1998 Predictions and Trends
Copyright December 15, 1997 by Naomi Bennett

        As a difficult December 1997 comes to an end, I look forward to two major new trends that begin in 1998. Neptune will be entering Aquarius for a 14 year stay and Jupiter will enter Pisces. Neptune is a major trendsetter that changes our social attitudes toward each other, our cultural beliefs, and our mass psychology as a society. In 1972 as Neptune was in early Sagittarius, I wrote: "Neptune entered Sagittarius in 1970 (which lasts through 1984) and with it a new dynamic social change was set in motion: dynamic social change through religious and education structures. Neptune and Pisces is more a matter of the mass mind than its mate sign of Sagittarius. True religious and scientific principles, in contrast to organized churches and materialistic science, are represented by Sagittarius. Thus as Neptune entered Sagittarius, it become more dominated by that sign.... Youth is redirecting itself to Christianity with the Jesus movement as well as to other philosophies and approaches to life by exploring the eastern religions, meditation, yoga, transpersonal psychology, etc. Drugs are used as a quick means for spiritual experiences and the transcendence of the self. Their objective is to know themselves psychologically and to experience personal truths. Religious institutions are rapidly being forced to change their rigid doctrines and look for more meaningful, personally significant spiritual activities for their congregations..."

        As it turned out all this came true and more. This was a time of social reform with the equal rights movement, N.O.W., the War on Poverty, eastern religions establishing themselves in the west, eastern philosophies coming into print, the esoteric past being explored in a new modern light of integration with the Western mind.

        We are at the tail end of Neptune in Capricorn from 1984-1998. It's been a tough period since Pisces-Capricorn or Neptune-Saturn do not mix. They are foreign to each other. The social mass mind doesn't fit with individual restriction. Neptune-Pisces is emotionally sympathetic to the weak and aberrant in our culture but it is under the domination of rules, restrictions, lack of feeling that justifies cold adherence to the law, etc. When Regan-Bush Administration was elected in 1980, I said that this would be the period of the struggle between the haves and the have-nots in 1980. This administration was in power for 12 years until 1990. It altered the make up the judicial system by appointing conservative Republicans. This was the age of the moral majority with double speak hypocrisy like naming their organizations "Right to Life", "Family Values", and "Just Say No". This was the period when the government stripped social services to the poor, so much for family values. There was a massive consolidation of power when the Regan administration stripped Labor unions of their power. Industries ruled by Neptune like Hollywood and Television consolidated and merged. The oil industry suffered badly with the price of oil dropping below $20 a barrel during this period.. Michael Milken went crazy with junk bonds. Corporations downsized (a nice word for massive firing) and consolidated into a very few companies having monopolies of their markets (note that no one in the national press is talking about this yet except for Molly Ivins). Corporate loyalty by long term workers was valueless. This was the period when blue collar workers were stripped of their jobs and whole manufacturing industries moved to Asia and Mexico. The strength of the EEOC laws enacted during Neptune in Sagittarius (equal employment without bias of sex, age, religion) were stripped by the Federal Judicial System (remember those Regan-Bush appointees). Newt Gingrich became the leader of the ruthless conservative majority in Congress. Margaret Thatcher was the conservative maven of England and like the USA she imposed social austerity and massive downsizing of jobs. As these safety nets became swiss-cheesed, Regan talked about welfare mothers and deadbeats. Tough drug (Neptune) enforcement (Saturn) and law and order became popular political slogans. Major reform in state and federal laws were enacted. This has been the largest build up of prisons (Neptune in Capricorn that punishes and restircts the aberrant individual) in the USA's history . President Clinton had different ideas of social reform, especially socialized health care. But the time was not ripe. The organized medical associations like the AMA and insurance companies fought it tooth and nail. In many ways, health care for the employed has been stricted further with the reduction of benefits and the creation of PPO's and HMO's. Corporations were making massive profits and executive officers are having excessive compensation. The disparity between executive income and worker income has never been greater. The actual earning power of the middle class has shrunk and more people have moved under the poverty line. To say the least, this has been 14 years of blatant hypocrisy and corporate power.

