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©2015 by Richard Nolle
last revised DEC 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 2016 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 2016 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. Orders may also be placed direct from your own PayPal account page to rnolle@astropro.com – or by using the AstroPro PayPal order page.

"This is a new year. A new beginning. And things will change."
-- Taylor Swift

Mercury's Synodic Cycle The first Mercury Max of 2016 sets the tone for the whole month of January. It actually began on December 29, when Mercury as “evening star” reached its greatest elongation east of the Sun (setting as late as it gets after sunset). But it continues throughout January, finally coming to a close on February 7, when "morning star" Mercury achieves maximum elongation west of the Sun (rises as far ahead of sunrise as it gets). In between comes Mercury’s infamous retrograde; January 5-25, in this case. Be ready: Mercury looms large all month long.

Don’t make too much of this, since Mercury goes Max several times every year. It’s the time when the faster-moving inner planet Mercury catches up on Planet Earth, and then passes us on the inside track. Earth and Mercury are then as close as they get; Mercury is in perigee (close approach) to Earth. These are the times when Mercury shines as big and bright as it gets during this cycle, and all things Mercurial likewise become more crucial to human experience. (For more on Mercury Max, see my free online article on the subject.)

Mercury Max is the single most important celestial factor this month, but it’s not the only one of any consequence. Uranus and Pluto remain within just over a degree from their exact square all month, a sign of continued breakthroughs in science and technology, as well as social unrest and ideological conflict; the struggle between the haves and have-nots reaching another of those peaks it’s been hitting on and off since this aspect began in 2011. By now, we all know the drill: demonstrations, riots, revolutions and wars. The world has survived this trauma for five years now, so this won’t kill us. Well, not all of us. Think of the Arab Spring and Occupy uprisings as emblematic of this alignment: the masses protesting and rebelling against the social/political power structure; always passionately, sometimes violently. (Often especially violently, when significant Mars alignments occur in the heavens.) We’re not through it yet, in fact it continues into early 2016 – at a time when the first Mars Max in a couple years comes along and sounds the "fires, crashes, clashes and explosions" alarm. It starts on February 4.

And then there are the new and full moon geophysical shock windows January 7-13 and 21-27. These aren’t eclipse or SuperMoon class, but they are amplified by the solar storm factor associated with Mercury Max. So we’re going to see a more than usually active storm and seismic cycle on and off throughout January: a cluster of powerful storms with high winds and heavy precipitation, and a rash of notable seismic activity (including Magnitude 5 and up quakes, plus newsworthy volcanic eruptions). And in view of the Mercury Max factor, we can expect that this month’s strong storms and seismic action will disrupt normal infuastructure function. Think power and network outages, flights delayed and cancelled, etc.

By storms, incidentally, I mean not only the ones that rip through Earth’s atmosphere; but also those in and emanating from the Sun: an on and off barrage of M and X-class solar flares and Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) and attendant Kp 5 and higher geomagnetic storms here on Earth.

The Mercury Max Factor

DEC 29, 2015 Mercury Maximum Elongation East (Mercury Max Begins) Any Mercury Max cycle coincides with increased solar storminess, particularly within a few days either way of the key points within the cycle: the start (in this case, Mercury’s December 29 maximum elongation east of the Sun, the retrograde station (January 5 2016, in this case), the inferior solar conjunction (January 14), the direct station (January 25) and the end point of the cycle (Mercury’s maximum elongation west of the Sun, February 7 this time around).

These periods are not items of interest to astrophysicists only. Inject Gigawatts of surplus solar radiation into Earth’s atmosphere and magnetosphere, and you get a real power surge – manifesting as extra storminess in the atmosphere, in the crust (seismic stirrings including M5+ earthquakes and volcanic eruptions) and in the magnetosphere (Kp 5 and higher geomagnetic storms, plus showy auroral displays). Watch the news, you’ll see what I mean.

Also be aware that electrical systems of all kinds are apt to go fritzy under these two solar surges. This means that electrical grids, electrical and electronic devices and networks, satellite systems and the like are all extra vulnerable to disruptions – as is the human nervous system, a particularly sophisticated and sensitive electrical complex. Have your backups and backup plans current, just in case.

Alerts aside, there are some golden moments in January, such as the Moon-Venus-Saturn conjunction on the 7th (nice romantic and party potential, proposals of marriage abound, although financial markets are vulnerable to swoons), and the Moon-Jupiter conjunction on the 28th (big plans inspire, even if they’re short on details).


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. Charts are set for the location of the Great Pyramid - a purely arbitrary choice, since location is irrelevant to these charts. 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 ör QuakeWatch app for iPhone.

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Richard Nolle, Certified Professional Astrologer
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