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©2015 by Richard Nolle
last revised AUG 31, 2015

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). Location for all mundante charts is set for the Great Pyramid at Giza; the choice being strictly arbitrary in any case. 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 2015 World Forecast Highlights (38 8-1/2 x 11” illustrated pages); focused, amplified and elaborated with details for the month as appropriate. The full version of my 2015 World Forecast Highlights is 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.

My goodness how the time has flewn.
How did it get so late so soon?

-- Dr. Seuss

The Skinny

SEP 28, 2015 Full Moon SuperMoon (Total Lunar Eclipse September shapes up to be the biggest geophysical news story of the year: two eclipses (one of them a SuperMoon) plus a Mercury Max make for a lot of turbulence in Earth’s crust, seas, atmosphere and magnetosphere. It all adds up to a huge potential for powerful storms and seismic activity; along with an increase in solar storms that heighten risks for breakdowns in electrical and electronic equipment – including the bioelectric field that is human consciousness. Sometimes the world can feel haywire and out of control. This month looks like one of those times.

Pressure points for September include the solar eclipse on the 13th, at 20° 10’ Virgo and the SuperMoon lunar eclipse on the 28th, at 4° 40’ Aries; plus the Mercury Max beginning on the 4th (at 8d 13’ Libra). Before describing world events we can expect to accompany these celestial events, let me point out that there personal implications as well. People born with significant horoscopic placements at or near (within a few degrees) of conjunction or opposition to these points are in the spotlight around the indicated dates. (Check your chart!) This includes – but is not limited to – anyone born around March 13 and 28, April 2 and October 2, and September 13 and 28 of any year.

Having touched on the highlights, it’s time to flesh it all out, beginning at the beginning.

Mercury Max Returns

Like SuperMoon, Mercury Max is a term I created to describe an astronomical phenomenon that is not well understood in the astrological community. (If you’re unfamiliar with SuperMoon, I’ll get to it in a moment.) In brief, Mercury Max refers to a phase in the Earth-Mercury-Sun relationship, when Mercury swings around from behind the Sun to catch up and pass the slower orbiting Earth. As it does this, Mercury draws closer and closer to our home planet, until it reaches its perigee (closest approach to Earth), coincident with what’s called the inferior Sun-Mercury conjunction. At this time, Earth, Mercury and the Sun are aligned with Mercury in the middle, passing between us and the Sun.

Celestial mechanics aside, Mercury Max marks a time when Mercury gets closer to Earth, bigger and brighter and more prominent in our sky. All things Mercurial likewise take on added importance in our lives. Mercurial things include thought, cleverness, communication, transportation and commerce. People who stay sharp and attentive at times like this prosper. Those who don’t, don’t do so well. Over the millennia, there’s been a tendency to blame failure of this sort on Mercury – and in particular on the retrograde portion of the Mercury Max cycle. Which is silly of course, for "the fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars."

Mercury's Synodic Cycle With this in mind, here’s your heads up! The current Mercury Max cycle (the third one and final complete one this year) begins with Mercury’s maximum eastern elongation on September 4, continues through the September 17 to October 9 retrograde (including the September 30 inferior conjunction with the Sun), and concludes when the little Sun-grazer reaches maximum western elongation on October 16. These are the dates to keep sharpen your wits and get your ducks in a row. Have your backup plans and fallback positions ready. Don’t assume that you can do anything “hands off”: pay attention! The people who aren’t paying attention will screw themselves up – and you in the bargain, if you don’t keep an eye on things.

Speaking of a heads-up, a word about the so-called Mercury shadow and/or storm periods, preceding and following its retrograde. This is silliness created by people who have their nose in a book of planetary positions (called an ephemeris), instead of their eyes on the skies. These bookworms look to see when Mercury comes to the degree at which it will later make its direct station, and then look to see 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. In reality, it’s a distinction without a difference: either way, it’s just plain nonsense.) You won’t find Mercury shadows or storms in the astronomical literature – only maximum elongations. One’s the real deal, the other is just nonsense.

For example, the first Mercury Max cycle of 2015 began with the little planet’s maximum eastern elongation from the Sun on January 14, included the January 21-February 11 retrograde and the January 30 inferior conjunction with the Sun, and wrapped up with the western elongation extreme on February 24, 2015. The corresponding shadow period would begin on January 5, the day Mercury reached the degree (1° 19’ Aquarius) at which it would go direct on February 11; and ended (or the storm period ended, depending on which irrelevant nomenclature you prefer) on March 3, the day Mercury returned to the degree at which it went retrograde on January 21 (17° 3’Aquarius). 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.

