Aquarium Age by Ralfee Finn
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Weekly Frequency 2001

The Archives are organized by month, with the most recent columns first

December | November | October | September
August | July | June | May
April | March | February | January

All columns © Ralfee Finn

December 26, 2001
Introspection is essential to navigating these last days of a troubling year, but finding quiet, inside or out, won't be easy. 2001 ends on a manic note, as too many distractions demand too much time and the overload becomes overwhelming. Of course, it's possible to ride these tides without getting swept off course. But staying steady requires the skill to circumvent mundane diversions and concentrate on what truly needs attention. There's a lot to think about as this year ends, so no matter how busy the days and nights may be, make time to reflect on your journey. Measure the good and the bad, but as you weigh in, apply depth perception to the process, and don't be fooled by appearances. What at first glance might look negative could have lasting, positive results.

Unfortunately, two potent planetary configurations focus on 3-D matters making it hard to settle down or into a contemplative state. First, there's a Lunar Eclipse on December 30. During a Lunar Eclipse, the shadow of the earth obscures the light of the Moon, and concerns of earthly life overshadow the power of the unconscious. As survival issues dominate the conscious mind, you could find yourself fretting over whether or not there is enough. While the issue of abundance is important, focusing on lack amplifies anxiety. So instead of concentrating your awareness on what you don't have, spend time acknowledging where your life is bountiful. I'm not suggesting denial. Need is need. But a primary rule of transformation is learning to manifest prosperity through an attitude of gratitude.

Second, and also on December 30, Pluto forms an exact square to Mars. This fractious energy carries over the stress of last week's Saturn Mars square as it simultaneously triggers the on-going tension generated by the Pluto Saturn opposition. A Pluto Mars square fuels ruthless self-interest and as this energy coalesces with the survival concerns spotlighted by the eclipse, opportunism flourishes. Resist the urge to profit at another's expense, especially if your good fortune causes another's demise. Set harmful energy in motion under this influence and those bad intentions will boomerang with lasting consequences.

As 2001 ends, heartache, personal and collective, is apt to color New Year resolutions with despair, which is why the next few days are best spent in a contemplative state of mind. For while this grief may seem unbearable, it can, with time, become a catalyst for lasting transformation. As the I-Ching reminds us, change is constant and change is our greatest teacher. This ancient book of wisdom also suggests the best way to fight evil is to make energetic progress in the good.

December 19, 2001
Diverse planetary forces deliver a multifaceted Christmas. Some of these astro gifts are genuinely aimed at good will and some aren't. But don't worry, there's plenty of holiday cheer and even a dash of romantic excitement, this week, to neutralize the Scrooge effect. Just keep your expectations realistic and you won't find disappointment under the tree. Also be aware, this week and next are the two most emotional weeks of every year, which means meltdowns are likely to be as common place as mistletoe.

The source of this year's holiday friction is a Saturn Mars square. Saturn represents the principle of authority and thrives on being in charge. Mars symbolizes the principle of assertion and finds its deepest joy in movement. As Saturn inhibits Mars, the air turns harsh with resistance. Anticipate organizational disputes ranging from how to get there to how long to cook the turkey. But avoid getting lost in a power struggle. Arguments started under Saturn Mars are apt to wake the Ghost of Christmas past, and before you can say "Tiny Tim" you'll be duking it out about everything but the turkey.

Fortunately, Neptune trines Saturn supplying an ample helping of self-restraint. This positive alliance generates sincere charity. Use it to ease emotional tension, and allow your heart to turn away from bitter conflict toward true compassion.

A Uranus Venus sextile spices up the week by providing the potential for romantic reveling. Infamous for fanning the flames of erotic fantasy, this combo also feeds artistic vision. Fall in love, but don't expect the attraction to last. Channel this energy into creative endeavors, and brilliant inspiration could enhance your efforts.

Adding a slightly manic note to the week, Jupiter trines Mars. This vibrant couple is all about good cheer and an appetite for celebration and while this Jupiter Mars trine encourages excessive appetites for all kinds of indulgences, who cares. What's more, a Jupiter Mars trine supplies enough energy to accomplish all your last minute goals, from baking to shopping to just having fun.

As the holiday week unfolds, allow the pleasures of the season to restore your spirit. If you're communing with family and friends, appreciate the gift of that connection. If you're alone, treat yourself with tenderness and care. Whatever your celebration rituals may be, make an effort to put aside the judgments that cement separation, and say a prayer of peace for friend and foe.

December 12, 2001
A Solar Eclipse on December 14 sends an emotional charge through the week. During a Solar Eclipse, the Moon overshadows the Sun, and unconscious drives dominate daily life. As these powerful urges interrupt the "normal" flow of activity, the desire to share feelings previously held in check, season the days with intensity. What's more, because Uranus plays a role in parting the veils of awareness, these spontaneous revelations could jolt the nervous system. Expect the unexpected, but keep in mind, the impact of an eclipse is often felt days before or after the actual event.

The Eclipse takes place in Sagittarius, the Sign of belief systems, where we strive to synthesize instinct and reason. From a transformational perspective, Sagittarius represents the principle of integration and the journey to reach wholeness by working through what's fragmented within. The shadow of that process often manifests as alienation, when doctrine falls short of its promise, or fundamentalism, when dogma offers the promise of certainty. The hope of the Sagittarian quest is learning to align information with intuition. Use the energy of the eclipse to see where you are still feeling divided or split.

Uranus sextiles the Sun and the Moon during this Eclipse, providing the potential to recognize and break free from the unconscious patterning the Eclipse is apt to reveal. Uranus, infamous for its disruptive force, is also the leader of innovation. A creative force outside the limitation of known experience drives its revolutionary energy, which is why Uranus catalyzes dynamic change. Again, notice what shifts as a result of the eclipse, and how that upheaval might have positive results.

A Pluto Venus conjunction also falls within the orb of Friday's Solar Eclipse. Known to imbue romantic attraction with an almost compulsive fanaticism, this conjunction also infuses artistic endeavors with fervent vitality. As the combined power of Pluto conjunct Venus coalesces with the effect of this eclipse, the power of the unconscious motivates extreme reactions. Unrequited love is felt more deeply. Mutual reception is apt to feel preordained.

The on-going Pluto Saturn opposition is separating, and while the tension of this difficult face off is lessening, the shadows it revealed are still a part of our consciousness. Fear is a dominant theme of this opposition, particularly the fear of what we don't understand and cannot control. The influence of a Pluto Saturn conjunction in 1947 provided the energetic ground for McCarthyism, when colleague turned against colleague and panic permeated the lives of those who dared to dissent. As part of the effect of this eclipse, we're apt to see an escalation of ideological persecution. Allowing the systematic erosion of civil rights because we're still yearning for perfected father figure to makes us safe from harm doesn't protect democracy.

As you experience the emotional impact of the eclipse, try to remember we're in the season of joy and peace, one of the few times each year specifically devoted putting aside our differences in recognition of our common ground.

December 5, 2001
This week, the troubled waters of recent weeks recede a bit and rest replaces activity. As the tumult settles down, quiet clears the way for clarity, making it possible to assess just how much has shifted since September 11. Some of the changes have their roots in causal elements set in motion long before that day. Yet the actual event catalyzed and continues to catalyze choices, big and small, personal and collective. Try not to confuse this break from intensity as a return to normal. The depth, breadth, and range of change propelled by the Pluto Saturn opposition is still in effect. Now, it's time to reach for deeper awareness, in the hope of integrating the impact of these powerful forces. What's more, this is the time of year best spent replenishing internal reserves. As Gaia gathers strength in preparation for the Solstice, we're invited to do the same. Use this week and the next two weeks to touch the truth of your own heart. Then, let that Inner Light illuminate what you want to take with you into the New Year and what you want to leave behind.

