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©2017 by Richard Nolle
last revised April 25, 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 month’s 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 – or by using the AstroPro PayPal order page.

"Time goes, you say? Ah, no! Alas, time stays, we go."
-- Henry Austin Dobson

The Skinny

The second in this year’s trio of consecutive Stealth SuperMoons, the tail end of the year’s second Mercury Max cycle, the last full month of the 2017 Venus Max cycle, and an ominous alignment of the Red and the Ringed Planets – that just scratches the surface of what unfolds between heaven and earth this month. Let’s dig in . . .

Mercury Max: the Joker is Still Wild

Among the many appellations of Mercury/Hermes in Greco-Roman mythology is the Fool, the Trickster. Having the current Mercury Max Cycle begin on April Fool's Day this year was symbolically appropriate. Mercury Max is that phase of the Earth-Mercury-Sun relationship when Mercury, on its faster inner orbit, catches up with Earth from behind, and passes between us and the Sun. It’s Mercury’s perigee (close approach to Earth), the time when the little sun-grazer is bigger and brighter than usual in our skies. (This is analogous to another of my creations, SuperMoon: a time of maximum prominence.) Traditionally, it’s also a time when Murphy’s Law reigns supreme; when everything that can go wrong will. What do you expect, when the Trickster zeroes in on our home planet? On the other hand, seeing this coming, those who prepare and sharpen their focus can eat everybody else’s lunch. Be like them.

As Mercury passes between Earth and Sun, it disrupts and disturbs the Sun’s nominal energy flow, stirring up solar storms, resulting in geomagnetic storms here on Earth. You’ll see this in the form of increased solar X-Ray storms (M and X class), coronal holes and Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs). These are followed by increased and more intense levels of geomagnetic storms (Kp 5 and higher), accompanied by unusual auroral activity. Dumping all these extra Gigawatts of solar energy into the terrestrial system also cooks up storms in the atmosphere and simmers magma in the planet’s crust. Accordingly, look for pulses of extra storm, seismic and volcanic activity. – especially within three days either side of the five critical points in the cycle – like May 3 and 17, for example.

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 originally published.)

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)

We’re in the second part of the current Mercury Max now, the wrap-up (morning star) phase, which lasts until May 17. That’s one of the two key dates in May’s Mercury Max – the day Mercury as morning star reaches its maximum elongation east of the Sun. The other is May 3, the day Mercury’s retrograde comes to an end. Watch those two dates, the 3rd and 17th. Give or take three days either way, those are the times this month when the most notable manifestations of Mercury Max will impinge most directly on human experience.

Mercury Max includes the infamous Mercury retrograde of astrological legend – and Mercury’s so-called "shadow" and "storm"” silliness as well. The shadow and storm notions are an antiquated and artificial way of looking at Mercury’s celestial cycle. You won’t find them in any astronomical references, because they have no astronomical reality whatsoever. Mercury’s 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. That’s because you can go outside, look up in the sky, and see for yourself when Mercury is as far as it gets from the Sun – it’s maximum elongation. If you want the real deal, that’s 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 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.)

Mercury's Synodic Cycle For example, the first all-2017 Mercury Max cycle – not counting the one that bridged from December 2016 into January 2017 - began with the little planet’s 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° 15’ 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° 50’ 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. 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 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 over a dozen years now, I’ve been describing the reality of Mercury Max (a genuine astronomically defined cycle) versus the Mercury retrograde lore of unthinking astrological tradition. You’re 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 Mercury’s passage between Earth and Sun is the real deal – 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 Murphy’s Law to break out all over. Keep your mind on task and your eye on the ball, and you’ll eat everybody else’s lunch!

Remember that all this solar and geomagnetic turbulence is more than auroral displays, strong storms and seismic disturbances, miscommunications, broken appointments, mass transit snarls, power outages, scrambled satellites, radio interference, infrastructure overload, computer and network breakdowns etc. (Remember the New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco power blackouts around the April 20 Sun-Mercury conjunction?) 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. The cycle as a whole is one of elevated disturbances, but these five key periods in particular bear close watching. I can envision the cognoscenti breathing a sigh of release after the 17th, as Mercury’s Max phase passes into memory – until the next time.

The Waning Venus Max

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 the full version of my 2017 World Forecast Highlights, my January forecast, and/or my free online article on Venus Max. (See below for a table showing this year’s Venus Max dates at a glance.)

Max-E S-Rx Cnj. SUN S-D Max-W
JAN 12 MAR 4 MAR 25 APR 15 JUN 3

Max-E = Venus (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 = Venus (Morning Star) Max. Elongation West of Sun (Max ends)

Note that, like Mercury Max, Venus Max includes the retrograde cycle of its namesake planet. And once again, astrological lore tends to look with suspicion on the retrograde, as if it signifies a lesser Venus. Quite the opposite: Venus is as its closest, brightest and most spectacular in the sky during its Max phase. Believe what you see, not the silly lore you read and hear.

2017 SP 500 JAN-MAY 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 – all else being equal, which it rarely is. We have seen a general economic up-trend so far during this period; although, as usual, the benefits are not evenly distributed. Consider, for example, a chart for the broadly based Standard and Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) index for 2017 to date: ups and downs yes, but an unmistakable up-trend since Venus Max began on January 12. I expect the over-all trend to continue through the end of the current Venus Max cycle, which occurs on June 3.

