by Madeline Gerwick-Brodeur
Lets imagine you were in charge of the universe (or at least our solar system), and it was time to create a major behavioral change on Earth. What would you do? Would you let everything go on normally, hoping for some quick evolution, or create a situation that could bring about the necessary changes?
This is roughly the situation were facing now, as we approach the new millennium. Weve had nearly a thousand years with the millennium number one, which, numerologically, represents courage, aggression, wars, competition, and taking care of number one at the expense of others. Were about to get a new millennium number, the two, which represents working together in harmony to solve problems, understanding the impact of our actions on others, and cooperation. When 2000 arrives, the old attitudes of "me first" will be shown the door! What could possibly make a change of this magnitude occur?
Amazingly, we have a built-in crisis that is perfectly timed to arrive with the new millennium! Its known as the Year 2000 computer bug, or the Y2K bug for short. This problem is due to computers and many of our embedded chips having only two digits for a four-digit year. Without being fixed, when 2000 arrives, most computers and many embedded computer chips will think its 1900. Many will stop functioning correctly, and others will just crash.
The cost of this potential crisis is bigger than anything ever faced by the world before. The Gartner Group, with offices around the world assisting companies and governments with this problem, has estimated the cost of fixing the Y2K bug worldwide at over $600 billion. Thats more than the cost of World War II, and it will affect the entire world simultaneously, not just some countries.
If youre wondering how this could be such a big problem, here are a few statistics. AT&T has five hundred million lines of code to fix. General Motors is fixing two billion lines of code and trying to ensure that their 85,000 suppliers will still be operational. Major banks have between one and four hundred million lines of code to fix, much of it very old and hard to interpret. All state, local, and federal government agencies have enormous amounts of fixes to make, too.
The computer chip industry estimates there are between 25 to forty billion embedded chips and microprocessors worldwide. Approximately 250 million to four billion of these chips are expected to fail, but its not known which ones will do so! Theyre found in all types of security and phone systems, traffic lights, manufacturing and medical equipment, elevators, cars, planes, trains, ships, water and power systems, oil and gas drill rigs, gasoline pumps, etc. In short, theyre everywhere!
Fixing all of this is a massive undertaking. The process of becoming Year 2000-compliant includes identifying which systems to fix, prioritizing them, making the fixes, and then testing them. For a large organization, this could take four to five years or longer, but very few companies started that long ago.
A quick look at recent reports from the Securities Exchange Commission gives an overall picture. The SEC requires all publicly traded companies to disclose their Y2K compliance status (i.e. how ready they are for 2000) in their quarterly reports. In June 1998, these disclosures indicated the following:
1. Of the seven thousand companies required to report, 35% reported nothing.
2. Another 14% reported being in the "awareness" phase.
3. Forty-two percent claimed they were in the "inventory/assessment" phase.
4. Only 9% of all publicly traded companies reported being in the fixing and testing phase. Most of these companies started working on it in 1995 or 1996.
The last fact brings the most concern. Companies that started four or five years ago are now in the process of finishing their fixes, and there isnt nearly that much time left for those that are starting. Companies in the first two groups (almost fifty percent) probably have no chance of meeting the unmovable deadline of January 1, 2000. Companies still in the inventory/assessment phase may also be too late.
Government agencies are in serious trouble, too. On May 7, 1998, the Gartner Group testified to the House Ways and Means Committee on the Y2K computer problem. Their findings indicated that local, state, and federal government agencies in the U.S.A. were, on average, 15% complete with their compliance projects. Foreign countries are in even worse shape than here, including most of Europe (with a few exceptions), Asia, and all developing countries.
How will this affect you? You wont be able to rely on having electric power, drinkable water, food at the store, gasoline for your car, or any of the numerous products you use on a regular basis. Your bank may not be able to cash your checks, or your phones may not work. There will likely be a gasoline shortage, which will cripple our normal distribution system for the normal flow of goods and services. If you rely on Social Security checks, federal payroll checks, or federal payments to your business for goods or services, you may not get paid. Products and raw materials from other countries are very unlikely to get here.
After plenty of research, I realized that if there were going to be such an enormous issue with the computer bug, it would have to show up astrologically, so I began looking for an aspect that could represent this situation. Sure enough, I found one.
First, this aspect has never occurred before, just as this situation has never happened previously. Second, it represents fixed and established technology, which is difficult to change, challenging established businesses, governments, and all types of existing structures. Lastly, this aspect ends in a massively challenging situation that involves most of the planets, and represents a very difficult situation!