The planets support this reflective perspective. Pluto, Mercury, Venus, and the Sun are all in Sagittarius, the keeper of belief systems and the Sign where we attempt to reconcile and synthesize ideas with action. Jupiter rules this Sign where we learn to walk our talk, and while astrologers aren't' supposed to have favorite planets, I must confess, for me, Jupiter is best. Jupiter supports the search for truth through education. Its wide band frequency includes the expansion of consciousness. Jupiter relishes in earthly delights, which is why its shadow can manifest as excessive appetites. But most importantly Jupiter thrives on humor and its laughter gladly supplies the antidote for heartbreak. This big, fat planet delves into the deeper meaning at it simultaneously reminds us not to take suffering so seriously we forget to enjoy the gift of life.

This week, let the thoughtful energy of Sagittarius infuse your awareness with an expanded perspective. Notice where you need the remedy of laughter to lighten your load, inside or out. Also pay attention to what needs to be learned. Pluto and Saturn are transmitting a profound signal, and the intensity of their opposition has surfaced and will continue to surface the shadows of consciousness, personal and collective. While the disruption and violence put in motion by the Pluto Saturn opposition rocked foundations, personal and collective, to the core, the motivation behind those egregious acts isn't new. The primitive urge to harm another in order to survive is a part of the human condition, and the key to healing that theme lies in the individual desire to live a peaceful life. Mass movements don't change human nature. True revolution takes place one heart at a time.

November 28, 2001
The week is a balancing act. On one side of the scale, mundane life crackles with activity, as power plays, big and small, punctuate the days. On the other side, a quieter, but no less powerful force pulls away from the secular toward the spiritual. Finding the still point between these diverse energies won't be easy, especially if you're in the grip of too much to do and not enough time. And while most of us are simply exhausted from psychic, emotional, or physical stress, a sense of duty is apt to keep routines in motion. But it is possible to honor external responsibilities without denying or ignoring internal needs. Schedule the time to honor the subtler currents of the week, and you'll replenish your 3-D reserves as you simultaneously restore your spirit.

The Uranus Mars conjunction continues pumping action, generating surprising developments of all kinds, personal and collective. Uranus loves upheaval, Mars loves movement, and when they join forces premature action is probable. We've been under this willful influence for a week, and now as Uranus and Mars separate, the release is apt to fray that one last healthy nerve. Try not to let tension motivate impulsive behavior. Act if you must, but also know when enough is enough. Rather than dissolve in a personal meltdown, make an effort to cooperate.

Unfortunately, finding the ground of compromise won't be easy. Pluto conjuncts the Sun, amping up a hunger for power and a need for control. What's more, Saturn opposes both the Sun and Pluto, fueling a desire to strictly enforce rules of all kinds, even when those restrictions defy common sense. Be patient with those less compliant, particularly if you're blustering with charge and insisting on your way and your way only. Saturn is apt to turn opinions inflexible. So rather than ossify, soften. The situation may be serious, but a stern approach will only promote equally rigid resistance.

Fortunately, Neptune sextiles Mercury and the Sun, broadcasting increased empathy and compassion. Neptune aims our sights on the mystic, and when it forms a positive relationship with the Sun and Mercury, spiritual concerns rise to the surface of consciousness. This positive alliance supports a sympathetic mindset and enhancing intuition and insight.

Here, in the Northern Hemisphere, this week and the next several weeks are the darkest days of the year, just before the Solstice, when the roots of life gather strength and prepare for the next cycle. This year, don't let the distractions of the modern holiday season distort its true meaning. Instead, attune to a truer power. 'Tis the season of faith, when we celebrate the renewal of light and hope--something we could all use right about now.

November 21, 2001
Unpredictable. That's what life is. And while it's true, we've spent the last several weeks in a state of uncertainty, this week, the stars instigate unexpected plot twists. As the ethers ping with surprise, it's important to keep in mind, this charged air isn't necessarily negative. Sudden inspiration is just as likely as sudden setback. Just be aware, nervous systems, already overloaded and hungry for rest, are apt to overreact from over-stimulation. Anticipate a restless attitude, but try to avoid rash acts born of impatience. Impulsive movement might feel satisfying for a moment, but the benefits could fizzle out in the blink of an eye or, more importantly, make you careless or cavalier. If you're external world starts wobbling, seek the safety of solid, internal ground. Take as much time as you need to consider your options, no matter how boring those plodding steps might feel.

Mars spends the week moving into a conjunction with Uranus and this close coupling stimulates unstable air. Uranus symbolizes shift. Mars represents the ego. Uranus is the God of Revolution. Mars is the God of War. Uranus represents the power of the unexpected. Mars, the power of the will. Together, they produce prodigious, often volatile energy. What's more, Mars marches to a military drum as Uranus amps-up a fighting spirit, which means skirmishes, big or small, personal or collective, are likely. But try not to use this agitated atmosphere as an excuse for violence. Instead, notice what needs to give. Then, use the innovative, ingenious power of Uranus to invent positive solutions to stagnant situations. Just be aware, the combined force of Uranus and Mars feeds a need to hurry, which is why this configuration is also a signature of accidents. Avoid extreme sports and if you're driving, take your time.

In America, Thanksgiving marks the threshold of the holiday season, when emotional tides tend to run high. This year, feelings of all kinds flood celebrations and ceremonies, making meltdowns probable. The next few weeks are also the time of year best spent in contemplation, pondering a year's worth of experiences. 2001 opened on a note of emotional healing, and the first six months confronted many of us with a personal retrospective. For some, that review offered opportunities to heal the past. For others, it provided closure and a chance to move on. 2001closes on an emotional note as the trauma and grief set in motion on September 11 continue to stir heart and soul. For some, the pain of that day is still palpable. For others, the shock waves awakened old, seemingly unrelated wounds, still painful despite the passage of time. Psychic injuries need gentle treatment, as do hurting hearts. No matter how fast the external world might move this week, there's no need to hurry through this healing process.

November 14, 2001
The stars strike a dominant chord, this week, and determination defines the days. For some, this straightforward force serves as a welcome shift from indecision. For others, this strident air stimulates a military mode, feeding aggressive action. For still more, this decisive atmosphere feels too dynamic, particularly if you're feeling pressured to make decisions you're not quite ready to make. Rather than let the power of the week compel you into accelerated maneuvers you're not quite prepared for, honor your own rhythm. Find a comfortable personal pace and you'll accomplish your goals without compromising your integrity.

Mars assumes the leading role in this week's astro drama, as it trines Saturn, exact on Thursday, and sextiles Pluto, exact on Saturday. There's nothing namby-pamby about Mars, and when it combines its strength with the discipline of Saturn and the power of Pluto, the air hums with authority and purpose. A positive alliance between Mars, Saturn, and Pluto set sights on specific goals, and provides enough juice to work through the days completely oblivious to the clock. Just try not to overextend. Even the Energizer Bunny needs to recharge. What's more, these astro superpowers generate enough ambition to conquer the world. If you're at the helm, try not to impose your personal agenda. Not everyone will share your need to succeed, so be careful about turning bossy or combative. If you're the worker bee, be prepared to work harder, but also expect to feel an increased ability to get the job done.

