dominant over-arching theme for the month, but itís far from the whole story. The Venus-Neptune opposition and Jupiter direct station on the 4th point to lotus eaters and siren songs, a tendency to get lost in wonderful fantasies and comfortable illusions for a while. Great entertainments! Just beware the cons and Ponzi schemers. You may ask, how is this possible, at a time when the US Congress is in recess? Ah, but the EU is still dickering around with its latest financial system machinations! And major banks, exchanges, rating agencies and hedge funds havenít shut their doors yet . . .
Take note of the new Mercury Max cycle that begins when the little planet in its evening star phase reaches maximum elongation east of the Sun on October 26. We only get the slightest taste of Mercury Max in the last few days of October, but things will start getting a bit frenetic then and grow into it with each passing day in November.
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 Max 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.
The next and final Mercury Max for 2012 begins, as I said, on October 26. Itís a cycle that includes Mercuryís retrograde (starting on November 6), its inferior conjunction with the Sun (November 17), and the direct station on November 26. The cycle concludes on December 4, when Mercury as morning star reaches its maximum elongation west of the Sun.
Itís worth noting that with the inferior planets (those inside Earthís orbit; namely Mercury and Venus), the closest approach to Earth coincides with the inferior (retrograde) conjunction with the Sun. With the superior planets (those outside Earthís orbit), the closest approach to Earth coincides with the planetís (retrograde) solar opposition. Clearly astrological doctrine regarding planetary retrogrades is completely unthinking. Rather than being weakened or debilitated in some way, a retrograde planet is in fact bigger and brighter in our sky, and closer to our home planet. Not unlike a SuperMoon, in that respect . . .
What 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; the dynamics of our solar system as seen from our home planet perch Ė which is what astrology was, back in the time when it was astronomy. Look up in the sky over the indicated period, 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" and "storm" phases of the retrograde. (Some astrologers donít use the "storm" nomenclature, referring to the overlap at both ends of the retrograde as the "shadow" period. It makes no difference: either way, storm and shadow are equally nonsensical and equally irrelevant.)
For example, this last Mercury Max cycle of 2012 begins with the little planetís maximum eastern elongation from the Sun on October 26, includes the November 6-26 retrograde and the November 17 inferior conjunction, and wraps up with the western elongation extreme on December 4. The corresponding shadow period Ė if there were such a thing, in reality -would begin on October 18 (the day Mercury reaches the degree at which it goes direct on November 26) and ends (or the storm period ends, depending on which irrelevant nomenclature you prefer) on December 8 (the day Mercury returns to the degree at which it went retrograde on October). 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. Itís like left-brain versus right-brain thinking, linear versus holistic; nose in the book versus eyes on the skies. One is a made-up abstraction looked up in an ephemeris, the other a reality that can be seen in the sky. Occasionally the real Mercury Max begin and end dates will coincide with the artificial so-called shadow period start and stop dates. Even a broken clock is right twice a day. But the reality is there to see, for those who keep their eyes on the skies instead of burying their noses in a book.
Retrograde means moving backwards. This is what Mercury appears to do in our skies when the little inner planet catches up on us and passes us on the inside, between Earth and the Sun. First Mercury reaches its greatest eastern elongation, then it appears to stand still in the sky (the retrograde station), and then it appears to move backwards through the heavens for a period of several weeks: that's Mercury retrograde for you. It ends when the little Sun-grazer's backwards motion comes to an apparent halt (the direct station); after which, Mercury moves forward again, until it reaches its maximum elongation west of the Sun. The reality of course is that Mercury never stops in its orbit, and never moves backward: this is only how the relative motions of Earth and Mercury around the Sun cause Mercury to move through our night sky.
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 Max 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 Max 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!
Speaking of times to have a backup plan handy, watch those Mercury inferior conjunctions! Theyíre often accompanied by intensified solar outbursts Ė CMEs and the like, which an (if the active region of the Sun is pointed in our direction at the time) can stir up geomagnetic activity here. Auroral activity and strong storms are possible at times like this Ė and in the worst case scenario, these can be associated with damage to satellites in orbit and power transmission systems on our planetís surface.
Donít forget to be prepared for the storm and seismic risk windows of October. Once again Ė the last month this year for which this can be said Ė there wonít be a SuperMoon or eclipse kind of celestial shock window stirring up powerful tides in the atmosphere, crust and seas of Planet Earth. Even so, the beginning, middle and end of the month Ė give or take three days, all else being equal Ė foretell a rash of powerful storms with damaging winds and heavy precipitation, as well as a swarm of moderate-to-severe seismic activity (including Magnitude 5+ earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. In particular, keep an eye on October 1-3, the 13th-19th (including the lunar south declination extreme on the 19th), and of course the full moon on the 29th.
All astrological charts as well as eclipse and astro-locality maps are calculated and produced using Esoteric Technologiesí Solar Fire Gold Version 7.0.8 Sky map images are screen captures from the Pocket Universe app for iPhone.
SPECIAL FEATURE: This month's birthdays of the famous and infamous (with astrological birth charts)