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©2013 by Richard Nolle
last revised MAY 30, 2013

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 month’s forecast incorporates elements of (and refers to) my complete 2013 World Forecast Highlights (31 8-1/2 x 11” illustrated pages), focused, amplified and elaborated with details for the month as appropriate. If you’d like your own copy of the full 2013 World Forecast Highlights, it’s 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 rnolle@astropro.com – or by using the AstroPro PayPal order page.

Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.
-- Corrie Ten Boom

MAY 20, 2013 Uranus-Pluto SquareA new Mercury Max cycle, another SuperMoon full moon and another Mercury-Venus conjunction, plus the ongoing Uranus-Pluto square (with Mercury as well as Venus chiming in at one point) and the lingering stations of Saturn (exact on July 8) and Neptune (exact on June 7) are the big stories in the sky this month. We’ll see them reflected in the world around us, in the headlines – and in ourselves.

Holding to within one degree of its June 7 retrograde station all month long (and into July), Neptune looms large over June. Likewise Saturn, which is also within a degree of its July 8 direct station throughout June and into early August. In combination with the other lingering major configuration (the Uranus-Pluto square, still within only a couple degrees of its May 20 partile apparition), this is a combination that speaks of the 99% of this world getting more fed-up and disillusioned – downright dispossessed, even – with the fabric of civilization. No wonder anarchists are sprouting up like mushrooms after the rain. That will be the preeminent social, political and economic tapestry this month – as it has been for a couple months now, and will remain so into the fall of the year. Revolts, riots, rebellions and outright revolution are in the air or simmering just behind the scenes all around the world . . . lies, scandals, and turmoil in the markets and financial infrastructure add to rising frustration. A good time to short major equity markets, if you haven’t already.

Late Baby Boomers getting Saturn transits across natal Neptune especially experience a crisis of faith during this cycle, and on and off for months to come. Just remember: the glass is just as much half full as it is half empty, even though its seems more the latter at times like this.

Even those who aren’t alienated by class and circumstance will feel mightily put upon as Mercury Max makes its second appearance of the year. It’s hard to keep your focus and concentration when you’re being whipsawed by so much adversity and uncertainty, but that’s just what’s needed in a Mercury Max cycle.

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.

It’s worth noting that, with the inferior planets (those inside Earth’s 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 Earth’s orbit), the closest approach to Earth coincides with the planet’s (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 . . .

Mercury's Synodic CycleI have long wondered how astrologers managed to get astrology so wrong, when it comes to the notion that retrograde planets are somehow inferior. They’re the very same planets as when they’re direct – only they’re bigger and brighter in the night sky, because they’re closer. I think maybe Mercury’s retrograde is somehow key to this misperception. Mercury after all goes retrograde more than any other planet. So we have more experience of its retrogrades. Since Mercury has to do with mental processes and communication, and since so many people can’t be bothered to think straight and communicate clearly, it’s understandable that they might be frustrated and anxious when they encounter a cycle that places a premium on these qualities. It takes all kinds to make a world, and there are many kinds of intelligence. The Mercurial kind places a premium on rationality and seeing things as they are. These are the folks who have the best prospects for success during a Mercury Max cycle. The rest tend not to do so well, which is probably why they moan about Mercury being retrograde.

What I have termed the Mercury Max cycle is simply 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 – which is what astrology was, back in the time when it was astronomy. Look up in the sky over the indicated periods, and you will see the phenomena described above. Astronomical software and references provide the greatest eastern and western elongations of Mercury (and Venus, for that matter), but astrological software and references do not. One is a real sky perspective, the other is something less – and that is what astrologers have settled for over the course of time.

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 don’t use the "storm" nomenclature, referring to the overlap at both ends of the retrograde as the "shadow" period. It makes no difference: either way, it’s just plain nonsense.)