As Mars forms a perfect union with Pluto and Saturn, it provides a release valve for the tension generated by the on-going Pluto Saturn opposition. Because Mars is the planet of war, this vortex is decidedly militaristic, but you don't need to be enlisted in an actual army to feel this militant pulse. Battles over all sorts of issues are likely as people everywhere fling open their doors and windows, shouting, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not taking it anymore." Collectively, the combined potency of Mars, Saturn, and Pluto escalates military action everywhere war is being waged.

Mars also squares Mercury and the rattle of this fractious interaction heightens an already belligerent environment. As Mars and Mercury clash, minds turn critical, conversations, grumpy, and grousing becomes common place. Try not to get caught up in hypercriticism. Stay patient and understand lots of us are simply exhausted from the stress and unable to process the tension. Jupiter trines Mercury and that buoyant partnership offers a bit of optimistic relief.

This week, instead of engaging in combat, channel your efforts into peaceful endeavors. Stay focused, and you can use the power of the week to make positive personal progress.

November 7, 2001
It's out of confusion and into movement, this week, as the stars align along a different grid. Don't mistake this new pattern for a return to normal. We're not out from under the threat of war, and as the week unfolds, a militant attitude prevails. If you feel a call to arms, try not to act in haste. High-pitched adrenal alert tends to exhaust the nervous system, and when we're tired, overwhelmed, and overloaded, premature action tends to backfire. Frankly, this week is a good week to take a break from the intensity and get some rest. There's plenty action on the horizon, and those days are best greeted with a rejuvenated mind and body.

Several sources contribute to the energetic shift. First, Mars separates out of its conjunction with Neptune, and marches right into a sextile with Pluto and a trine with Saturn. The combined influence of Mars, Pluto, and Saturn provides the power for hard work and endurance. Take note: These three kings also signal increased military maneuvering. Mars is the principle of war, and as it mixes with the cold force of Pluto and Saturn, attitudes are apt to turn hostile. Mars easily assumes the role of solider, protector, and angry citizen. Be sure to breathe deeply and consider peaceful alternatives before this hostile force moves you into a belligerent attitude.

Next, a Uranus Sun square amps up this aggressive atmosphere, fueling a revolutionary spirit. Don't be surprised if you're eager to break free from stagnant situations. On a personal level, this "Gotta be me, gotta be free" refrain translates into decisions and declarations you might later regret, particularly if those proclamations are made as a reaction to recent stress rather than based on a thoughtful process. Collectively, this impatient force also contributes to an increase in military operations, organized or otherwise.

The trauma of September 11 continues generating aftershocks. On a personal level, emotional, mental, physical and spiritual ground might still feel shaky. From a collective perspective, the economic and political ramifications seem to have a life of their own, particularly as the leaders of the world make their stand, and draw lines in the sand. This intense atmosphere makes it hard holding fast to a peaceful stance, especially if inner battlegrounds are still unexamined. Living a peaceful life, inside and out, requires a conscience, capable of self-examination. A peaceful life also requires conscious awareness of the interdependent nature of existence. We're all in this thing called life together and each of our thoughts, words, and deeds contributes to collective reality. This week, as the stars stir the warrior in all of us, notice where you're still at war within yourself and how those hostilities express themselves in daily life. Then, renew your efforts to negotiate an internal armistice, and try to let that inner accord inform a compassionate approach to external events.

October 31, 2001
Intense astral winds blow through the week, stirring an already unsettled environment. As these gusts impact daily life, external vision could become unreliable. One moment is clear with insight, but the next is overshadowed by doubt. Maintaining perspective in the midst of these currents requires strong inner vision, aimed at the big picture. What's more, this week's turbulent forces are too powerful to be controlled. Rather than spend the days trying to force a specific outcome, surrender to what is. Just don't confuse letting go with capitulation. This isn't about defeat. It's about developing resilience. Insisting will deplete your resources. Surrendering supports a positive attitude capable of staying open to the possibilities. Of course, prayers for peace are always powerful no matter what the psychic climate might be, as are kind and compassionate words and deeds.

Several planetary sources contribute to this week's complex weather. And frankly, there's simply no telling how the energies will play out. In part, the uncertainty of the week is due to the influence of Uranus. Uranus went Direct October 30, and as Uranus moves forward, it gains momentum. Uranus lives to be free, and this love of freedom encourages spontaneous acts of independence, personal and collective. The shadow side of this need for action is action for action's sake, regardless of the consequences. If you're feeling the need to leave a job, relationship, or other situation try considering the long-term impact of your actions before you make the break. You might discover, upon reflection, a deeper source of irritation, triggered, but not dependent on your current circumstances. From a collective perspective, Uranus amps-up an already too urgent atmosphere.

This restive Uranian force builds momentum just days before the next exact opposition of Pluto and Saturn on November 2. The tension generated by the Pluto Saturn opposition polarizes along the axis of conflicting ideologies. Pluto is in Sagittarius, the sign of belief systems--all belief systems--and as Pluto probes the validity of these systems, it illuminates the shadow of fundamentalism. In the face of too many ideas, too much diversity, or too much contradiction, the notion of one way and one way only offers the supposed security of simple answers. Unfortunately, fundamentalism as a coping mechanism for existential angst tends to devolve into a myopic viewpoint, intolerant of other points of view. Too often, this fanaticism turns to violence as a way of eradicating opposing systems.

Saturn is currently in Gemini, the sign of information. Saturn wants limitation, restriction, and constriction as an antidote to Pluto's disturbing investigation. Saturn is the voice of authority and it doesn't likely dismantling its rules and regulations. On the negative end of Saturn's spectrum, fear promotes rigid resistance, and this insistence often translates into a judgmental, critical attitude, intolerant of change.

Fear is a signature of this Pluto Saturn opposition, which means we're being asked to face what we're most afraid of, personally and collectively. While some prefer never to mention fear, others find it impossible to deny. Squelch fear in an effort to make it disappear, and it will inevitably find other ways of expressing itself. Misplaced anger, intolerance, depression, are just a few of the symptoms of displaced anxiety. When we face fear and process it through, anxieties often transform into expanded awareness and self-knowledge. "Our greatest fear is fear itself" is as true today as the day it was first spoken. In the chaos since September 11, many among us are afraid to speak their truth because they are afraid of being unpatriotic. Peace is never an unpatriotic position. And while it's been said a trillion times, dissent is the backbone of democracy. Just because your neighbor isn't flying the flag or is opposed to violent retaliation, doesn't mean they love their country less or experience less grief over the loss of life.

Unfortunately, this week, we're still in a miasma of apprehension, as Neptune continues its conjunction with Mars. Neptune represents the principle of imagination and when it shares the same space with Mars, they produce a peculiar lack of energy. Don't let this conjunction paralyze your determination to make positive courageous progress. While external circumstances may feel overwhelming, internal conditions can remain solid and centered.

Last night, as I was once again wondering what I would write, an angel came to me, disguised as a New York City cab driver. As we taxied through Central Park, we discussed the events of September 11. And the angel said, "That day just broke my heart. And I'm still reeling from the pain. Sometimes I cry when I talk about it. It just hurts so much. My father worked on the Trade Center," he continued, "and as a boy, I helped him. And now, it's just gone." Then the angel described a friend's reaction. "My friend just keeps looking over his shoulder, jumping at the sound of sirens. And I keep asking him how do you feel. But he can't tell me. All he does is tell me what he's doing. He never tells me about what's happening, here," pointing to his heart, "where it still hurts."

Each of us handles a broken heart the best we can. Some of us become defended. Some of us collapse. Others pretend it never happened. A few seek revenge. And still more accept the reality of the pain, and then, muddle through, searching for answers, trying to remain aware and open all at the same time. There is no right way to process the enormous grief we feel as individuals, as a country, as a planet. This week, as powerful winds of change continue blowing through the days, just keep asking yourself, how you feel, and let the truth of those feelings steady your internal ground of being and guide your choices.

