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©2018 by Richard Nolle
last revised July 28, 2018

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 2018 World Forecast Highlights (41 8-1/2 x 11" illustrated pages); focused, amplified and elaborated with details for the month as appropriate. The full version of my 2018 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 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.

"Don't lose today by worrying about tomorrow!!!"
-- John F. Herbert

The Skinny

This month, for the first time in years, all three inner planetary Max cycles are in in effect at once: the first Mars Max since 2016, the first Venus Max since 2017, and the second Mercury Max of 2018 (the third, if you count the tail end of the November 24, 2017-January 1, 2018 Mercury Max). This amounts to a great deal of turbulence in the inner solar system. Add to that the last eclipse of the year (the August 11 Stealth SuperMoon partial solar eclipse), and it’s a substantial tally.

The August 11 Stealth SuperMoon/Partial Solar Eclipse Shock Window

The final two Stealth SuperMoons of the year are both solar eclipses. The first of these was the partial solar eclipse at 20° 41’ Cancer on July 13. August brings the second, on the 11th at 18° 41’ Leo - conjunct Mercury Max and in square aspect (90° arc) to Jupiter. At the same time, Mars Max is in square aspect to Uranus. Add them all up, and you get a turbulent geocosmic brew.

AUG 11, 2018 Stealth SuperMoon Solar Eclipse (Partial) SuperMoons and eclipses have a long history of coinciding with powerful tides rippling through Earth’s atmosphere, oceans and crust. For solar eclipses, the window of vulnerability for such phenomena runs from seven days before to seven days after the exact event. (For more on this – including the seismic historicity of solar eclipses - see pp. 32-38 in the full version of my 2018 World Forecast Highlights.) This time around, that points to August 4-18 as the temporal target zone. I’ll venture that the riskiest looking days within this span will focus around August 6-9, 11 and 18.

Expect the typical SuperMoon fare during this interval. These will include extremely high tides. Damaging storms with high winds and heavy precipitation will be accompanied by floods of near-historic stature. Infrastructure damage and disruption to transportation and communication will be widespread. If you must travel during this period, have alternatives lined up well in advance.

There’s also a seismic component to the SuperMoon eclipse signature: a surge in moderate to severe earthquakes (M5 and up; attended by tsunamis in vulnerable coastal areas. Notable volcanic eruptions cluster in the SuperMoon window as well. Watch the headlines, and you’ll see ample evidence.

For most of us, all the above described phenomena will be experienced vicariously, via the news media. But if you live in an area of particular vulnerability – along the coastline, in areas of seismic risk, near an active volcano – then the experience could become a more direct concern. And since we all share the same sky, storms can reach us one and all. They won’t – not one and all – but they could. With these things in mind, keeping an emergency kit well stocked and a go bag ready to hand wouldn’t do any harm.

AUG 11, 2018  Stealth SuperMoon Partial Solar Eclipse Astro-Locality Map There are some potential swaths of special vulnerability indicated by the zones of visibility for the August 11 eclipse. These include Northern Europe and Northeast Asia.

In addition, astro-locality mapping picks out a meridian line running through Alaska down to just east of Hawaii; and another crossing China, Indonesia and Western Australia, a and a third from eastern Canada through west central South America. There’s also a Saturn meridian from Iceland down through the west coast of Africa; and yet another from Eastern Europe down through east central Africa. And a whole host of curving horizon arcs including a Saturn line that neatly traces the Eastern Pacific edge of the Ring of Fire.

In a similar vein, there’s another lesser but still significant geophysical risk window coming up at the end of the month, in association with the full moon at 3d 12’ Pisces on the 26th. This one is in effect from the 23rd through the 29th. I don’t expect this to be as dramatic as the SuperMoon eclipse period, but it won’t be pacific either. Have your bottled water, candles, batteries and dry goods handy just in case.

A parting shot on these natural disaster cautions: Mars and Mercury Max are both in effect throughout August. I expect these are factors which amplify the danger potential associated with storm and seismic risk this month. Be EXTRA watchful!

Mars Max Goes Direct

As I’ve said for many years now, the biennial Mars Max cycle inevitably signals a peak in tension and conflict on the human level – both individually and collectively. Whether it’s interpersonal or international, this is never a peaceful time. It’s a phenomenon that consistently shows up in the heavens when the tide of human violence surges to extraordinary levels. It loomed large and bright in the sky at the Valentine’s Day Massacre, the start of World War II, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the start of the Korean War, the Suez Crisis, the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, the Gulf War, 911, etc.