For example, the first Mercury Max cycle of 2013 begins with the little planet’s maximum eastern elongation from the Sun on February 16, includes the February 23-March 17 retrograde and the March 4 inferior conjunction, and wraps up with the western elongation extreme on March 23, 2013. The corresponding shadow period would begin on February 9 (the day Mercury reaches the degree at which it goes direct on March 17) and ends (or the storm period ends, depending on which irrelevant nomenclature you prefer) on April 6 (the day Mercury returns to the degree at which it went retrograde on February 23). 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; 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. The corresponding organically derived dates in this case are February 16 (greatest eastern elongation) and March 31 (western elongation maximum). 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 in the sky.

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 simpleminded. 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!

When it comes to times to have a backup plan handy, watch those Mercury inferior conjunctions! They’re often accompanied by intensified solar outbursts – Coronal Mass Ejections (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 – and in the worst case scenario, these can be associated with damage to satellites in orbit and power transmission systems on our planet’s surface. It’s more involved than that, actually. Extreme solar weather can stir up weather extremes here on Earth as well. Dump Gigawatts of extra solar radiation into our atmosphere and our magnetic system, and you get storms as well as an increase in volcanic activity. The inferior Sun-Mercury conjunction is a high point in this cycle, but the entire Mercury Max period tends toward enhanced solar activity. Electrical and electronic infrastructure aren’t the only systems susceptible to disruption during geomagnetic storms. The human nervous system tends to get a little glitchy as well. If anything, this is more likely the root of the Mercury retrograde legend than the apparent reverse motion itself. Cutting between Earth and Sun during these Max phases, Mercury introduces an element of turbulence into the solar wind . . .

Mercury’s June 12 greatest elongation east of the Sun marks the onset of the second Max cycle of the little planet for 2013. It continues through the June 26-July 20 retrograde and the July 9 inferior conjunction, ending with Mercury’s maximum western elongation on July 30. This time around, I’m expecting a remarkable Mercury Max, and here’s why . . .

JUN 21, 2013 Mercury-Venus ConjunctionI always look for increased solar and geomagnetic activity (including auroral displays) during any Mercury-Venus alignment, and particularly any with one or both planets in their Max Cycle, putting them on the same side of the Sun as our home planet. That’s exactly what happens during the current Mercury Max. On June 21, Mercury and Venus are aligned during the Mercury Max, within a couple days of a SuperMoon full moon. On the geophysical level, both alignments (and especially the latter) are very likely to be harbingers of increased storm and seismic activity. These are combinations – again, especially the latter -which I fully expect to anchor some of the year’s most emphatic geocosmic stress windows – replete with a surfeit of powerful storms, extreme tidal surges and significant seismic activity (including magnitude 5+ earthquakes and volcanic eruptions). Solar flares by definition do dump extra Gigawatts of energy into the Earth. Like turning up the heat on a saucepan of water, they can turn a slow simmer into a rolling boil. It manifests in terms of extreme weather events and increased seismicity – particularly when compounded with factors like the June 23 SuperMoon.

All the resultant increases in geomagnetism tend to nudge electrical and electronic infrastructure and equipment into greater or lesser chaos, affecting our civilization. Our bodies are electrical systems too, and people get a bit fritzy at times like this too. Sometimes more than a bit. It’s not as if we can put on tinfoil helmets and deflect this stuff – no more than we can wish auroras away. It’s here. We deal with it. We take precautions, stay focused and have backups ready, to the extent we can. And then we just go about our business.

Definitely good times to have your emergency kit packed and ready to hand, just in case. And do be aware that these disturbances of the Earth’s magnetic field, skies, crust and seas are just the ticket for breakdowns affecting communication and transportation systems and other infrastructure, which can have very wide implications at times like these – with effects reaching out into financial markets and the broader economy. These are times to stay alert and focused, to concentrate, to keep your eye on the ball – lest it smack you between the eyes.