October 24, 2001
This week, and next, paranoia strikes deep, poisoning the atmosphere with apprehension. The collective aggregation of fear grows daily, making it hard to hold the clear vision of a hopeful heart. As the Pluto Saturn opposition probes the shadows of the soul, both personal and collective, the once solid ground of daily life turns boggy with trepidation. Demons, real and imagined, hamper positive progress, and whether these monsters are external or internal they seem to exert a superhuman power. Several factors magnify collective dread, making it difficult--but not impossible--to stay calm. Reach for the broadest possible perspective and then, let the big picture help you stay grounded. Earth has survived countless Pluto Saturn cycles, and as always on this free will planet, the choices we make determine the outcome. Choose to constrict in paralysis, and the waves of fright are overwhelming. Choose to believe in life, and each breath helps to dissipate the dread. This week, refuse to be infected by fear. Instead, concentrate on trust. Listen to your heart. Rely on its truth. And whenever possible, comfort those with lesser strength and stamina.

A Neptune Sun square is the source of the deepening paranoia. Neptune is the Trickster, and its negative domain is part projection, part deception, and lots and lots of confusion. As Neptune squares the Sun, it produces gaseous mists, turning perception cloudy, making it difficult to discern concrete reality. Apparitions appear and disappear, and then appear again. A Neptune Sun square also gives birth to hypersensitivity, increasing susceptibility to suggestion. This is unfortunate, because as this week and next week unfold, we're likely to experience a rash of hoaxes aimed at exploiting the already traumatized collective psyche. These cruel pranks could have a devastating impact on nervous systems. So, again, make every effort to strengthen your connection to the transcendent. Listen to soothing music. Commune with nature. Delve into a creative project. But try to avoid addictive substances as a way of numbing out. Neptune square the Sun feeds the additive appetites, so instead of indulging, find healthy ways of managing the stress.

Mars is still square the Sun and continuing to charge the air with animosity. On Sunday, Mars enters Aquarius, and by Tuesday, Mars moves into a conjunction with Neptune. Mars is the principle of decisive action. Neptune is the principle of diffusion. As Neptune blurs Mars' vision, direct action turns murky and specific goals evaporate in the confusion. The ethers turn moody, and we turn even testier with frustration. But that's not all. A Neptune Mars conjunction also fuels a suspicious attitude--something we don't need right about now. Don't rush to conclusions or project your fears onto others.

A huge component of the zeitgeist is the collective gathering of fear. This group anxiety has a life of its own, and it grows daily as individual concerns mount and each new episode stirs a sense of trepidation. Neptune rules imagination, and the combined imagining of so many distorts and amplifies personal disquiet. Don't become mesmerized by worry. What's more, because Neptune also encourages mass fascination, over the course of the next two weeks, the power of this collective dread gains momentum. As the terrible consequences of September 11 are magnified through this Neptunian lens, the media, obsessed with every conceivable possibility, pulses with a hypnotic effect, exacerbating mass hysteria. I'm not an anti-information. But dwelling on dread only increases its power. Break the spell of this constant blaring negativity by turning off your television or radio. Focus on the simple tasks of the day. Make mindfulness a daily practice and your internal immunity to the constant barrage of threats and scares will start to increase.

On October 30, Uranus goes Direct. When Uranus changes direction, the ethers shiver from the energetic disturbance. Uranus fuels an urge for freedom, personal and collective. As Uranus makes its course correction, it trines Mercury and Venus, both conjunct in Libra. Normally, this positive contact bodes well for unfettered minds, able and willing to consider alternative viewpoints. But in light of current conditions, this trine is likely to fill the sails of zealots everywhere with the hot air of rhetoric and the need to take a stand. As this Uranian need for action coalesces with the mounting collective dread, the air turns thick with foreboding. Uranus thrives on surprise, which means there's simply no way of knowing how this energy is likely to manifest. Of course, nothing could happen, and that would be the best surprise of all.

This week and next, it's important to take each day as it comes, committed to transforming fear into valor. It's as if we're stumbling through the marshes of Mordor, and each step through the putrid terrain awakens another terrifying ghost. Those humble hobbits saw the grim and noble faces of orcs, elves, and men trapped in the dark mirror of that noxious swamp. And though the stagnant waters filled them with dread, they moved forward, one painstaking step at a time, resisting the toxicity of fright. We're are on a similar mission, and while it's hard being brave in the face of so much fear, just as Frodo and Sam summoned the strength to go on, we, too, must accept the challenge of courage.

October 17, 2001
I spent the entire night, last night, October 9, in the Emergency Room at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, at my own personal ground zero. I've been in New York since September 28. A family crisis called me back home and I'm certain others facing similar situations, are also returning to this shaken city. The shock waves of September 11 still reverberate, and for many, the impact is physical. Heart attacks, strokes, bad backs, kidney failure, all signs of somatic trauma are occurring everywhere, not just New York, as we continue to process the stress.

As I stood outside the hospital at 3:00 AM, waiting for my 82-year old stepfather to be admitted to the third hospital in almost as many weeks, I wondered what I would write. Another Mercury Retrograde column, offering advice about circumventing computer hassles seemed irrelevant, especially as I contemplated my stepfather's condition and how my 81-year old mother was handling the tension. But a snappy retrograde column seemed particularly superfluous as my attention was drawn to the walls and doors of the hospital. They were covered with pictures of loved ones&emdash;mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, sisters, brothers, and children&emdash;lost In the World Trade Center disaster. I'd seen those flyers on the news, and while heartbreaking at a distance, up close and personal, the pain and grief became palpable.

In the middle of the night, I felt the casualties of our current holy war. You don't have to be a rocket scientist or even an astrologer to recognize the world is caught in the grip of a massive, grinding global shift. The Pluto Saturn opposition is an energetic component of this cyclone of change, and a historical study of previous hard Pluto Saturn configurations reveals the potency of this volatile combination.

But beneath the movement of the stars, the unfathomable journey of human life continues. As the I Ching teaches, life expands and contracts. That's all it does. We get born and we die. And what happens in between&emdash;who we love, how we love, and what we make of our lives&emdash;isn't necessarily dependent on our ideology. A capitalist loves as deeply as a communist, and the loss of a child is as devastating to an Israeli mother as it is to a Palestinian mother. Under the rhetoric, death rips a hole in your heart and no matter what language you pray in, that gaping wound only hurts.

How we live is what matters. Taking the time to touch another heart is what endures. Just as the people in the World Trade Center counted on doing what they always did that dreadful day, most of the people in the Emergency Room last night didn't wake up in the morning expecting themselves to be on a gurney. Most of us don't anticipate something horrible happening, which is why we're so shaken when it does. We simply live life as it comes, reaching for whatever will make us happy, never thinking about how tenuous life truly is.

Muslim, Christian, Atheist, Jew, Buddhist, or Hindu, the mystery of life is exactly the same. We can cling to a philosophy or ideology, religious or secular, and insist we're right, but when someone we love is suffering, a soothing touch has more power than a slogan and a kiss generates greater healing than a vote.

Free, enslaved, destitute, or prosperous, no matter what age, size, shape, race, or gender, war harms life. Statistics don't feel pain. People do. Animals do. The Earth shudders with each and every blow. And the truth of that undeniable, specific, individual pain cuts through the illusion of opinion and righteousness to reveal the fragility of human life.