Warfare is integral to the astrology of Mars, which is why Roman mythology dubbed Mars the god of war. But war is only one end of the Mars spectrum of violence, which ranges all the way from the individual to the collective, from interpersonal squabbles to mass murder to terrorism to all-out warfare. Consider Columbine a case in point: the archetypal 1999 high school massacre took place within days of the April 24 peak of the 1999 Mars Max.

I describe Mars Max in detail on pages 2-12 in the full version of my 2018 World Forecast Highlights, to which I refer the uninitiated. For now, suffice it to say that it’s a term I have given to the phase in the Earth-Mars-Sun relationship when Earth catches up to and then passes Mars in its orbit. The 2018 cycle began on March 24, and concludes on December 3. The peak came on July 27, when the Sun opposed Mars. That’s the point when Mars appears biggest and brightest in our sky – and in human experience.

MAR 24 JUN 26 JUL 27 AUG 27 DEC 3

SUN-090-MARS = Sun-Mars Waxing Square (Max begins)
MARS S-Rx = Retrograde Station (Retrograde Begins)
SUN-180- MARS = Sun-Mars Opposition (Mars Perigee)
MARS S-D = Direct Station (Retrograde Ends)
SUN 270 MARS = Sun-Mars Waning Square (Max ends)

Remember Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange? It was all about ultraviolence – which is also what Mars Max is all about. (Ionically, Burgess’ novel was published in `1962, under a Mars Max.) I’m not saying that all hell breaks loose during a Mars Max. We have survived plenty of them in years past, obviously. The fact that wars, terror attacks and mass murders show up during the Red Planet’s close approach to Earth doesn’t mean that they’ll break out again this year. But they already have, and we’re still within just a few degrees of the peak in the cycle for much of August. The upshot is that we’re far from having passed the time of greatest peril.

The Mars factor is especially amplified by the fact that President Trump’s birth chart features Mars on the ascendant – with the Mars horizon line in his chart arcing from Washington DC to Pyongyang North Korea (as well as through China, Venezuela and Colombia). Given his bellicosity and animosity toward anyone he perceives as an enemy or obstacle, Mars Max is a time of high tension for the US and the world.

Moreover, anyone paying attention to the markets has seen ample evidence of panic whenever there’s a Trump tantrum, whether it’s threatening nuclear war or a trade war. So be on the alert for volatility, and prepared to profit from it: these panics will be followed by recoveries through the end of the year, judging from the Venus Max cycle that begins on the 17th this month. (More on that to follow.)

"Fires, crashes, clashes and explosions": that’s the Mars Max mantra in brief. We’ve already seen plenty of these in the months since the current cycle began. There’s more of the same to come this month, especially around the 27th, when Mars comes to its direct station – one of the five critical points in the cycle as a whole. Do all you can to steer clear of trouble this month – particularly around the 27th – because there’s bound to be more of it than usual. Think safety and security, cultivate peace and harmony – but don’t take a knife to a gunfight.

Mercury Max All Month

The third Mercury Max cycle of 2018 - the second, if you exclude the tail end of the one that began in November 2017 – got underway last month on the 12th, when the little planet reached its maximum elongation east of the Sun. It concludes on this month on the 28th, when Mercury reaches maximum elongation west of the Sun. In between comes the infamous Mercury retrograde of astrological legend – a kind of Murphy’s Law creep show when everything that can go wrong will, according to the popular press. Not exactly.

The truth is that Mercury and Earth are in their close approach (perigee) phase during this cycle, when Mercury on its faster, inner orbit catches up to Earth and then passes us. Like Mars Max – and SuperMoon, for that matter – Mercury’s perigee pass means that it appears bigger and brighter in the sky at this time. So far from being weakened, Mercury is actually more prominent during its Max phase. If all of this is new to you, the astrology you’re familiar with is obsolete by at least a few centuries.

Mercury has from time immemorial signified the light in our eyes: intelligence, cleverness, guile and wit. If a more prominent Mercury wrecks all your plans and projects during the retrograde portion of Mercury Max – when the little planet is at its brightest – it’s only because you’re not paying attention or doing your due diligence; or because someone who does have their eye on the ball is eating your lunch. The solution? Stay extra sharp and focused during Mercury Max, and have a Plan B mapped out in advance!