        It's all been so gradual over 14 years that unless one is observing the patterns, the trend is hard to see. Perhaps I have an emotional blindspot here because there was little to like during this period. This wasn't about progress as much as a consolidation of the past. It didn't improve our lives or make it a better world. I have to remind myself of Carl Tobey's attitude that Nature doesn't always make sense. The patterns are sometimes too big for us to see the good in a destructive process but from the ashes of a fire, life rekindles itself and grows again into a new form.

        1998 is a transition year as Neptune first enters Aquarius at the end of January and then goes back into Capricorn in August. It finally stays in Aquarius after November. So what kind of changes are we in for? Neptune is about deep social feelings for the artistic, aberrant, weaker members of our culture. It's our common attitude toward others. Our common myths of labeled groups. Our sympathies for the weak It's our emotinal need to be part of a group. People are social animals that live in groups and tribes. We are not lone wolves. Aquarius colors and changes these attitudes. It's about the strength and independence of the individual. It's about new ideas and discoveries that may take a culture 20 or more years to absorb and accept. We could see a revival or utopian societies and experiments in new ways to live in groups. Aquarius is a natural to break the bounds of law, tradition, habits and routines. It likes to be the rebel, outrageous and shocking. Throwing out the old guard will be big on the social agenda. Voting out the conservatives, going for major congressional and presidential reform will grow stronger. There will be radical ideas and crusaders but remember that the establishment is very hard to overthrow, they have the money and power. This period will shake them up and change the institutions of our culture but it's not likely to result in anarchy and revolution. The radicals will come out of the woodwork and gain a following. They will shake us up and shock us. Drastic actions can be taken but its hard to move a mass of millions of people in most of a continent or the world. Youth will lead the charge as they always do because they are the most aroused and have the least to lose. They aren't vested in their jobs and family yet. There could be riots in the inner cities has the have-nots decide they aren't going to take it any more. The individual is more likely to take the law into their own hands and not be intimidated by our institutions like we all have been for the past 14 years. So expect periodic disruptions as these calls for reform are made. The purpose is to break up the consolidation of power and give some choice and freedom back to the individual. The web and the internet will only grow bigger as we use electronics (Aquarius) to shrink the world and bypass corporate and governmental structions to share our common bonds and ideals (Neptune). It's hard to guess all the specific manifestations but this will be the overall theme until 2012.

        There are multiple trends occurring at the same time that can complicate an astrological analysis but life and the world is complicated. Astrology does a great job to identify these trends but it's tough for individual astrologers to pinpoint Who and Where it is all going to happen. It's too big of a job. Until there is public money spent in this field, we will face limits in prediction. This field could improve immensely like weather prediction has in the past 30 years. The timing of When is the easier part for the astrologer. With more public acceptance, this field of study will only get better with brighter minds, more money and better study of trends.

        Pluto entered Sagittarius in 1996 and will stay there until 2008. The period just past of Pluto in Scorpio was most dramatic since there are two very powerful forces. Pluto is associated with war, the military, gangs, plagues (massive death), pioneering efforts, empire building, risk taking and children. I associate Pluto as ruler of Aries and the 5th house, not Scorpio and the 8th. Read my article on Pluto for more explanation. From 1984-1995, Pluto was in Scorpio, the sign of sex. This is the major time of our modern plague of AIDS and HIV. The death toll is under control now with drugs and the AIDS hospice centers are closing down for lack of business in 1996-97. The growth of violence with youth and children grew until inner city schools have gun detectors. Eight and nine year olds were recruited to deal drugs, shoot other drug dealers and steal cars because criminal law protected the juvenile. Violent crime has actually dropped nationally in 1996-97 but the violent youth is still with us. They were born with Pluto in Scorpio and they are still in our school system. They will be processed through our prison system in their early adult years. They could make great military leaders. They have strong executive ability if they can manage the extremes of their drives and attitudes. It will be interesting to see how this group of people evolve in their lifetime. This was the period of time when militant groups like the IRA, Algerians, militant Egyptians and PLO became more organized with bombings. Youth gangs took over the inner cities and the Russia Mafia was the most feared organization in the world.

