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©2018 by Richard Nolle
last revised September 30, 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). I just began accepting advance orders for the 2019 edition, although the 2019 forecast will be embargoed until the end of December as usual. 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.

"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."
-- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring (Gandalf)

There’s an historic but generally unheralded cosmic phenomenon at work this month, as Pluto sinks south of the ecliptic plane for the first time in very nearly 250 years: in mythological terms, the God of the Underworld is returning to the Underworld. As history shows, this is a major milestone in human culture and civilization. It means a lot for all of us, on a scale that we cannot begin to appreciate for years. And it melds into other long-range cycles. This month is one of those when everything changes – but nobody realizes it at the time.

On the other hand, some things don’t change. We’re still in the midst of this year’s Venus Max and Mars Max cycles. They’ve been in effect for months, and have months to run yet. This bears on the strength and direction of economic activity, and the level of conflict in human relations. And then there are the more or less constant lunar fluctuations synchronizing the ebb and flow of geophysical and well as human activity levels.

Pluto, Wealth and the Underworld

What does it mean, the God of the Underworld retreating back into the Underworld? Think about it: Pluto, plutocracy, the wealth of minerals and seeds contained in the underworld; the myths of Hades/Pluto, Demeter/Ceres, Persephone, Orpheus and Eurydice: look back into archaeology, and you can see that these myths are symbolic representations of human civilization.

OCT 24, 2018 Pluto Ecliptic Crossing (Southward) Before the arrival of agriculture, humans were hunter gatherers. We ate fresh picked fruits, nuts and vegetables, and the catch of the day. All of these things had to be consumed quickly, because they were perishable. Typically, a good kill or gathering was shared on the spot with the social group (family, clan, tribe). There was no such thing as wealth, in the sense of something one could possess. It all had to be shared, or it would spoil.

Agriculture arose from seeds that were unwittingly taken back to camp by hunter-gatherers returning from the wild – stuck to hair, furs and the like. Some of those seeds ended up covered in dirt, and then sprouting and growing into plants – some of which turned out to be cereal grains. It took generations for these grains to be recognized and cultivated as such. That was the beginning of agriculture, which resulted in settlements – which is the very definition of civilization. It was also the beginning of wealth.

Cereals (Ceres of myth), grown from seeds planted in the ground (the Plutonian underworld) produced grains that didn’t spoil readily; and in fact could be stored in granaries or baked into breads. Cereals allowed those who controlled their cultivation and storage to also control the social structure: they controlled access to the only food that could be stored. Agriculture transformed humans from free creatures in kinship groups to settled communities ruled by the few who controlled the fields and granaries that fed those who cooperated with the leaders – the plutocrats who controlled the ground and that which sprang from it. The wealthier the plutocrats are, the more power they seize, and the more power they seize, the wealthier they get.

Over the millennia, religions and cultures arose, grew and died here and there around the world, but the underlying socio-cultural model remained the same: power arose from the earth, and served those who controlled its riches. Was it a Faustian bargain? Some argue that eating the produce of agriculture saved the human race from starvation. But archaeologists have made the case that scattered hunter-gatherers had a better life than centralized agriculturalists: more variety of fresh game and produce promoted better health, a more socially integrated and physically active society – and a whole lot more freedom.

It’s beyond the scope of this forecast to flesh out these ideas. If you’re interested, I recommend Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind as a good backgrounder. Meanwhile, the mythological underpinnings of civilization down through the ages are brutally simple: there has always been a plutocracy controlling the wealth of each and every society. The struggle to survive, overthrow and ultimately control that plutocracy is what comprises history. And Pluto’s cycle times the unfolding of that history.

Flying the Ecliptic Plane

There’s a lot more to the cycles of Pluto than just the crossing of the ecliptic plane, but that cycle is an important key. Why? First, it’s because anytime another planet is on the ecliptic plane – the plane of Earth’s orbit around the Sun – that planet is directly aligned with Earth. It’s like a polarized pulse between Earth, the Sun and the planet in question. Practically speaking, that means we’re getting a major Pluto pulse this month – for the first time since 1930, and only the second time since 1770.

What’s the ecliptic plane? It’s the plane of Earth’s orbit around the Sun. If you could set the Sun on a giant table, Earth would roll along on that table in a nearly-circular elliptical path around the Sun. That flat table is Earth’s ecliptic plane. (It’s called the ecliptic plane because eclipses occur when the Moon aligns with Sun and Earth on that plane.) Earth and Sun are always at 0° ecliptic latitude; which is to say that the ecliptic plane passes through both bodies.

Pluto’s orbit is tilted with respect to Earth’s. It’s on an entirely different orbital plane. In Euclidian geometry, parallel planes, like parallel lines, never intersect; but when one plane is inclined at an angle to the other, they do cross. That’s the ecliptic crossing: the points at which two nonparallel planes intersect.

Orbits being ellipses, there are two ecliptic crossings for any one planet with respect to another. One intersection occurs when the planet crosses the orbit from below (south of) to above (north of) the other planet’s ecliptic plane. The other happens when the planet crosses from above (north of) to below (south of) the other planet’s ecliptic plane. What we’re experiencing this month is Pluto’s first southward crossing of the ecliptic plane since 1770. (The most recent crossing was in the northward direction, back in 1930.)

The Cycles of Pluto and the Plutocracy

In the robber baron era of American history, Theodore Roosevelt described plutocracy as "the tyranny of mere wealth". A variation seen in modern Russia is kraterocracy, which is government by those who are able to seize power. The rich are better positioned to achieve this in the first place, and inevitably get richer when they control more and more levers of power. I see little difference between the two. If you dig deeply enough into history, it’s a distinction without a difference: the wealthy seize power, more power all the time. As Springsteen put it in Badlands, "Poor man wanna be rich, Rich man wanna be king, And a king ain't satisfied, 'til he rules everything."