The Pluto Saturn opposition illuminates the shadows of that frailty. Pluto is in Sagittarius, the Sign where we struggle to make sense of the human condition. Its symbol is the Centaur, who represents the challenge of synthesis. His arrow reaches for the stars. His body walks on all fours. This is the conundrum of being human. Our consciousness perceives the possibilities of greater understanding. Our instincts pulse to primitive and primordial urges. There is no one belief system capable of containing or explaining the vastness of human experience and at the same time, any belief system, lived with the desire to honor life itself, becomes a path to enlightenment.

Saturn is in Gemini, the Sign of information. Symbolized by the Twins, Gemini represents the dual nature of reality. There's always another side. There's always more to know. But it's all too easy to be overwhelmed by too much information, especially when we lack the skill to sort through the data and discern what's important and what isn't. We live in the Information Age, where we can access and download the facts about anything--bombs, munitions, flight simulators, as well as cutting edge medical information capable of saving life. As this enormous expansion of knowledge collides with our primitive drives, it's exacting a terrible toll. But it's not the information that's scary. What's frightening is our inability to integrate the data and turn it into wisdom.

My stepfather is a man of character and principle. He's lived his life with a sincere desire to make a difference in the world. Now, as he faces the limitation of the body, his desire to be of service is honorable and his philosophy valuable. But last night, as he waited in the hallway of the hospital, what brought him peace was holding the hand of the woman he loves and feeling the comfort of her presence. Ideas, no matter how deep, are machinations of the mind. Hearts know the truth.

October 10, 2001
Frustration underscores the week, as diverse planetary forces generate contradiction, making it hard to maintain a consistent stride. It's hurry up and race to the end, one minute, and slo-mo rewind, the next. Try not to let the clash of these conflicting rhythms make you crazy. It's a dissonant week, and you'll only add to the strident tone by insisting your agenda is the most important one. Instead of fighting what is, surrender, and consider the notion of providence. Then, try turning the challenge of delays, interruptions, and disappointments into a trust exercise. If you do, you'll not only maintain your mental health. You'll simultaneously deepen your relationship with the Greater Flow.

The on-going Mars Sun square pulses to a fractious beat. Mars is the planet of aggression. It's eager to compete and determined to win. Currently in Capricorn, the Sign of down-to-earth practicality, Mars is focused on achieving its goals&emdash;it wants results and wants 'em now. The Sun is in Libra, best known as the Sign of balance and harmony. But the shadow of Libra's need for equipoise, is the tendency to deliberate over every choice. Libra takes its own time, considers every move, and while this hesitation can be wise, it can also mask procrastination. What's more, Mercury, Retrograde in Libra, is conjunct the Sun increasing the need to ruminate over the details. As this retrograde energy combines with the infamous Libra need to weigh decisions, Mars melts down in a puddle of frustration. Expect battles of will over all sorts of situations, large and small, important and unimportant.

Adding a jarring rhythm, Uranus trines the Sun and Mercury amping up a need for action&emdash;and lots of it. Uranus is devoted to freedom, and when it trines the Sun, unilateral declarations of independence are likely, personal or collective. Keep in mind, this dynamic force isn't partial to a particular ideology. Revolutionaries of every ilk respond to its potent influence.

We're still caught in the repetitive tape loop of Mercury Retrograde, which means communication, computer, and commuter snafus also pepper the days. Mercury Retrograde does slow the pace of life, but this week, its retrospection feels antithetical to the free spirited energy of Uranus and toxic to the ambitions of Mars. Push ahead, but remember, projects of all kinds started under Mercury Retrograde take a long time to bear fruit.

Unfortunately, the tension generated by the on-going Pluto Saturn opposition continues fueling fear and contraction, turning the atmosphere heavy with anxiety. When fear and frustration mix, worries of all sorts float to the surface. Try not to succumb. Address your distress. Journal, meditate, exercise, process with friends, or go to therapy. There's no need to let apprehension fester. Remember, the core of Pluto Saturn contains seeds for great leaps of growth.

As frustration rumbles through the week, impatience is apt to motivate lots of acting out. Rather than engage in melodrama, make a renewed commitment to kindness. A gentle attitude goes a long way toward soothing the fevers of stress.

October 3, 2001
It's another complicated week, here, on Planet Earth. As the stars align in intricate patterns, we engage in complex interactions, and hours of the day seem to short to handle all that needs doing. Unfortunately, in the midst of this already stretched atmosphere, we're also in the grip of Mercury Retrograde, which means in addition to feeling overwhelmed, you're also likely to be frustrated. You'll need patience to handle the hassles--and lots of it--so do whatever it is you do to stay calm and centered.

Mercury is in its final retrograde phase of the year. It went retrograde on October1 and it stays retrograde until late in the day on October 22. For those of you just arriving in Astro Land, Mercury rules all things related to communication and travel, and when Mercury seemingly moves backwards, snafus, delays, and interruptions abound. Allow extra time for your commute. Be prepared for computer crashes. Also anticipate contractual dawdling. Don't be surprised if you find yourself in a tape loop of repetition. Pushing this Mercury Retrograde River by insisting on immediate results and satisfaction will only make you crazy, so take your time.

Mercury Retrograde is always an invitation to slow down and it is best spent reflecting and reconsider. Ordinarily, October is the energetic harvest season, when we review the first nine moths of the year, cull through our experiences, and prepare for what lies ahead. Mercury Retrograde amplifies this process, and in light of all there is to contemplate, right about now, this retrospective feels appropriate, if not welcome.

A T-square between Jupiter, Mars, and the Sun generates strife, as it produces a tendency toward extravagance. Stay moderate and try not to use excess of any kind as a way of assuaging your frustration. What's more, this entire bundle stimulates a need for action, making it all too easy to jump headlong into rash deeds, words, or decisions. As this impulse for activity collides with the snail pace of Mercury Retrograde, you're likely to grind your teeth or pound the desk. Before you do injury to yourself or others, find healthy ways of expressing your restlessness.

The Pluto Saturn opposition continues radiating waves of tension, but this week, there's a break in the broadcast signal, as the Sun trines Saturn and sextiles Pluto. A Saturn Sun trine supports modesty and the need for quiet contemplation. Use this energy to steady your center and don't hesitate to devote a portion of your day to introspection. A Pluto Sun sextile is a highly creative alliance capable of opening a portal into a deeper understanding of power, personal and collective.

Use this week to dig down deep and expand your self-awareness. The last several weeks surfaced enormous anxiety, and while external uncertainty still hangs in the air, we don't have to become hostages to fear. I'm not suggesting you interrupt your sorrow--authentic healing takes its own time. But finding and building the courage to face fear opens us to a heightened state of clarity, and that lucid state strengthens the heart, enabling us to embrace life with renewed vitality.

September 26, 2001
Waves of emotion continue to ripple across the collective pond, as the shock of recent weeks echoes through the ethers. Trauma always taints the air with fear, turning us hyper-vigilant with uncertainty. Even if you're not experiencing the obvious symptoms of stress, don't underestimate the power of this psychic disturbance. What's more, don't be surprised if you find yourself revisiting personal experiences, seemingly unrelated, but fraught with similar feelings of anxiety. Although the advice about returning to normal is well intentioned, it may be too soon to settle down. We're still in shock, and declarations of any kind won't wipe away the tears, especially if those proclamations exacerbate a sense of danger and promise to prolong the violence.

