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©2017 by Richard Nolle
last revised March 30, 2017

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 monthís forecast incorporates elements of (and refers to) my complete 2017 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 2017 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 or debit card. Orders may also be placed direct from your own PayPal account page to rnolle@astropro.com Ė or by using the AstroPro PayPal order page.

"The only thing wrong with immortality is that it tends to go on forever."
-- Herb Caen

The Skinny

A couple of major planet stations (Saturn and Pluto retrogrades), the first SuperMoon of the year, the remnants of last monthís Jupiter-Pluto square, the second Mercury Max cycle of the year, and a key turning point in the Venus Max cycle Ė April is indeed a big and busy month. Letís get started.

Mercury Max: the Joker is Wild

Among the many appellations of Mercury/Hermes in Greco-Roman mythology was the Fool, the Trickster: April Fool's Day indeed. Itís an especially appropriate archetype this month, as Mercury begins its Max cycle on April 1. Thatís when the little planet as evening reaches its greatest elongation east of the Sun. This begins a cycle that comprises Mercuryís retrograde and direct stations (April 9 and May 3 respectively) and its inferior (near side) conjunction with the Sun (April 20), and concludes when Mercury as morning star reaches its maximum elongation west of the Sun on May 17.

See the table below for a summary of all 2017 Mercury Max cycles. If you got your copy of the full version of my 2017 World Forecast Highlights, you already have this. (However the table as it appears here corrects a reversal of the morning and evening star text below the table as shown there.)

Max-E S-Rx Cnj. SUN S-D Max-W
DEC 11, 2016 DEC 19, 2016 DEC 28, 2016 JAN 8, 2017 JAN 19, 2017
APR 1, 2017 APR 9, 2017 APR 20, 2017 MAY 3, 2017 MAY 17, 2017
JUL 30, 2017 AUG 13, 2017 AUG 26, 2017 SEP 5, 2017 SEP 12, 2017
NOV 24, 2017 DEC 3, 2017 DEC 13, 2017 DEC 23, 2017 JAN 1, 2018

Max-E = Mercury (Evening Star) Max. Elongation East of Sun (Max begins)
S-Rx = Retrograde Station (Retrograde GBegins)
Cnj. SU = Inferior Conjunction with Sun
S-D = Direct Station (Retrograde Ends)
Max-W = Mercury (Morning Star) Max. Elongation West of Sun (Max ends)

Mercury is especially prominent in the sky and in human experience during its Max phase. Thatís because this is when Mercury makes its close approach to Earth Ė closest at the moment of its inferior conjunction with the Sun, in fact. This happens while Mercury is retrograde, giving the lie to the silliness about Mercury being somehow debilitated while retrograde. Debilitated? When itís as big and bright in the sky as it ever gets? Think about it.

Mercury's Synodic Cycle As Mercury Max is a special phase in the Sun-Earth-Mercury relationship, when the faster inner planet Mercury comes up from behind Earth, catches up with us, and then passes us by on its way back around to the other side of the Sun. This phase includes the infamous Mercury retrograde of astrological legend Ė and the Mercury "shadow" and "storm" silliness as well.

The shadow and storm notions are an antiquated and artificial way of looking at Mercuryís celestial cycle. You wonít find them in any astronomical references, because they have no astronomical reality whatsoever. Mercuryís maximum elongations east and west of the Sun, on the other hand, will be found in any astronomical reference, software, almanac or what have you. If you want the real deal, thatís it.

This perspective replaces the stilted, removed-from-reality practice "shadow" and "storm" method of looking not at the sky, but at an ephemeris: first to see when Mercury comes to the degree at which it will later make 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 ď"storm" nomenclature, referring to the overlap at both ends of the retrograde as the "shadow"Ē period. It makes no difference: either way, itís just plain nonsense.)

For example, the first all-2017 Mercury Max cycle Ė not counting the one that bridged from December 2016 into January 2017 - begins with the little planetís maximum eastern elongation from the Sun on April 1, 2017, includes the April 9-May 3 retrograde period and the April 20 inferior conjunction with the Sun, and wraps up with the western elongation extreme on May 17. The corresponding shadow period would begin on March 27, the day Mercury reaches the degree (24° 15í Aries) at which it goes direct on May 3; and ends (or the storm period ends, depending on which irrelevant nomenclature you prefer) on April 21, the day Mercury returns to the degree at which it went retrograde on April 9 (4° 50í Taurus).