There is a disruptive element associated with Mercury Max – but it applies equally to all; which means that clever awareness and forethought can surmount or at least mitigate it. The disruption stems from solar disturbances that arise from Mercury’s interaction with the Sun’s energy field. This manifests as solar storms including X-Ray bursts (M and X class), coronal holes and Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) – all of which combine to dump Gigawatts of extra energy into Earth’s magnetosphere, atmosphere, crust and mantle.

You’ll know this is happening when you see upticks in auroral displays and geomagnetic storms (Kp 5 and up). You’ll see it in increased atmospheric turbulence and seismic activity. Who cares? Everyone who depends on electrical systems and networks, from satellite and communication systems to energy grids to travel and commercial infrastructure. Have your backups, fallback positions and backup plans ready.

And don’t forget that the human nervous system is a bioelectrical network – which is also subject to solar blasts and geomagnetic storms. Lots of people don’t even notice such things, but many others do. If you’re one of the sensitives, you most likely already know it. In shich case, do whatever helps during Mercury Max. I’m not saying you should hide out in a Faraday cage – but living in a stucco house wouldn’t hurt.

While all of the above applies to the Mercury Max cycle as a whole, there are five points within it that stand out as posing greater than average risk. These are the beginning and end of the cycle (the maximum eastern and western solar elongations), the stations (retrograde and direct), and the inferior (nearside) conjunction with the Sun. See the accompanying table for the dates this time around, and bear in mind that the zone of peak sensitivity extends three days either side of these dates . . . like the 28th of this month.

Max-E S-Rx Cnj. SUN S-D Max-W
MAR 15, 2018 MAR 23, 2018 APR 1, 2018 APR 15, 2018 APR 29, 2018
JUL 12, 2018 JUL 26, 2018 AUG 9, 2018 AUG 19, 2018 AUG 28, 2018
NOV 6, 2018 NOV 17, 2018 NOV 27, 2018 DEC 6, 2018 DEC 15, 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)

A quick word in passing about the so-called “shadow” and “storm” periods extending before and after Mercury’s retrograde and direct stations: y6u can forget these. They’re artificial distinctions derived from looking at an ephemeris, instead of at the sky. The maximum east and west solar elongations of Mercury are astronomical realities, not astrological dogma. You’ll find the solar elongations in astronomical software and references because they’re real sky events. You won’t find the “shadow” and “storm” nomenclature anywhere outside of traditional astrological dogma. Again, see the full version of my 2018 World Forecast Highlights (pp. 18-24) for more on this.

The Return of Venus Max

Venus Max and times of relative plenty seem to happen together, all else being equal. That’s good news, since the newest Venus Max cycle – the first since the January-June 2017 pass – takes effect on August 27, 2018 and continues until January 6, 2019. Astronomically speaking, Venus Max is akin to a SuperMoon, in one important regard: it coincides with the close approach of Venus to the Earth, just as a SuperMoon is the close approach of the Moon to Earth. By the same token, Venus is at its biggest and brightest in the skies of our home planet during the Venus Max cycle; just as a full moon SuperMoon is noticeably bigger and brighter than usual. A bigger, brighter, closer Venus is a good thing, by and large.

Astrologically, Venus represents love, lust and lucre; and the finer things in life, the arts and entertainments. If it’s beautiful, pleasurable and desirable, then it’s Venus. And it tends to stir lust by its very nature – the desire to possess. This is how beauty can become sordid; which is why Venus has had something of a split personality in the astrologies of the world: goddess of love in the Greco-Roman pantheon, god of war to the Mayans – particularly, in the Mayan astrology, when Venus is in its brightest Evening Star (early Max) phase. These are just different aspects of the same phenomenon, to my way of thinking. Beauty desires to be appreciated, fights to be appreciated, and attracts possessiveness; which engenders competition and stirs up conflict. Two sides of the same coin: Venus and Mars. The difference: Venus desires to possess and be desired, while Mars is content to destroy. Mars is scorched earth. Venus treasures what it takes.

The Venus Max cycle begins when Venus reaches its maximum elongation east of the Sun, as seen from Earth. This happens when Venus is in its evening star apparition, setting after the Sun. From that point forward, Venus catches up on Earth more each day. A couple months later, its apparent speed in our sky slows until it comes to a standstill: this is the retrograde station of Venus. From here, Venus appears to reverse course in our skies for six weeks or so. About halfway through this retrograde pass, Venus eventually lines up between us and the Sun as it passes directly between our home planet and our friendly neighborhood star: this is the inferior conjunction of the Sun and Venus. A few weeks after that conjunction, Venus has left us far enough behind that its normal (direct) motion through our sky resumes. The whole Max cycle comes to an end when Venus reaches its maximum elongation west of the Sun, on its way back around to the far side of the star as seen from Earth.

