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©2017 by Richard Nolle
last revised November 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 mundane 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 for the 2018 edition, which is embargoed until December 31 as usual, 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.

"They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself."
-- Andy Warhol

The Skinny

December opens under the sway of the year’s final SuperMoon – and the only full one of 2017. (The other three were all of the Stealth SuperMoon variety.) This, in addition to the Mercury Max cycle that began on November 24 and continues to January 1, sets the stage for a lot of geophysical turbulence: an upwelling in the power and frequency of storms (both here on Earth and in the Sun), plus elevated seismic activity and extreme tides. And that’s just the start, because January features two full SuperMoons – more than in all of 2017.

Earth-Moon-Sun Tides

DEC 3, 2017 Full SuperMoon The December 3 full SuperMoon at 11° 40’ Gemini anchors a geophysical shock window that runs from November 30 through December 6. It’s more consequential than most SuperMoons, because it happens on the very day of Mercury’s retrograde station (one of the five key points in the Mercury Max cycle, something I’ll elaborate on later); and moreover because its orb melds into the Moon’s northward crossing of the celestial equator on November 29, and the northward lunar declination peak on December 5. And then there are the ancillary simultaneous planetary configurations with this SuperMoon, which squares Neptune while Mars opposes Uranus and the Mercury station is right on Saturn. It’s practically a local system constellation!

The upshot is that this shapes up to be the major geocosmic shock window of the month. What to look for in the November 30 to December 6 window: a run of extreme tides and powerful storms with high winds and heavy precipitation (flood warning!); and a raft of notable seismic activity (Magnitude 5 and up quakes), plus notable volcanic eruptions.

Granted, storms and quakes and volcanic eruptions are not uncommon on our dynamic home planet. I’m not talking about the common run of such phenomena here. I’m talking about the kind that make headlines by virtue of their frequency and ferocity.

Being astronomical in scale, there’s no place on Earth that’s beyond the reach of the above described risks. But a glance at the astro-locality map for this SuperMoon alignment does show a certain emphasis. For example, there’s a meridian (north-south) line cutting right through the middle of North America, from Canada down through Mexico. This same line passes through India and China on the other side of the world.

DEC 3, 2017 Full SuperMoon Astro-Locality MapThere are also meridian lines from Siberia down through China, the Philippines, Indonesia and Western Australia on the one hand, and through Eastern Australia, Papua New Guinea and Japan on the other. (These same lines run from Central and Eastern South America up through Greenland in the western hemisphere.) You’ll find a number of other target zones in the astro-locality map for this SuperMoon: see the curving horizon arcs grazing Alaska, the Western US and Iceland, to name a few targets. (Not to mention Eastern Europe and Egypt. Now you know where to look, as well as what to look for.

Lest we forget, while the full SuperMoon is the geocosmic heavyweight of the month, the December 18 new moon at 27° Sagittarius anchors a lesser shock window that extends from the 15th through the 21st. Storm and seismic alert! And then get ready for another and more severe bout of geophysical turbulence associated with the January 2 full SuperMoon shock window, which runs from December 29 through January 5.

Mercury Max Turbulence

The dawning of the year’s final Mercury Max cycle (which actually carries into New Year’s Day) portends an increase in solar storms surging out into the local system this month and next. This started three days before November 24 (the date this Mercury Max began), as the little planet reached its maximum elongation east of the Sun. It extends to January 4, 2018; three days after Mercury reaches maximum elongation west of the Sun on January 1. Batten down the hatches!

The entire Mercury Max cycle (November 24, 2017 – January 1, 2018 in this case) increases the number and intensity of strong solar flares (M and X-class), Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) and subsequent strong geomagnetic storms here on Earth (KP5 and higher). Lots of spectacular auroras! Dumping so many Gigawatts of solar energy into our home planet fires up strong storms in the magnetosphere and atmosphere and sizzles up magma in the crust – magnifying the power and intensity of auroras, storms, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, playing havoc with electrical infrastructure (including power and communication networks, transportation systems, and the human nervous system as well).

There are times when backups and backup plans are a luxury, and times when they’re a necessity. This is a time of necessity. Potent dreams, erratic behavior and emotional extremes are part of the picture too. For December, these Mercury Max effects extend throughout the month. They’re most prominent, however, within plus or minus three days of the remaining critical points in this last Mercury Max of 2017: December 3, 13 and 23, plus January 1. (See the accompanying table.)