The influence of the stars mirrors the complexity of our situation. The Mars Sun square continues amping up agitation. Mars is the planet of War, and when it butts heads with the Sun, the sparks of their fractious relationship stimulate the need to fight. Anticipate quarrels of all kinds, justified or unjustified. Take your stand, if you must, but be aware everyone is feeling testy. Jupiter opposes Mars, generating energy--and lots of it. This dynamic configuration also produces a tendency toward exaggeration and excess. Harness the power of this opposition, and you'll find the strength to accomplish your goals. Fall prey to extremes, and you're likely to over-extend and exhaust your resources.

Beneath the Sun, Mars, and Jupiter commotion, lies a quieter force and the source of this hush is two fold. First, Mercury goes Retrograde on October l, and this week, as Mercury "turns around" time seems to stand still. For those of you new to Mercury Retrograde, here's the Reader's Digest version. Mercury rules all things connected to communication, travel, and negotiation. When Mercury moves in reverse, everything within its domain goes awry. Mercury Retrograde is not a good time to initiate new projects or buy a new car or computer. Also anticipate more than the normal delays commuting. Back up important information, now, and don't install new software until October 23. On the positive side of the spectrum, Mercury Retrograde slows the pace of daily life, inviting us to review and reconsider.

Second, and adding a somber tone to this reflective phase, Saturn goes Retrograde, today, and as Saturn retraces its recent steps, so do we. Saturn is a sober, serious force, and in light of current events, this retrograde cycle is likely to be melancholy.

While the on going Saturn Pluto opposition does surface fear, personal and collective, that doesn't mean we have to cringe in the constriction of anxiety. Even when hearts are heavy with suffering, it's still possible to push the envelope of consciousness and reach for the core of wisdom. Make every effort this week to acknowledge your emotional process through these "interesting" times. Allow feelings of external vulnerability to help you build a stronger sense of internal safety. Most importantly, as you make your way through the week, try to be kind. We could all use a little tenderness.

September 19, 2001
Simplicity underscores the week, as the impact of last week's events continues to reverberate through daily life and we struggle to make sense of the senseless. Tragedy strips away what's false, making what's essential all the more important. And as loss reveals the fragility of life, we appreciate the passage of time with increased sensitivity. Boring routines turn into touchstones. Loved ones, always precious, become cherished treasures. Allow these shock waves of grief their time. There's no need to hurry this process.

The stars, too, weave a simple pattern, but before interpreting this week's planetary interactions, there's something I need to clarify. Astrology is just one way among ten thousand ways of understanding life's mysteries. And it's important to understand the planets don't make specific events occur. If they did, everyone would believe in astrology and astrologers would rule. The heavens exert influence and then, we respond to those forces depending upon where we are in our personal evolutionary journey. Astrological configurations speak to energetic potential. The planets move in fixed cycles, making it possible to recognize probable manifestations. But it's our reaction to that potential that ultimately determines the outcome. One person may experience suffering under a particular influence and another may experience a breakthrough as a result of that very same energy. What's more, each of us creates our personal reality each day by our choices, often forgetting those choices contribute to a vast collective, where everyone's choices, positive and negative, coalesce and come forth as the complexity of life on Earth.

While it's possible to frame recent events through the lens of the on-going Pluto Saturn opposition, it neither wise nor prudent to use astrology as a way of explaining these tragedies away. The tension between Pluto and Saturn focuses on opposing ideologies, personal and collective, conscious and unconscious. Tension always needs release, which is why the Pluto Saturn opposition portends acts of violence. But this opposition also offers opportunities to move out of ancient polarized patterns of hatred and into a new paradigm of peace, capable of inclusion rather than exclusion, as a way of coping with our differences.

By the weekend, Mars squares the Sun, amping up an already angry atmosphere. Anger, too, is an important component of grieving because it provides a container for feelings we cannot contain. Nevertheless, it's crucial to stay with the truth beneath the feelings of rage and revenge and continue to mourn rather than act out in a harmful way. If you're having trouble finding healthy ways of expressing your outrage, seek the counsel of someone who can help you make this journey.

The week's to come challenge the capacity of our hearts, minds, and spirits to move forward with compassion. It won't be easy tolerating the stress. Even if you're committed to peace, those around you may not be, and the constant grating of opposing viewpoints is likely to rattle the nervous system. As an antidote to this agitation, make every effort to connect with what's transcendent, and allow what exists beyond the paralysis of fear and despair to inspire and restore hope.

September 12, 2001
There are no words capable of expressing the grief I'm feeling as a result of yesterday's tragedy. Manhattan is my hometown. America is my country. Earth is my planet. My eyes see the images. My ears hear the facts, information, and reports, but my body, heart, and soul can't accept and process what's happened. It's just too soon and it's simply impossible to grasp the reality of the horror.

As an astrologer, I've known the Pluto Saturn opposition portends this kind of violence and hatred. As a human being, I can't take in it. The devastation is too big.

My prayers, as your prayers, are with those suffering the physical effect of this catastrophe. Prayers are also needed for all of us reeling from the psychic impact. At this time of emergency, compassion is essential. The ground of daily life shifted, yesterday, and it's important to direct this movement away from hatred, toward peace. The world changes one person at a time and each of us has the power, no matter what the adversity we face, to keep our hearts open and loving.

As many of you know, the Aquarium Age is written well in advance of its publication date, which means what follows was written prior to the events of September 11, 2001. Since this week's column has already been published in several newspapers, I'm publishing it here, on-line, and privately, for subscribers. Please don't misconstrue these words as a response to yesterday's destruction.

 This week is a non-stop think-a-thon, as Mercury continues to alter the routines of daily life. Ideas flash across the mind offering opportunities for inspired solutions to ancient problems. Light bulbs of innovation appear over heads, dotting the astral landscape like pop-up bubbles jammed with information. This intellectual energy is so powerful you won't need a thinking cap to access its juice, but you will need your multidimensional antenna to harness its full thrust. Stay open to the possibilities no matter how impossible they first appear. Most importantly, believe in the power of creation and you'll set your mind free from whatever enslaves it.

A Uranus Mercury trine is the source of these intellectual-lightening bolts. Uranus is the Father of Invention, catalyzing creativity, as it heats up the caldron of change. Mercury is the Mental Yogi, governing ideas and information, as it simultaneously holds language and communication within its domain. But Mercury is more than just facts and words. Mercury is the only astro action hero capable of moving between heaven and hell in the blink of the mind's eye. Mercury's quicksilver movements defy gravity, inviting us to flex and stretch our mind muscles by exploring conscious and unconscious terrain.

When Uranus and Mercury unite, they foster adept intellectual flexibility. Use this trine to enhance your thinking process. If you're stuck in an entrenched position, frustrated either by your own role, or the role of others, this trine allows you to step into alternative perspectives. Put your position aside--even for a moment--and this Uranus Mercury produces the ability to consider a holographic reality. The circumstances won't necessarily shift, but your attitude will, allowing you to assume a different posture and breakthrough the bonds of habitual response.

From a transformational perspective, the pattern-busting presence of Uranus Mercury is the perfect remedy for the shadowy quagmire of the on-going Pluto Saturn opposition. This opposition challenges authority of all kinds--internal and external, conscious or unconscious. On the personal plane, the tension of this influence confronts the underbelly of compulsive behavior, surfacing the demons of fear, anger, sorrow, futility, or disappointment. Collectively, external dictators experience this dark undertow as the need to resist change and instead, hold fast to existing structures of power.

No matter where you're feeling the stress of the Pluto Saturn opposition, the Uranus Mercury trine opens up a portal of new awareness. If you're suffering at the hand of Pluto and Saturn, use the positive energy of Uranus and Mercury to probe the casual level. If you're witnessing the impact of this opposition on the lives of others, use Uranus trine Mercury to increase your understanding and compassion. If you're experiencing both positions, let this inventive force provide new insights and open up previously closed or shut down systems.