SEP 4, 2015 Mercury Maximum East ElongationIt’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 a reference book, the other a reality that can be seen in the sky. The corresponding organically derived dates in this case are January 14 (greatest eastern elongation) and February 24 (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, after all. But the reality is there to see in the sky.

Mercury Max, the real deal, begins with what is astronomically defined as Mercury’s maximum elongation east of the Sun; the point at which Mercury is as far east of the Sun as it can get, as seen from Earth. This is Mercury Vespers, or Mercury as evening star. And it’s the best opportunity we get to see the little planet from our vantage point here on Earth. (Look to the west after sunset.)

Once Mercury Max is underway, Mercury begins to slow down in its apparent motion through our sky, as the little planet catches up on Earth from behind. Slower and slower Mercury moves, until it seems to stand still (reach a station point, called the retrograde station in this case) in the sky; and then begins to move backwards. It’s not really moving backwards, of course. It only looks that way because it’s catching up and then passing us on its inside orbit. That backwards motion is called by astrologers a retrograde, and it continues past the inferior Sun-Mercury conjunction until Mercury rounds the bend and Earth appears to start catching up from behind. Once again, Mercury’s apparent motion in our sky comes to a standstill (the direct station), before resuming normal direct motion.

The Mercury Max cycle comes to an end when Mercury reaches its what astronomers call its maximum elongation west of the Sun; that point at which Mercury is as far west of the Sun as it can get, as seen from our home planet. This comes as the culmination of the Mercury as morning star phase (Mercury Lucifer). Get up well before sunrise and look for Mercury in the eastern sky to see this for yourself.

Solar Storm Signals

There’s more to Mercury Max than the human dimensions described above; i.e., the focus on the mental, communicative and connective elements of human nature. There’s a geophysical dimension as well. Mercury Max is a cycle of enhanced dynamism in the Earth-Mercury-Sun relationship. It’s a time when the Sun is prone to a flurry of disturbances – strong X-Ray flares, coronal holes and Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs). These have direct correlations here on Earth: dump Gigawatts of extra solar energy into Earth’s atmosphere and magnetosphere, and you get increased atmospheric and geomagnetic storms, and enhanced seismic activity.

While the entire Mercury Max cycle marks a time of heightened instability in these areas, this is most intense around the key dates within the cycle (plus or minus three days). This time around, look for solar storminess to increase around September 4, 17 and 30, as well as October 9 and l16. What to expect? A flurry of strong solar flares (M and X-class) and geomagnetic storms (Kp 5 and up), and increased auroral activity for starters. Knock-on effects include disturbances in electrical and electronic systems and networks – including that peculiar bio-electrical network, the human nervous system. Satellites, radio communications and power grids can get squirrely, so have a backup plan ready. And bear in mind that since so much of September is already subject to enhanced storm and seismic activity, there’s an extra risk for delays and breakdowns in transport and communications.

Solar Eclipse Watch

Eclipses are much like SuperMoons in terms of their connection with storms and seismicity, but they tend to rank a little lower in magnitude. Don’t expect an eclipse to herald the kind of extreme tidal surges so typical of a SuperMoon, for example. But there remains a notable historical connection between eclipses and strong storms and seismicity, including moderate to severe (Magnitude 5 and up) earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions.

SEP 13, 2015 New Moon Solar Eclipse Astro-Locality Map At the personal level, eclipses point to an emphatic focus on a particular facet of life, described by the area in the natal chart where the eclipse falls. (Check your chart!)The year’s second and final solar eclipse is partial, at 20° 10’Virgo on September 13. Venus and Mars are still (widely) conjunct at the time, and the Uranus-Pluto square has become a T-Square with the addition of Mercury’s opposition to Uranus. And to further roil the cauldron, Mercury is in its Max phase, and within days of one of the critical points in that cycle – the retrograde station on the 17th. Once again, tensions run high over social inequities and disruptions in the economic system. Domestic unrest, international conflict and fading confidence in the institutions that keep it all afloat: that’s what this signifies. It operates at both the individual and collective ends of the psychological spectrum: nations get restless, people get tense. The gears of the banking machinery are clashing and grinding again, as they have been at various times through the year. Some kind of liquidity crunch seems to be happening during this period, and there are breaks in the supply chain of basic commodities and services.

Being a solar eclipse, this new moon has a particularly wide shock window. It opens up on the 5th (a day in advance of the Moon reaching its greatest declination north of the celestial equator); and extends through the 22nd (a day after the lunar south declination peak). Watch for the usual increase in number and intensity of strong storms with high winds and heavy precipitation – followed in some cases by flooding. Moderate-to-severe earthquakes (M 5+) and notable volcanic eruptions are bound to be in the picture, as well. This all comes, as I mentioned, during Mercury Max; so transportation, communication and power networks are liable to breakdowns and outages at many levels. Some of this will be weather-related, of course. Not the best time to be in transit; have backup strategies in case Plan A falls through, because in many cases it will.