Speaking of the SuperMoon on the 23rd, at 2° 10’ Capricorn, has an effective geocosmic shock window that extends from June 20 through the 26th. With a Sun-Jupiter conjunction in effect at the time, and the Mercury-Venus conjunction stirring up solar outbursts, this particular SuperMoon augurs the typical elevated SuperMoon risk of really big, strong storms with high winds and heavy precipitation; as well as extreme tides and news-making seismic activity (M 5+ earthquakes and volcanic eruptions). There’s something extra here as well, given that this SuperMoon touches a Mercury Max period; something about weather issues being involved in disruptions to travel, communication and power infrastructure. A good time to be someplace safe and sound.

JUN 23, 2013 SuperMoon Astro-MapAs always, there’s virtually no place on Earth that’s completely safe from the SuperMoon tides ripping through Earth’s atmosphere, crust, and oceans during the June 20-26 risk window. Astro-locality mapping shows longitudinal vulnerability zones in western and eastern Africa and Europe, as well as down through the Bering Strait out to Alaska and Hawaii on the other side of the world. There’s also a sweeping horizon arc from the southwest Pacific (grazing Australia through Indonesia, the Philippines and east Asia, again through the Bering Strait and across to Alaska, into the western US and Canada on the one side and the eastern US and Canada on the other, down through Mexico and Central America, the Caribbean and the western and eastern sides of South America. I’m not by any means saying these are the only places where being prepared for foul weather and other natural disturbances is a priority. But I do think it should be high on the list here.

In closing, let me return to the major theme for the year as a whole, the Uranus-Pluto square. From demonstrations and riots in the streets of major cities around the world, to Arab Spring-style outright revolt and civil war (such as we’ve seen in places like Egypt and Syria), this was all predicted in my forecasts over the past several years. Economic dislocation has been central to this trend, even in the Arab Spring uprisings – which began when national governments ended subsidies for food and fuel. In Europe and America, rage took to the streets to protest taxpayer bail-outs for wealthy, powerful corporations and people. These trends have been ongoing

Since the 2008-2010 oppositions from Saturn to Uranus and from Jupiter to Saturn, which heralded paroxysms in the global financial system, and political responses to that crisis, every major Mars alignment in the sky has been accompanied by more strident – and often quite violent – protestations by the 99%. With the onset of the 2012-2016 Uranus-Pluto square, there’s been an increasing radicalization of the masses; to the point that it borders on outright revolution – and spills over in many countries, e.g. throughout the Arab Spring countries, and most especially at present in Syria.

With Uranus and Pluto holding within a few degrees of their May 20 square all month (and well into June 2014), spasms in the global financial system will continue to be much in the news – and you’ll see strong reactions from Wall Street to the streets of major world cities, where the dispossessed angrily protest their lowered circumstances. Remember, the bank closures and nationalizations, account seizures and the like are manifestations of what’s been happening in all countries around the world since the Saturn-Uranus opposition of 2008. The citizenry of all nations have been pillaged in one form or another, through taxes or inflation or outright confiscation. It’s not over yet, but it really chafes under these Uranus-Pluto squares. Ask the folks in Cyprus. And again, remember: FDR did pretty much the same thing in the US back in the 1930s, under the aegis of the last set of Uranus-Pluto squares.

Plan on it all month: more violent protests in the streets as well as panics in major equity markets. But in between these sharp outbursts, there’s still an ongoing, underlying process of stress and change in political and economic systems around the world. As I’ve written many times already in my forecasts, the worst isn’t even behind us until 2016, and the salad days won’t be here again until after the 2020 Great Chronocrator (Jupiter-Saturn conjunction).


All astrological charts as well as eclipse and astro-locality maps are calculated and produced using Esoteric Technologies’ Solar Fire Gold Version 7.0.8 Sky map images are screen captures from the Pocket Universe app for iPhone. Storm tracks are screen captures from The Weather Channel app for iPhone. Solar activity images are screen captures from the 3D SUN app for iPhone. And earthquake maps are screen captures from Quakes Pro Earthquake Alerts app for iPhone.

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