One way of looking at history is in terms of the transfer of power from one plutocracy to another. It’s one thread among the many comprising the tapestry of history, at least. In that regard, Pluto’s crossing of the ecliptic plane marks a crucial turn in the balance of power underpinning a civilization.

Crossing the Rubicon

In 50 BCE – as Pluto was crossing from below (south of) to above (north of) the ecliptic plane - Julius Caesar was ordered by the Senate (led by Pompey) to disband his army and return to Rome, because his term as governor of the province of Spain had finished. Caesar knew that this was in effect a death sentence, because without an army to protect him and the immunity afforded him by his title as governor, he was totally at the mercy of his enemies. Defiantly, Caesar marched his troops across the Rubicon, and civil war was on. What followed was the end of the old Rome (the Republic) and the beginning of the new (the Empire). That’s the essence of the Pluto crossing: power is seized from the old order, and transferred to the new. What remains the same is that a plutocracy retains control. All that changes is the faces of the people running the plutocracy. (Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.)

These crossings have been occurring in the Cancer-Capricorn axis since the 533 CE southward crossing in Capricorn. Historically, this is in the period of the transition from Classical Antiquity to the Middle Ages. Incidentally, this occurred during the reign of the Roman Emperor Justinian – as did the Great T-Square I’ve been writing about for years – the same configuration which recurred in 2006, for the first time in some 1,500 years. We have been living in one and the same epoch defined by Pluto’s ecliptic crossings for centuries now.

OCT 24, 2018  Pluto Southward Ecliptic Crossing Astro-Locality Map The precise timing of an ecliptic crossing is problematic. It depends on the algorithm used, as well as the precision and the time span covered by the algorithm. It’s much like determining the exact moment of a planetary station: you can get close, but you can never be certain of the exact instant. For what it’s worth, I used Solar Fire to come up with a time for this month’s southward crossing, to the nearest second of ecliptic latitude: 09:53 UT, October 24. It's arbitrary and certainly not absolutely precise, but it's "close enough for rock 'n' roll."

Taking that admittedly arbitrary moment in time as a signature for Pluto’s ecliptic crossing shows Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Argentina and western Brazil accentuated in the astro-locality map for that moment; with the eastern US and Canada also on the same Pluto antimeridian line. Conversely, Pluto’s meridian line bifurcates Russia, Mongolia and China, while also touching on Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. (Pluto’s horizon line cuts across Africa and the Middle East and into Russia.)

The Pluto crossing astro-locality map brings targets into focus for the event as a whole, which is effective far beyond its exact date. This is the first such southward crossing since 1770. Its mirror image northward crossing last took place in 1930. Look back through history on these watershed moments, and you might catch a glimpse of the transformation we’re in at the moment.

Don’t make a fetish of this attempt to freeze frame a crucial instant in space/time. But do keep your eyes open, your mind attuned: this is one more in the train of epochal transitions we have been living through since the reappearance of Justinian’s T-Square back in 2006, as described in my annual World Forecast Highlights since then.

Look back to the latest such crossings for hints as to what to expect. 1770 brought the Boston Massacre, the beginnings of the American Revolution (the first anticolonial uprising in modern history). The 1930 crossing was the beginning of industrial socialism, growing out of the Great Depression and World War II. While there are similar themes in both of these crossings, there’s much that’s different as well; including the forthcoming Air Trigonalis Great Chronocrator in 2020. More on that in my 2019 World Forecast Highlights . . .

Getting personal for a moment, note that this Pluto crossing is occurring at 19° Capricorn. Check your chart! Got anything there? Then this moment in time is focused on you in particular, in some fashion. While you’re at it, consider the Sabian Symbol for the 19th degree of Capricorn: "Five year-old child carrying a bag filled with groceries." Meditate on that image. It contains a key to you (because it’s in your chart) as well as to this time of historic transition (because that’s where Pluto is now). It’s a time for rising to the occasion and taking on responsibilities which may be out of our league; but they must be done, and we’re the ones who are available at the moment to lend a hand.

Nearer to Hand

Huge temporal cycles aside, there are more than a few shorter but still important cycles worth watching this month. The superior (far side) Sun-Mercury conjunction on September 21, as predicted in my September forecast, ripped open "some far side coronal holes" which "come into play with our home planet [in] early October (around the 5th, give or take three days)." As always, these increase the likelihood of dramatic auroral displays and geomagnetic storms (Kp 5 and up), which can disrupt power, communication and transportation infrastructure – and the human nervous system, if you’re susceptible. Increased turbulence in the atmosphere and mantle increase the odds for strong storms and seismic activity as well. The window of vulnerability for this effect stretches from October 2-8. On the storm and seismic front, this melds into the October 9 new moon shock window, which stretches from the 6th through the 12th. The full moon on the 24th ushers in another storm and seismic shock window, which stretches from the 21st through the 27th.

Venus and Mars Max

The Max cycles of Venus and Mars remain strong all month, putting a spotlight on violence and conflict (Mars) and love and lust (Venus). A hugely passionate month. In a recent consultation, a client asked what kind of passion this entails. My reply was to think of Hank Moody’s second big hit novel in the Showtime series Californication; namely, Fucking and Punching. (For more on Venus Max and Mars Max, see pp.13-17 and 18-24 respectively in the full version of my 2018 World Forecast Highlights.) These are trends which have been in effect for months already, and they won’t be letting up soon . . .


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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