Of course, insight, alone, won't always change the circumstances, but a new perspective is a powerful first step toward shift. Action follows thought, and when we're willing to change our minds, anything is possible.

September 5, 2001
The planets stimulate a change of air, this week, providing a fresh perspective. As these energetic breezes blow through the days, attitudes open to new ideas and previously stagnant systems input new information. While most transitions are uncomfortable, this passage offers the promise of balance. The stars also stir activity, invigorating a back to school, back to work approach to the day-to-day tasks of life. Expect to be busy, but not frantic. This new atmosphere delivers a grounded determination to shepherd whatever you're working on to completion.

Several configurations contribute to this week's refreshing sensibility. At the top of the list, Mars moves into Capricorn on Saturday, ending its almost seven month sojourn through Sagittarius. As Mars moves out of the fiery intensity of Sagittarius, and into sober energy of Capricorn, we move out of passionate excess and into practical reality. Mars in Capricorn is definitely down-to-earth, delivering the stamina and endurance to achieve ambitions and reach goals. It may take a while to adjust or attune to this new frequency. While some may miss the excitement of the last seven months, others are apt to find Mars in Capricorn a welcome relief.

But the ardent need not fear. A Pluto Venus trine holds high the banner of desire, infusing the week with passion of all kinds. Venus is in Leo, the sign of romance and risk, Pluto is in Sagittarius, the sign of questing, and their coupling encourages adventure, with a special emphasis on falling madly in love. Just be aware, this trine also feeds obsessive or compulsive attraction, so avoid forcing your affection where it isn't wanted. If you aren't amorously inclined, channel this intensity into artistic pursuits. If you're not artistically gifted, visit a museum, take a gallery tour, or spend time simply appreciating the wonder of beauty.

Mercury supplies the next breath of fresh air as it intervenes in the on-going Pluto Saturn opposition. Mercury sextiles Pluto and begins a trine with Saturn on the 8th. Mercury's facile presence provides the first big breakthrough in the ponderous energy of this opposition. The Pluto Mercury sextile generates the mental prowess to ask big questions. Mercury's trine to Saturn makes finding answers to these queries possible, as it opens the capacity for logical, thorough examination. Don't hesitate to get deep. This trine will help you organize your thought process and find your way home. What's more, this entire configuration produces the skill to be philosophical and direct, all at the same time.

Mercury also squares Jupiter feeding a need to exaggerate. There's nothing dangerous about this fractious relationship, unless you suffer from more than your fair share of the blarney. Avoid boasting, bragging, or puffing up like a blowfish. Just stay honest about what you can and can't accomplish. On the positive end of the spectrum, this square provides a profusion of ideas, as well as a heaping dose of humor.

Let this astro change of air renew your spirit. Don't hesitate to breathe it in and experience a different point of view.

August 29, 2001
Energetic crosscurrents distort the passage of time, this week, creating peculiar daily rhythms. On the 3-D, too much fun causes certain hours to disappear too quickly, while burdensome tasks make others tick away at a snail's pace. Don't be surprised if you're confused by the contrasts. These riptides also have an emotional impact and adjusting to the constantly shifting flow could make you feel out of sorts. Instead of struggling to match the external, erratic beats of the week set your inner clock to a tempo suitable to your individual needs, and you'll ride the waves of the week with greater ease.

A Jupiter Sun sextile supplies the week's rapid stride and supports an active attitude. Jupiter likes expansion, the Sun loves life, and when they work in unison, the Sun and Jupiter produce a happy heart, eager for experience. Jupiter does tend toward excess, encouraging endeavors of all kinds--especially activities aimed at pleasure. Use this sextile to have a great time--revel even--but try not to over do or squander your energy.

A Neptune Venus opposition warps time in a completely different direction. When Neptune and Venus face off, we space out. Daydreaming flourishes under this influence as fantasies about the past or the future obscure the present moment. This opposition also turns the air hypersensitive. Illusion replaces reality, which means perceptions are likely to be based on projections. Before you make assumptions, check your facts. Keep in mind, a Neptune Venus opposition thrives on romantic imagination. As this influence coalesces with the excessive exuberance of the Sun Jupiter sextile, you could find yourself infatuated one moment and disappointed the next.

Once again, the on-going Pluto Saturn square provides the undertow of the week, and its pull is capable of producing waves of overwhelm. This week, Pluto, in Sagittarius, squares the Sun, in Virgo, as Saturn, in Gemini, also squares the Sun. Virgo is a naturally care giving sign and one of its shadow themes is learning to discern the difference between sacrifice and service. The Pluto, Saturn, Sun T-square amps up this lesson, as it highlights the notion that struggle is the surest way to success. Try not to let this cold, rigid influence degenerate into an attitude of renunciation or deprivation. If you're attached to the idea that suffering is noble, use this influence to reevaluate that pattern. Don't misunderstand. There's nothing wrong with hard work--it's just not synonymous with hard labor. What's more, any work expressed with joy, ripples across the pond of life with a lasting positive effect.

August 22, 2001
Surprising plot twists dot the landscape of daily life. Interruptions replace routines, new developments interfere with plans, and fresh information rearranges the details. While some of these sudden events could create strife, others are likely to clear the air. Surprises, positive or negative, tend to jolt nervous systems so do whatever it is you do to stay calm and centered in the midst of uncertainty. Fortunately, the planets are still providing abundant energy, which means there's plenty of strength and stamina to deal with whatever comes up.

The source of the week's upsets is the Uranus Mars sextile. Uranus loves upheaval, Mars thrives on challenge, and both represent an urge for freedom and independence. When they combine their efforts powerful change is possible, so don't be surprised if you or someone you love suddenly expresses the need to break free from an old, stifling pattern. This Uranus Mars sextile also generates the enough energy to accomplish your goals. If you've always wanted to be an athlete you may find yourself leaping off of the couch and onto the track. Or, you may suddenly experience the motivation to finally quit that job you just can't stand. If the combined power of Uranus and Mars feels like too much is happening to quickly, don't force yourself to do something you might later regret. For some of us, this sextile supplies the necessary might to move mountains, but for others the intensity translates into meltdown. Keep in mind, Uranus Mars contacts generate the need to hurry. Rush if you must, but remember, getting wherever you're going alive and in one piece is well worth being five minutes late.

A quieter, but no less powerful thread also underlies the week's activities, as Pluto continues its opposition with Saturn. Pluto is in Sagittarius probing the validity of belief systems, personal and collective. Saturn is in Gemini examining the structures of daily interaction as it simultaneously examines communication, again, personal and collective. This opposition is in operation for the next several months and as part of this long intensive, we're facing the shadows of habituation. Use this opposition to gain greater authenticity. Don't hesitate to question your habits. Are they based on true need, or are you functioning on auto pilot? Are you content with the status quo, or do you want a revolution? Do your words have meaning or are you skating on a veneer of charm?

If you need to stay focused in a specific area, the energy of the week could fray your nerve ends, especially if you're bored and longing for spontaneity, instead of concentration. As unspontaneous as this may sound, be disciplined about what you need to accomplish, but also set aside some time to take advantage of this week's surprises.

August 15, 2001
Daily life buzzes with action and interaction as the planets continue providing abundant energy. All week long, you're apt to find yourself zipping from one activity to another, and by the time the week is over, day planners look more like scorecards than calendars. Even if you're in the midst of a summer vacation and plan on taking it easy, you can count on being busier than expected. If you've got deadlines or goals that need attention, you'll need to stay focused and determined, because distractions of all kinds punctuate normal routines. Consider the week an event marathon and pace yourself accordingly. Try not to over-extend. Too much fun can be just as exhausting as too much drudgery. Use the dynamic forces of the week wisely and you'll enjoy a true sense of vitality.