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 a reference book (ephemeris); the other is a reality that can be seen in the sky. The corresponding organically derived dates in this case are April 1 (greatest eastern elongation) and May 17, 2017 (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.

For several years now, Iíve been describing the reality of Mercury Max (a genuine astronomically defined cycle) versus the Mercury retrograde lore of unthinking astrological tradition. Youíre welcome to catch up by reading my free online article on the subject.

For now, suffice it to say that interference in the flow of radiation from the Sun due to Mercuryís passage between Earth and Sun is the real deal Ė the reason why all things Mercurial tend to get scrambled during this period. Practically speaking, be prepared for plans and schedules to warp and wobble, for messages to get lost in transmission or translation, for Murphyís Law to break out all over. Keep your mind on task and your eye on the ball, and youíll eat everybody elseís lunch!

Remember that all this solar and geomagnetic turbulence is more than scrambled satellites, radio interference, infrastructure overload, computer and network breakdowns etc. The human nervous system is also apt to go on the fritz as well. Forget the Faraday cages, tinfoil helmets and such: some mindful meditation is your best defense! (High auroral activity is a sign in the sky that circuits are scrambling.) And don't forget that these disturbances tend to peak from three days before to three days after the five key points in each Mercury Max cycle - the dates indicated in the table above. This time around, those dates are April 1, 9 and 20; plus May 3 and 17. The cycle as a whole is one of elevated disturbances, but these five key periods in particular bear close watching.

The Lingering Jupiter-Pluto Square

Although exact on March 30, Jupiter's square to Pluto has been in effect (within a few degrees of exact) from March 22, and remains so through April 7. I see this alignment as suggesting a heavy handed crackdown on civil liberties and other basic human rights. Where? Itís an interplanetary configuration by definition, so that means itís planet-wide in potential. This is also a sign of turbulence in equity, financial and commodity markets. Not a crash by any means, mostly just some profit taking and some judiciously timed shorts. All in all, this looks like a power play, where the rich and powerful throw their weight around to get richer and more powerful.

Venus Max Direct Station

Venus Max, like Mercury Max, times a close approach to Earth; a time when Venus appears bigger and brighter than usual in the sky and in human experience. For an overview of what this cycle is and what it means, see my January forecast, and/or my free online article on Venus Max. For now, suffice it to say that this close approach of Venus (in effect since January 12) represents a time of relative ease and prosperity Ė all else being equal, which it rarely is.

We have seen a general economic uptrend so far during this period; although, as usual, the benefits are not evenly distributed. I expect the over-all trend to continue through the end of the current Venus Max cycle, which occurs on June 3. Donít expect a crash and burn on that day in particular; rather a gradual decline in upward momentum.

This monthís Venus direct station (on the 15th) speaks to a temporary economic disturbance that increases consumer and investor uncertain for a short time, roughly between the 12th and 18th. A good time for the pursuit of pleasure, for hedonistic escapes and adventures, for dancing and romancing.

Stealth SuperMoon Storm Signals

SuperMoon is a term I created and defined in a 1979 article for Dell Publishing Company's Horoscope, the worldís leading astrology magazine, describing a new or full moon (syzygy) which occurs with the Moon at or near (90th percentile) its closest approach to Earth (perigee) in a given orbit. In short, Earth, Moon and Sun are all in a line, with Moon in its nearest approach to Earth. (My most recent print article on this subject appeared in the October-November 2007 issue of The Mountain Astrologer.) Over the last several years, astronomers and science writers have adopted my terminology. Iím told this is the first instance since Johannes Kepler in the 17th Century of astronomers adopting a concept that originated with an astrologer.