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)

You’ve heard of Mercury retrograde: the time when Murphy’s Law reigns supreme in the Universe; when everything that can possibly go wrong does – giving us all an excuse for screwing everything up. As is generally the case, the truth is not so simple.

Mercury's Synodic Cycle Mercury is one of the two "inferior planets" – those that are inside Earth’s orbit around the Sun. (The other, of course, is Venus.) Once in every orbital cycle, Mercury comes around from the far side of the Sun, catches up to Earth, and then passes us; pulling away until it leaves us in the distance as it once again circles around to the far side of the Sun.

That "catch up, pass on the inside and then head back around" part is the essence of the Mercury Max cycle. It’s the time when Mercury makes its close approach to Earth; when the little sun-grazer blazes as big and bright as it gets in our sky. In large part, that’s because during this phase of its cycle, Mercury’s angular separation from the Sun is as great as it gets – which means it’s farther from the solar glare. (For most of its cycle, Mercury is too close to the sun to be seen; at best, it’s only visible near sunrise and sunset.)

I have learned to look on the Max cycles of the planets as akin to a SuperMoon, in that they coincide with perigee – the closest approach to Earth. Bigger, brighter and closer; more prominent in the sky, and in the constellation of human consciousness and experience.

So, if Mercury is associated with thought, communication, planning, travel, commerce and the like, why would people believe that Mercury Max (and the lesser included Mercury retrograde) is a comedy of errors? Mostly, it’s because people aren’t fully conscious as a rule. We’re basically sleepwalkers, who screw up by default, by and large. Normally this passes unnoticed, until Mercury comes into high focus during its Max cycle.

What about the short periods before and after the retrograde, the so-called "Mercury shadow" and "Mercury storm" lore of astrological tradition? Forget about them. They’re artificial, "look it up in a book" (ephemeris) simplifications. You won't find them in any astronomical references, because they don't exist in reality. Mercury Max is based on actual astronomical phenomena, namely the maximum east and west elongation of Mercury from the Sun. It really happens in the sky, and you’ll find it in astronomical software and reference works. Watch the real sky, keep your eyes on the real world, and you’ll see it clearly: what’s going on is Mercury Max, the retrograde and direct passes are mere incidentals, and the shadow and storm stuff is just so much silliness.

Mars Mayhem

Donald Trump Natal Chart A couple of strong Mars configurations will cross our collective path this month. Most notable is the December 1 Mars-Uranus opposition in 25° Libra-Aries, within a few degrees of partile from November 27 into December 5. Bringing up the rear is the January 7 Mars-Jupiter conjunction at 17° 55’ Scorpio, which is accompanied by a triple conjunction of Sun, Venus and Pluto and remains within a few degrees of exact from December 31 into January 13.

Any strong Mars alignment means, in a nutshell, a surfeit of "fires, crashes, clashes and explosions". Haste, anger, recklessness, animosity and worse are par for the course when Mars is strong like his. It extends across the spectrum of human behavior and experience, from the personal to the interpersonal to the collective. (Think one-on-one confrontations, school and workplace attacks; strikes, riots and revolutions – the whole gamut of strife and violence. Not a peaceful time, within or without, above or below. If it’s peace and quiet you crave, then make yourself scarce and watch your step. This is a time for fighters, not for lovers.

There’s been a lot of this lately, ever since the August 21 solar eclipse right on President Trump’s Mars, as described in my August forecast . There’s more of that to come this month, so be careful out there. I figure we’re due for a bit of a breather in terms of this Red Planet Rampage stuff after December . . . until the next Mars Max cycle begins, in March of 2018.

Check Your Chart

There are a number of degrees emphasized in the heavens this month; sensitive points singled out by the major celestial events of November. I’ve mentioned them individually above. You might want to check your own birth chart for these degrees, and pay special attention if they are important in the sky map at your birth. In particular, look for 12° in the mutable signs (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces), and 25° in the cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn). Donald Trump, born with a Venus-Saturn conjunction at 25° Cancer, falls in the latter category. Not much love there . . .


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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