        Now this powerful force has moved into Sagittarius in 1996, the sign of religious philosophy, socially fair laws, education, publishing and newspapers, social reform, banking and foreign exchange between countries. As early as 1996, the television programs had started talking about a whole new approach to children, education reform and juvenile law reform. This year child abuse reform has taken a high profile, Princess Di's death gave a big hit to the trash tabloid press and the Asian banking crisis is just coming to a head but the purge isn't over yet. Just this month President Clinton is introducing legislation to allow criminal records to be available for child care employment along with additional child care credits. The sexual abuse in the military (Pluto in Scorpio) is coming to public light and reform (Sagittarius) of the military is in the news. Pluto usually brings turmoil and obsessive driven behavior. Religious groups can become more militant or grow to a massive size (The Million Man March and the Men's Christian Coalition that are filling football stadiums or large arenas.) It is interesting to note that 5 degrees Sagittarius is called the degree of flight. Since the last eclipse in September 1997 and Moon Wobble this December, there have been 7 US military air crashes and one major military aircraft flight in Russia this December (with major loss of life) as Pluto stays around 5 degrees Sagittarius.

        Will we have a new kind of plague or major new disease evolve over this period? I don't know except to say that Sagittarius rules the liver. But note if organ donations become a greater national and world issue as the gife (Sagittarius) of life comes out of the death (Pluto) of others. There can be a new generation of power consolidation and powerful, difficult transformation as the result of turmoil in banking and publishing and the legal system. Children and the younger generation should benefit immensely as our society looks at how it can change and improve children's lives. Child abuse, parental discipline and educational reform will be under attack and scrutiny. Social reform comes from our willingness to look under the rocks and into the crevices of our society to uncover the unacceptable and do something about it. We don't like what we find and we say as a society, never again. This past year all the European banks (Sagittarius) that took Nazi and Jewish gold during W.W.II (war is Pluto and Uranus) have been called to task to turn it back to the few living victims still alive after 50 years to claim it. This is a progressive period and far more positive than Pluto's last stay in Scorpio.

        Uranus continues it's stay in it's own sign of Aquarius. The first month it entered Aquarius was February 1995 with the Oklahoma City Bombing near the eclipse and Moon Wobble. As I stated earlier about Neptune in Aquarius, this is the sign of the rebel, individual, extremist and dramatic wake up calls. It's also the sign of new creative ideas that can take society 20+ years to absorb and process into the culture. Please remember that the web didn't take off big time until Uranus entered it's own sign. It's one of the biggest growth periods for computers, electronics like HDTV and $500 web PCs that integrate with your television as the monitor. Cable companies are going great guns to upgrade their cable systems to incorporate data, the web, and phone lines. We will see the merging of these technologies during this period. This is a time of great discoveries and the one of the best periods was in 1997 with the conjunction of Jupiter and Uranus. The universe got older and bigger. Mankind was pushed back to an earlier period. The first sheep was cloned and a star was discovered the defied known physics. Uranus stays here until 2003. This is about change that emphasized individual efforts and ideas. Some are disruptive and disturbing but we are being pushed into the future at this time. It just comes too fast or dramatic for many of us to accept. Saturn has been in Aries since April 1996 and will go into Taurus from mid June until late October 1998. It will stay in Taurus after March 1999. Saturn is about the establishment, corporations, government and any large established institutions like the Roman Catholic Church. This has been an aggressive period for Saturn that has seen court and legal (Saturn) action against the military (Aries) and lots of child abuse-death (Aries) cases in the news such as Jon Benet and Louise Woodward, the Au Pair. Both of these events occurred very close to each other during the two month aspect of Saturn opposition of Mars and the Lunar Nodes in early Aries from late December to early March 1997. I thought this aspect would crush the stock market. I was wrong. The Jupiter-Uranus conjunction kept it soaring but we had exceptionally bad weather over the world that winter that resulted in starving in China and Korea and floods in the northern midwest. The news reported this to be the biggest year for executions in the USA for the death penalty. Most financial astrologers (I'm not an expert yet) think that the market topped in August-September 1997and will only continue to fall throughout 1998. The balloon is weakening and the values should fall. Just as the early (0 to 6 degree) Cardinal signs had a very rough period from Christmas 1996 to early March 1997, the late Cardinal (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn) and early Fixed signs (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius) from 27 degrees to 5 degrees will feel the double efforts of Saturn in Taurus and Neptune in Aquarius from June to the end of the year. This is a time to follow the letter and form of the law. Laxness in taxes and legal requirements can nip you from behind. Be on guard for deception and illusion around you. Don't assume and get it in writing. If you can, avoid contract signing this second half of the year. The terms you agree to now could be onerous later. It's too easy to discount the terms of the contract now. As Saturn moves to Taurus, expect real estate values, mining, farming and agriculture to have a restrictive period but the major effects still hold off until March 1999 when Saturn stays in Taurus. Considering the monetary crisis in Asia, real estate values will continue to go into a bottoming out period all through 1998-1999. There will be a purge in the banking system since Japanese banks hold so much real estate mortgages in Korea and all of Asia. With Neptune in play here, deception, painting a happy picture and illusion will cloud these issues until May 1999. The first big jolt will be in the May-June 1998 time frame.