The aspect is Saturn in Taurus square (a ninety-degree angle, which represents a major challenge) to Uranus in Aquarius. If youve studied astrology, you may think this aspect occurs on a regular basis, but it hasnt occurred in these signs since January 1501. It lasted only a few weeks back then, but more importantly, the planet Uranus had not been discovered yet! This aspect has never occurred since the discovery of Uranus and the invention of the computer!
Until a planet is known about on earth, its energies are much less prevalent. The planet Uranus represents all types of technology, including computers, Internet communications, planes, trains, broadcast media, the electrical industry, as well as radicals, revolutions, and sudden unexpected changes that come out of the blue. Most of this came into consciousness and existence after Uranus was discovered in 1781.
The sign of Aquarius is a "fixed" sign, meaning that its primary operating mode is through determination, getting established and not changing, so Uranus in the sign of Aquarius represents fixed and difficult-to-change technology. Saturn symbolizes responsibilities and limitations. In society, it represents businesses, governments, organizations, and structures of all kinds. Since the sign of Taurus is another "fixed" sign, Saturn in Taurus represents established and difficult-to-change businesses, governments, and other structures. It will be hard to change our technology!
This aspect occurs three times: first in July 1999, second in November 1999, and for the last time in May 2000. The last time this aspect occurs, its involved in a massive square (extensive challenges) with eight of the ten planets. This occurs during the new moon on May 4, 2000. At that time, six planets in Taurus (Venus, Mercury, sun, moon, Jupiter, and Saturn) are square to Uranus and Neptune in Aquarius. Mars is also nearby, but not part of the square. This is a very unusual line-up, which corresponds to major challenges for nearly every structure we have in society!
Since the final time this aspect occurs is in May 2000, we know that all the computer bugs will not be fixed in time before 2000. And since the last time the aspect occurs is unusually difficult, we should anticipate a very challenging situation.
Why might the situation take over four months to worsen after year 2000 starts? On January first, there should still be supplies on the shelves, and some oil and gasoline in reserve. Some computers will also function as though the year were 1900, until they come to the leap year date in 2000. When that happens though, theyre likely to crash, along with businesses and governments.
How we prepare for this transition should reflect the principles behind the number two. Since were supposed to change from going it alone to working with others, those who isolate themselves from others during this situation will be at a definite disadvantage. Theyll miss out on the skills, talents, and knowledge of others that could assist them. The best response is to create community with others to help you prepare for and solve the problems.
Common preparations include stores of supplies, food, water, possibly a generator, bicycles, and just about any product or health supplies you cant live without. Hopefully, this includes bathroom necessities, and a few grooming items too! You might want some way to cook food, a heat source, and alternative lighting in case of an extended power outage. Its also a good idea to stock items, like coffee, that are mostly imported from other countries. There are numerous ways to deal with this, but the key is, you must be prepared before it happens.
There are numerous Y2K Web sites and books available with excellent information. Due to space limitations, I will list only a few. Online, the Cassandra Project at <http://millennium-bcs.com> has an extensive preparation list and lots of links to other Year 2000 sites. Books you may want to read include The Millennium Bug: How to Survive the Coming Chaos by Michael Hyatt, and A Survival Guide for the Year 2000 by Jim Lord. Another book, Time Bomb 2000 by Edward Yourdon and Jennifer Yourdon, gives extensive information about the computer bug and its effects in all major areas.
With all that said, my final message is that now is the time to prepare for the Year 2000 and I do mean now. As a business astrologer, part of my work is looking ahead at every day of the coming year. Unfortunately, 1999 is also an extremely difficult year. We encounter an incredible number of continuously challenging issues during 1999, especially after February. It is such a tough year that I recommend getting as prepared as possible for the year 2000 by the end of February 1999.
Lastly, we must "hope for the best while preparing for the worst." Even if the computer bug bites hard, I believe the purpose behind it is to put us all on a new path of working together for a better world. Perhaps it will even be enough to begin the thousand years of peace predicted by Nostradamus. Now, thats a transition worth preparing for!
Madeline Gerwick-Brodeur is a certified business and personal astrologer, co-author of The Complete Idiots Guide to Astrology, and author of The Good Timing Guide: Better Business Through Better Timing. She hosts regular meetings for the Seattle Year 2000 Preparedness Council and offers a monthly newsletter, the Year 2000 Updates. To find out more, contact her at (206) 729-8820 or <Madelinegb@aol.com>.