Solar storms will probably figure into this. Watch for a spike in Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) and solar flares in the M and X class, together with geomagnetic activity at registering KP 5 and higher. These will correspond with increasing auroral activity, which is always a sight for sore eyes. Not so pretty are the power and communication outages that can accompany all this turbulence in and around our local star, as vulnerable satellites and power grids border on overload. (Make sure your own system of backups (e.g. computer and power) are up to snuff in advance of the September 5-22 shock window – most especially within a few days either side of the 4th and 17th.

Electrical and electronic networks are not alone in being vulnerable to these solar storms. The human neural net is also apt to get fritzy during the September 5-22 eclipse window. While many people seem immune to these periodic episodes – or think they are – others are all too familiar with the solar storm in their psyche. You know who you are. Get ready, get a grip as best you can! And if you were born under significant planetary placements or other horoscopic factors around 20ï of the mutable signs – Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces – then this eclipse is likely to mark and especially important time in your life; a life-changing day of decision, for example. Check your chart!

As always, this alignment is astronomical in scale, and therefore planet-wide in scope. Anywhere there’s a vulnerability to seismic disturbances is always in the crosshairs at times like this. But the eclipse tide runs not only through Earth’s crust, but ripples its atmosphere as well – which covers us all. So just to be on the safe side, have your emergency preparations up to date throughout this eclipse window. Whether it’s a powerful storm or a moderate-to-severe seismic event (e.g. an M5 and up quake or a volcanic eruption), you want your go bag ready, and a few days’ worth of essential supplies at hand – just in case. Maybe especially if you’ll be in one of the target zones that show up in an astro-locality map for the September 1`3 eclipse. These include longitudinal (north-south) meridian lines through western and central Canada and the US, plus west and east central Mexico (hello, Baja!); along with central Russia, India-Pakistan, central Kazakhstan and western China. Other risk zones identified by the curving horizon arcs include Greenland, Iceland, and the western edges of Europe and Africa in the western hemisphere; plus a strip running from eastern Australia western New Zealand, through the Pacific Ocean across easternmost Siberia in the eastern hemisphere. (I’m not saying these are the only potential risk zones, because I know that other areas will be affected.)

SuperMoon Storm and Seismic Warning Signs

SEP 28, 2015 SuperMoon Full Moon Total Lunar Eclipse Astro-Locality Map Bringing up the rear this month is the September 28 total lunar eclipse full moon at 4°?41’. This one occurs just a couple days before the Sun’s inferior conjunction with Mercury, the anchor point of the current Mercury Max cycle. This points to a heightened risk of a solar storm outburst sometime between September 27 and October 1, which is more or less contiguous to the September 25-October 4 SuperMoon geophysical storm window. This very strongly suggests an unusual outbreak of strong storms and seismic activity (including volcanic eruptions) during this particular SuperMoon stress window.

Being astronomical in scale, a SuperMoon is at least potentially planet-wide in scope. Aside from the obvious targets – the coasts for extreme tidal surges, and known volcanic and seismic risk zones – the atmosphere gets a good SuperMoon stirring that can manifest as powerful storms packing high winds and heavy precipitation just about anywhere.

With this in mind, even though I don’t live anywhere near (nor plan to visit) any tidal basins, volcanoes or seismic hot spots during the September 25-October 4 SuperMoon shock window, I still plan to make sure the bottled water, canned and dried foods and other emergency supplies are ready to hand; just in case. That said, it doesn’t take more than a cursory glance at an astro-locality map for the September 28 SuperMoon to recognize that this one is a complex snare of risk lines. This is due to the fact that so many planets join the Sun and Moon in making important configurations in the sky at this time. There really are too many to mention in detail here – see the map for yourself – but I see Alaska, Hawaii, Vancouver and the US Pacific coast emphasized; along with the Gulf of Mexico and southern Mexico in the crosshairs, as well as Central America and the Pacific coast of South America. Look also at Iceland, the UK and western Europe, Siberia, Mongolia, China and Indochina, Indonesia, Japan, much of Australia . . . this is the most entangled astro-map of the year, for whatever that’s worth.


All mundane astrological charts as well as eclipse and astro-locality maps are set for the Universal Time (UT) of the event, and calculated and produced using Esoteric Technologies’ Solar Fire Gold Version 7.0.8. Unless sotherwise noted, sky map images are screen captures from the Pocket Universe app for iPhone, or produced by Starry Night for Windows; storm tracks are screen captures from The Weather Channel app for iPhone; and earthquake maps are screen captures from the Earthquake Alerts app for iPhone.

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