APR 26, 2017 Stealth (New) SuperMoon At the very most basic geophysical level, a SuperMoon is a type of extreme lunar alignment that is associated with extreme tides in the atmosphere, seas and crust of our home planet. These extremes manifest as increases in the frequency and magnitude of strong storms with high winds and heavy precipitation Ė and all that entails, including flooding, property and infrastructure damage and worse. Also in the SuperMoon arcanum comes an uptick in notable seismic activity, including moderate to severe (Magnitude 5 and up) earthquakes and significant volcanic eruptions. Extreme tidal surges are the third leg of the SuperMoon geophysical tripod Ė sometimes these are tsunami, but more often theyíre just normal tides that happen to be much higher than usual.

Bear in mind that the typical SuperMoon stress window is plus or minus three days of the exact date of alignment. Sometimes the shock window is extended by other solar and lunar factors, including lunar declination extremes at or near the open and close of the SuperMoon window. Solar eclipses Ė eclipses are the third major type of lunar extreme Ė can extend the shock window even more drastically, to a week either side of the exact alignment in the case of a solar eclipse SuperMoon.

Everyone is familiar with the full moon SuperMoon. In fact, I suspect that most people think that only a full moon can be a SuperMoon. Itís the one that the media pay attention to, for one very obvious reason: it photographs so well. But thereís another kind of SuperMoon, one you canít see. Thatís because itís a new moon, or what I call a Stealth SuperMoon. (All new moons are invisible when theyíre in exact alignment.) Both types of SuperMoon are equally important in terms of their connection with raising extreme tides in the skies, seas and crust of our home planet Ė and in our very own psyches. The media will continue to ignore the Stealth SuperMoon, Iím sure. But it has been integral to the whole SuperMoon concept from day one. I know. I was there.

Bear in mind that Earth is a dynamic planet. Strong earthquakes and volcanic eruptions donít need a SuperMoon trigger Ė they happen with or without a SuperMoon. But they happen with notable frequency and intensity when there is a SuperMoon, as Iíve been saying for nearly 40 years now. For example, during the geocosmic shock window predicted in my free online November 2016 forecast, there were a total of 108 M5+ quakes; an average of over 10 M5+ events per dayĖ more than twice the daily average for all the previous year. (The total number of M5+ quakes for 2015 came to 1,556, an average of 4.26 per day.)

FEB 11, 2017 Lunar Eclipse (Penumbral)The first SuperMoon of 2017 is the April 26 new moon - the first of three consecutive new SuperMoons, in fact. A new moon, even if itís a SuperMoon, is invisible to the naked eye. The Moon and Sun are in the same spot in the sky when the moon is new, which means that the Moon gets lost in the Sunís glare when itís above the horizon; and it goes down below the horizon at sunset. We canít see it, but itís still there Ė and, because itís a SuperMoon, this invisible Moon is much closer to Earth than usual. It has the same pronounced tidal pull on the crust, seas and sky of our home planet as all SuperMoons. We just canít see it. Hence, a Stealth SuperMoon. (As the fox told the Little Prince, "what is essential is invisible to the eye.")

Regulars already know what to expect of any SuperMoon; namely a surge in extreme tides and storms and notable seismic events (M5+ earthquakes and sizable volcanic eruptions). For the first Stealth SuperMoon of 2017 (the new moon on April 26), these phenomena will come on strong from April 23 to May 1. (This particular shock window gets extended a couple days due to the Moon reaching peak declination north of the celestial equator on April 30.) See the April 26 SuperMoon astro-locality map for hints as to areas of special risk during this period: alng a meridian line from Kamchatka down to New Zealand; and from the UK down through Spain and West Africa; and along a horizon arc curving through the North American Great Plains, Texas and Mexico, emerging on the other side of the world through Russia, China and Mongolia. These won't be the only areas affected by this planet-wide phenomenon, but they're apt to figure prominently.

Parting Shots

Last but not least, be aware of the increased potential for storms and seismic disturbances (M5+ earthquakes and news-making volcanic eruptions) in the days surrounding the April 6 full moon. These wonít be SuperMoon-class, but they can still be newsworthy. April 3-9 comprises the red zone for this geocosmic shock window. Have your storm kit and emergency checklist current, just to be on the safe side!


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 Technologiesí 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 or Star Rover apps 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 QuakeFeed Ųr Quake Alerts app for iPhone.

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