Today, as the world anticipates Summer 2004's Olympic Games in Athens, and the U.S. readies itself for the Democratic and Republican Conventions, there's talk of super-heightened security for travelers, concern for those on their way to Greece, and talk of how a terrorist attack might influence the Presidential elections. Many "what if" scenarios are being bantered about, leaving people uneasy and more perplexed than usual. Though the world is polarized, it's summertime. And what should follow is: 'and the livin' is easy.' We should be able to put our differences aside for a spell and soak up the healing and exhilarating one-world-feeling rush that a multinational sports event generates, right?

Sounds so divine, but the music of the spheres this July, August, and September seems to be playing "It ain't necessarily so".

The chart for the June 21 Solstice set the tone for the next six months, and indications were that special times were before us: It had a rare quintile (a 72-degree aspect of powerful creativity, alchemy, and manifestation) between the Sun and Jupiter. This aspect hasn't occurred at solstice since June 21, 1921, the dawn of the highly spirited roaring 20's. Magic and plenty of 'manifesting potential' is in the air, meaning that in the seasons ahead, if you think it, you can make it so. But this great abundance of creative "prana" and intentionality is accompanied by a susceptibility to being overwhelmed: It's a time when anyone may easily be swayed by the hypnotic 'spin' and the agendas of others all around us now.

A recent article in The New York Times described two Americas, currently visible in a "sharply divided movie-going public", one going to see "Fahrenheit 911" and the other "The Passion". Yes, while plenty of us have seen both, many find themselves passionately resonating to one film or the other - in ways that reflect a deeper cultural split. This division is clear evidence of Pluto in Sagittarius (1995-2008), the outer planet transit that promised to deliver us into holy wars, culture clashes, and religious grandstanding beyond our wildest imaginings, and boy has Pluto kept his word!

Democratic Convention: July 26-29, 2004

Venus, the planet of desire opposes Pluto for the last time in 2004 on July 25, an intense clash of energies to say the least, just in time for the Democratic Convention in Boston. Though there will be caucus meetings all day long on the 26th, a spokesperson at the DNC told me that the official opening ceremony of the convention was planned for 5 p.m. that day. The chart cast for 5 p.m. July 26, in Boston has Sagittarius rising (as does John Kerry's chart) with lucky Jupiter at home in the 9th house: So far so good, that helps to mitigate the Venus/Pluto opposition. But the moon is in Scorpio and 'void of course'. (Astrologers have long observed that events undertaken during a void of course moon often produce unexpected results: the moon is 'disconnected', no longer making any aspects to other planets.) The void moon could weaken the opening somewhat. (Lest Republicans feel too cocky, the opening ceremony for their convention in New York City on August 30th scheduled for 11 a.m.-ish lands during Mercury Retrograde--will their message hold?--with the moon in Pisces square Pluto, making for a potentially over-the-top soupy sentimentality.)

The Boston convention's chart correlates well to political convention wisdom in suggesting the Democrats will enjoy a very sharp rise in the polls as they gather, as the chart for July 26 has the "part of fortune" placed auspiciously. The Kerry/Edwards ticket is a match made in heaven: the Gemini/Sagittarius axis (their sun sign pairing) fits in perfectly with the chart of the United States (July 4, 1776), as do both Kerry's and Edwards' charts individually. (More on the Democratic and Republican tickets in a later article, when both are securely in place.)

But the story doesn't end here: The timing of Kerry's acceptance speech (July 29 at 10 p.m.-ish) will be important, and though the moon will not be void, it will be in Saturn ruled Capricorn, picking up on Kerry's natal (Moon/Saturn) somber feel and reflecting the seriousness of the moment. The expected Convention-ending exuberance may be in short supply. But will that really matter? Further complicating the picture is the fact that Mercury, planet of communication will turn retrograde on August 9. For good or ill, the Mercury reversal during the month of August could undo much of whatever good (or bad) comes of the convention for the Dems.

Mercury Retrograde (August 9-September 2, 2004) vs. Olympic Games (August 13-29, 2004)

Speaking of Mercury retrograde, when will the Olympics Committee check with an astrologer before booking their dates?

Hate to be a party pooper here, but the opening ceremony on August 13 at 11 a.m. in Athens looks like an accident waiting to happen. Mercury is backing into Mars, Mars is heading toward Mercury with both opposed by shocking Uranus, a picture which looks explosive and unpredictable at best. Mercury, planet of agility, communication, and motion goes retrograde (move backward relative to earth) three times a year. Mercury retro periods last from 21 to 24 days with a 2-week 'shadow period' on either end. Though Mercury retrogrades have a bad reputation for transportation and mechanical foul-ups as well as mis-communication, they're good for catch up and review. And while life goes on, one must be extra cautious regarding travel, speed, and communiqués of all kinds.

Many accidents happen due to speeding or other disconnects during Mercury retrograde. The rush to complete the Olympic stadium in time may have compromised its safety. Actor Christopher Reeves' paralyzing fall occurred during Mercury retro, as did Princess Diana's fatal car crash. Many Amtrak collisions have occurred with Mercury retro, mostly due to communication glitches or other mechanical malfunctions which all fall under Mercury rulership. So this is a time when speeding should be avoided when at all possible, and seat belts worn with no bellyaching about it. Tell that to the Olympic athletes!

The only races I'd recommend during Mercury retrograde would involve pedaling backwards or the backstroke! I hope I'm wrong, but the read I get for the 2 weeks in Athens is dicey. Mind you, not all travel is to be avoided, I'm traveling myself, but the chart for Athens at this time with sports and crowds in mind is "hotter than I'd like."

Republican Convention: August 31-September 2, 2004

This year's Republican Convention happens as the Mercury retrograde period is concluding, but unfortunately for the Dems, this is a re-election and the Mercury retro at this time could work well for incumbents. Mercury retrograde is the right time to renew old interests and revisit old projects. Concerns about convention safety both in Boston and especially New York are well founded. The time between the conclusion of the GOP Convention on September 2 and the new moon on September 14, which includes 9/11's third anniversary, is rocky. The new moon in Virgo on September 14th (The Jewish New Year) has Mars and Pluto (the two planets of power and force) extremely prominent, suggesting activity of an aggressive nature. And yes, that could mean terrorism.

There is a Chinese curse which says, "May you live in interesting times." This summer we certainly do.

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