Don’t expect a crash and burn on that day in particular; rather a gradual decline in upward momentum approaching that date, and then declining in its wake toward a more pronounced drop-off later on. All else being equal, cashing out during the last days of Venus Max and then buying back in after the fall-off should be a decent strategy. (The late May Stealth SuperMoon and Mars-Saturn opposition look suspiciously like signals of a greater or lesser panic due to geopolitical turmoil.)

Money is nice, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg where Venus is concerned. Love, passion, sex, beauty, seduction, pleasure, dance, art, music – all the finer things in life are part and parcel of Venus. They’re all emphasized during the current Venus Max – and most especially after the 17th, when Mercury Max coming to an end tends to smooth out a lot of interference. It’s a time to let nothing wonderful go undone, lest you regret it later! Most especially around May 22, when Venus aligns with the Moon.)

Stealth SuperMoon Part Deux

Everyone is familiar with the full moon SuperMoon, thanks to worldwide media exposure over the last five years or more. In fact, I suspect that most people think that only a full moon can be a SuperMoon. It’s the one that the media pay attention to, for one very obvious reason: it photographs so well. But there’s another kind of SuperMoon, one you can’t see. That’s because it’s a new moon, or what I call a Stealth SuperMoon. (All new moons are invisible when they’re 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 – and in our very own psyches. The media will continue to ignore the Stealth SuperMoon, I’m sure. But it has been integral to the whole SuperMoon concept from day one. I know. I was there.

MAY 25, 2017 Stealth (New) SuperMoonSuperMoon is a term I created and defined in a 1979 article for Dell Publishing Company's Horoscope, the world’s 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. I’m told this is the first instance since Johannes Kepler in the 17th Century of astronomers adopting a concept that originated with an astrologer.

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 – 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 – sometimes these are tsunami, but more often they’re just normal tides that happen to be much higher than usual.

These geophysical manifestations of SuperMoon are only the larger, grosser expression of this alignment; the macrocosmic end of the spectrum, so to speak. The other, microcosmic end is much subtler, in the grand scheme of things. It’s an intensification of human psychological and emotional extremes. Although these sometimes make headlines in their own right, as when someone becomes unhinged and commits atrocities of one kind or another, usually we see the personal side of SuperMoon on a much more private level. We feel it in ourselves – some of us more than others – and we see it in the people around us. There’s an intensification of emotionality, for better or worse.

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.

Some pseudo skeptics have scoffed at SuperMoon, without bothering to learn anything about it. That’s what makes them pseudo skeptics. A real skeptic first gets informed before attempting to critique an idea. Pseudo skeptics really don’t care about the truth at all. They start from the premise that an idea is wrong, and then come up with any number of straw man attacks to support their initial, uninformed ignorance. For example, Rush Limbaugh waxed apoplectic on the subject of the March 19, 2011 full SuperMoon, claiming on air that "Richard Nolle is out there warning everybody now that it could be disastrous out there." Actually, my forecast for that SuperMoon didn’t promise disaster at all – only an increase in the number of powerful storms, tidal surges and moderate-to-severe seismic activity within plus or minus three days of the alignment, which is what I’ve been saying since 1979.

MAY 25, 2017 Stealth SuperMoon Bear in mind that Earth is a dynamic planet. Strong earthquakes and volcanic eruptions don’t need a SuperMoon trigger – they happen with or without a SuperMoon. But they happen with notable frequency and intensity when there is a SuperMoon, as I’ve 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 day– more than double 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.)

The first (April 26) Stealth SuperMoon of 2017 has already come and gone, leaving a multitude of M5+ earthquakes, strong storms and volcanic eruptions in its wake. May 25 brings the next one, which is in effect May 20-28 (kicking in a little early due to the Moon’s May 21 northward crossing of the celestial equator. Because of the number of significant planetary alignments that accompany this SuperMoon, it’s all over the astro-locality map like a Jackson Pollack painting. Accordingly, I expect that it will accompany some of the strongest storms and seismic events of the year. The US West and Midwest are emphasized by important meridian lines, which extend north and south into Canada and Mexico respectively.

While none of this year’s SuperMoons is intrinsically comparable to any of last years, in terms of geophysical magnitude, there is something unusual about the May 25 alignment; namely, that it falls within days of the Mars-Saturn opposition on the 29th, and not too far off the mark from the end dof Venus Max on June 3 (at which time Venus will be aligned with Uranus) This is a confluence of celestial factors that brings to mind not only greater than usual tidal, storm and seismic disturbances; but notable turbulence at the geopolitical and financial levels as well. This is some kind of costly, I’m thinking.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not at all saying that "mellow as the month of May" is appropriate for this month, apart from the Stealth SuperMoon. The Mercury Max factors around the 3rd and 17th.plus the full moon on the 9th, are also signs of geophysical turbulence affecting Earth’s crust, seas and skies. But these will surely pale in significance compared to this year’s second Stealth SuperMoon. Be ready, just in case! (If you were born with significant placements around 4° of the mutable signs - Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces - you might want to pay special attention to this SuperMoon at 4°46' Gemini. Check your chart!)


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 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 ör Quake Alerts app for iPhone.

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