        Jupiter will be moving from Aquarius to Pisces in February to stay for one year. This is a great time for the oil, motion pictures and music industries. Just as 1997 was an expansive year for scientific discoveries and the technology industry, so Jupiter the Benefic will give opportunities in the areas ruled by Pisces.

        These are the major trends for the year. The second part of this prediction will entail the high activity, action periods in the year when the trends get exercised into the news headlines and events of the year. Most of our news comes in clusters. It's just that most of us don't realize the patterns unless we study a planetary ephemeris on a regular basis. Astrology isn't hard. It just takes observation and practice.

        Mars, the Sun and Lunar Nodes are major players in activating long term trends into events that are noticed by society and individuals. They increase the energy and intensity to create flash points into the material world. They are usually concrete and distinct where as the slow moving outer planets create an environment, atmosphere or quality to the times we live in. When all three of these fast moving energies of Mars, Sun and the Nodes are involved, dramatic events occur. The Oklahoma City Bombing involved the Sun, Uranus and Mercury and Lunar Nodes. Princess Di's car crash came one day from a solar eclipse that had Pluto involved. Other people can experience the same aspect in a positive way. The period of the Oklahoma City Bombing was the first time I taught my astrology class in Austin. It was a big expansive experience for me. The aspect fell on my chart but I was acting in a positive manner, not planting bombs. This event is analyzed in another article on the web.

        The Asian monetary and banking crisis should heat up from Jan 21-February 3rd. Militant groups can be active and local cases of gang activity may increase.

        February 22- March 6, 1998 shows a period of increase activity and new events. The unexpected is in the air and the events can be dramatic. This could be the beginning of increased hostilities near the eclipse.

        March to June begins a buildup of militant activity. A crisis is forming in international news. Leaders feel that drastic action must be taken. Tensions are high in the Middle East and Asia. The US President and other leaders feel that they must respond. The breakout of hostilities are most likely from the second half of April with a continued sequence of flash points in May. A major turning point at the end of May occurs with Moon Wobble near transiting Pluto. Life and the world will not fully calm down until the end of June. This will be the most major period of the year. The charts of President Clinton, Prime Minister Tony Blair, Prime Minister Netanyahu and especially Saddam Hussein are deeply involved in this period. I don't have the data for major players in Asia to make statements about them. Saddam and Iraq's charts hit major points of aggression with the US being drawn into the issues. On the local news front, expect violent aggressive acts by individuals from April 24-June 6th. It is a difficult period and some people under stress take drastic action into their own hands. These are the people who could benefit from astrology. It gives them the timing of tension so that they know the period is difficult, the length of difficulty is know and getting support or taking safety measures can prevent tragedy.

        Life calms down again until August 15-September 12th. This is another serious period of time with the second eclipse of the year involved with Pluto and a Mars opposing Neptune and Uranus while squaring Saturn. This is the other nasty period of the year but the March-June period was much worse. International, national and local news will be brimming with the impulsive and dramatic. The charts of Clinton, Blair and Hussein are all activated. To say the least, avoid taking major actions and making major decisions until after life has calmed down again.

        There is one more Moon Wobble from November 14-24 but no additional planets are involved. News will increase with major stories but not to any portion that I described above.

Copyright © 1997 Naomi Bennett. All other publishing rights are reserved by the Author, Naomi Bennett, 701 Capitol of Texas So., Bldg. C, Ste. 1112, Austin, TX 78746 (512) 328-9277, fax (512) 328-6957. Naomi Bennett has practiced astrology since 1970 and teaches in Austin. She is currently working on her first book.