Max-E S-Rx Cnj. SUN S-D Max-W
AUG 17, 2018 OCT 5, 2018 OCT 26, 2018 NOV 16, 2018 JAN 6, 2019

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

Every one of the five defining points of the Venus Max cycle is astronomically defined: maximum eastern elongation from the Sun, retrograde station, inferior solar conjunction, direct station, and maximum western elongation. This means that you’ll find them in any astronomical reference or software – the emphasis in this case is on the word astronomical. Modern traditional astrologers haven’t recognized this cycle, other than the two station points and the solar conjunction. That’s because traditional astrological references (ephemerides and software) ignore the two maximum elongation points; and because the average astrologer pays no attention to astronomical references, let alone to the sky itself. (The maximum elongation points are brilliantly obvious to anyone with eyes on the skies.) This is another point of similarity between the SuperMoon concept I introduced nearly 40 years ago now, and the planetary Max cycles I introduced early in this century: they’re both astronomically defined. In other words, these are real phenomena, rather than traditional lore.

Speaking of astrological lore, it’s a common belief among traditional astrologers that retrograde planets are somehow debilitated; i.e. less significant or powerful than they are when in normal (direct) motion. However during the entire 142 days of the 2017 Venus Max, Venus was retrograde for 42 of them (roughly 30%). Imagine that: a brighter, closer, more prominent Venus is somehow LESS rather than MORE? Go out and look up at the sky during the August 7, 2018 – January 6, 2019 Venus Max cycle this year, and tell me that Venus doesn’t plainly look bigger and brighter than usual. C’mon people, stop looking down at the pages of your dusty old ephemerides! Get outside, lift your eyes to the real skies, and you’ll see the truth.

Now that you've got the picture –there’s an animation of a typical Venus Max cycle online at my website, if that helps - one thing should be clear: during its Max cycle, when it passes between us and the Sun, an inferior planet is actually closer to Earth, making it brighter and more prominent in our sky (except for that portion of the cycle when it’s so close to the solar disk that it gets lost in the glare). In the case of Venus, this tends to coincide with a period of relative ease and prosperity, all else being equal.

"All else being equal" is the key here. It’s never the case that all else is equal from one time to the next: you can’t step twice into the same river, after all. Despite all the dire warnings of an imminent market crash emanating from the pundits who predicted a dozen of the last two recessions, I still see the 2018-2019 Venus Max as a continuation of the Bull Market in equities, by and large. That’s not to say that it’s a one-way rocket ride to the top day in and day out, mind you. It never is. This year, I expect to see short term market panics connected with geopolitical tensions: military confrontations and provocations, for the most part. (Refer back to the section on Mars Max for timing these.) Swimming against a weakening downward current, some equities are more buoyant. As spelled out on page 17 in the full version of my 2018 World Forecast Highlights (published last year), the fortunate sectors include “oil and chemicals, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and other drugs, water purification, the medical industry, banking and the military industrial complex.“

With so many of these pitfalls coming thicker and quicker as we get into 2019 and Venus Max fades into the rearview mirror, it looks to me that taking some profits and liquidating assets makes more and more sense the closer we get to 2019. For more on Venus Max, see pp. 13-17 in the full version of my 2018 World Forecast Highlights; or my free online article on Venus Max.)

Getting Personal

Stepping back from the global, macro scale of things to the personal end of the spectrum, be sure to check your chart for significant placements around 19° in the fixed signs: Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius. Anything within a few degrees of these points focuses a lot of attention on you under the aegis of this Stealth SuperMoon eclipse. Likewise, the area of 2° in these same signs is also emphasized by the Uranus direct station conjunct Mars Max.

If you see such contacts in your chart, it’s important to cultivate serenity in the face of change and challenge – which will be much in evidence. And in view of the Mars Max cycle being so strong this month, a special word of caution is in order to anyone whose chart features the sensitive points mentioned above: if you get a fire evacuation notice, or a vehicle or consumer product safety recall, don’t wait, don’t hesitate: act on it ASAP!


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, QuakeWatch or QuakeZone apps for iPhone. Any market images are screen captures from the default iPhone Stocks app, unless otherwise noted. Weather images and storm tracks are screen captures from the Weather Channel app for iPhone.

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