Not too much has changed in astro land since last week and the same fiery configurations continue amping up the action. Mars, in Sagittarius, still trines the Sun, in Leo. Mars adores adventure and wants to get physical. The Sun loves life and wants experience. Allow this positive alliance to propel you out of your head and into your body, and you're likely to move out of the house and into nature. If you're allergic to grass, try the beach. If you're afraid of the water, take a trip to the mountains. Physically connect with this exuberant energy, and any lingering mental cobwebs will melt away. But if moving your body just ain't your thing, use this Mars Sun trine to move your spirit, instead. This courageous trine is a non-stop invitation to overcome difficulties and obstacles. Let Mars and the Sun invigorate your attitude and you'll not only take bigger bites of life, but you'll also have the stamina to digest your experiences.

That other dynamo of power, Uranus, still sextiles Mars and opposes the Sun. The Uranus Mars sextile produces prodigious energy and this power easily translates into additional strength. But don't get cocky. Uranus sextile Mars feeds the need for impulsive behavior, and because it urges haste, it's often associated with accidents. The Uranus Sun opposition creates an air of excitement, as it feeds the need for independence and freedom. A word of caution: This entire bundle has a peculiar relationship with the heart. So if you're out of shape, don't attempt a 10K race. Put to positive use, this intense energy supplies the power to catalyze what's stuck and move through obstacles and limitations. One more bit: Uranus thrives on surprise, so be prepared for a few unexpected plot twists.

If the planetary pace feels just a tad manic, instead of mimicking the stars find a stride that works for you, and you'll avoid crashing into the wall of overwhelm. Use the energy of the week to support what you want to do, when you want to do it.

August 8, 2001
It's a big, fat, juicy action packed week designed to stimulate a new attitude. The energetic climate still carries a powerful emotional charge, but this week, instead of feeling overwhelmed by the intensity, the emphasis is on handling it. The planets are aligned with vibrant fire, and their heat supplies the strength and stamina to both break through obstacles and move forward with renewed vitality. Expect to be busy--even busier than you already are. Also anticipate the determination to get the job done--whatever that job might be.

Several astro influences contribute to this week's dynamic atmosphere. First, Mars, in Sagittarius, trines the Sun, in Leo. This positive alliance makes muscles ripple with heartiness, so put that body in motion, and honor its need for activity. Hike, bike, swim, go to the gym, and give up your membership in the couch potato club. Just move and you'll feel better. What's more, a Mars Sun trine is ambitious. It wants and needs goals, which means it's the perfect antidote for procrastination or lethargy. Focus this force on specific tasks and by the end of the day, you'll feel a deep sense of accomplishment. A word of caution: this trine stimulates the courage to fight, especially when individual needs and desires are challenged, so try to be clear about when to take a stand and when to back off.

Amping up this feisty climate Uranus, in Aquarius, opposes the Sun, in Leo, as Uranus simultaneously sextiles Mars. This volatile bundle produces enormous energy and the overload often manifests as impulsive or impatient behavior. A Uranus Sun opposition yearns for freedom. A Mars Uranus sextile wants immediate results. On the negative end of the spectrum, this hasty combo often creates upset. On the positive end, Uranus, Mars, and the Sun, feeds a need for innovation and reform. Use this energy without regard to the consequences, and you could find you experiencing a surprising set back. Use it wisely, and you'll access the inspiration for innovation.

A Jupiter Venus conjunction in Cancer softens the hard edges of the week, as it provides a pliant, tender touch. This conjunction is a come-in-from-the-cold combination, offering and delivering sincere, warm affection. Let it nourish your love of love and you'll fill your home and heart with happiness.

Of course, the on-going Pluto Saturn opposition continues and the planetary fire of the week could ignite increased of upheaval, especially as authorities of all kinds struggle to maintain their positions. But for those among us interested in making positive strides, the week provides plenty of support to do just that.

August 1, 2001
Waves of emotion break against the shores of daily life, this week, as the Pluto Saturn opposition, exact on August 5, continues creating a highly reactive climate. Feelings surge through the days, as need clashes with desire, desire collides with reality, and a yearning for what's true challenges the safety of habituation. Riding these tides isn't easy. You'll need patience and skill. The good news is there's plenty of time to practice--this is just the first of three exact Pluto Saturn contacts over the next ten months. At the core, this opposition is an opportunity to move into a deeper, more inclusive consciousness. But before that awareness can flourish it's necessary to notice where you're resistant to change and where you're open to the possibilities of greater unity. Be authentic. Just because something looks like the "right" choice, doesn't necessarily mean it's the true choice. Listen to the murmurs of your heart, trust its truth, and then, let that wisdom guide you through these intense waters.

As this Pluto Saturn opposition gains strength it focuses on ideological differences, personal and collective. Pluto is in Sagittarius, the sign of belief systems. Saturn is in Gemini, the sign of information and communication. Pluto wants change. Saturn wants the status quo. What's more, Pluto is at the midpoint of its journey through Sagittarius, which makes Saturn's opposing energy an interesting synchronicity. It's as if Saturn is asking Pluto to focus, get real, and present concrete reasons why certain system should be overhauled. Pluto isn't the least bit interested in rationalizing or justifying its examination. Pluto is probing the power of convictions, whether those beliefs are personal, political, or spiritual. And Pluto wants ultimate truth, not relative truth dictated by the transitory demands of social mores or cultural tradition. Saturn resists Pluto investigation, justifying its rigidity as the voice of practical reality. While Saturn supports wisdom, it is also constricts in fear, and when Saturn is afraid, it clings to rules and regulations. You may find yourself insisting on things being done a certain way and only that way. If you hear yourself saying, "But that's the way it should be" you'll know you're positioned with Saturn. What's more, if you find yourself seeking revenge against those who don't agree with you, you'll know you're trapped in the negative energy of Pluto.

Collectively, Pluto Saturn struggles tend to manifest as an increase in violence, particularly in parts of the world where violence is, regretfully, already routine. Personally, petty despots thrive on the cold, hard edge of this energy, which means power plays pepper the days.

The best way to avoid getting caught in the undertow of this opposition is refusing to participate in cruelty or violence of any kind, with any one, including yourself. Make a list of all your grudges and have the courage to examine why you're still holding on to ill will. If you need a reason to release your rancor, just watch the news, and witness how ancient grievances still perpetuate hatred. You may not be able to bring peace to a foreign nation, but you can certainly call a cease-fire in your own heart.

July 25, 2001
The week unfolds at a peculiar pace, as a planetary hodgepodge creates energetic crosscurrents. Daily life bustles with activity, but tension brews beneath the surface. Some of the stars promote fun. Some cause confusion. Others produce intensity. As these various forces converge, you're apt to feel pulled in diverse directions. What's more, the hours of the day slip away as interruptions, necessary or unnecessary, break concentration. This scattered rhythm makes it hard settling down or settling in. So if you're feeling out of sorts and experiencing the need to whine, go right ahead. Sometimes complaining, even about nothing, just makes you feel better.

Here's the astro skinny.

First, Uranus trines Venus giving birth to a need for excitement and romance. Impulsive, sentimental attraction blossoms, and you could find yourself falling in love a dozen times a day. Keep in mind, Uranus Venus liaisons have a tendency to burn out as quickly as they flare up. That's doesn't mean you can't have fun. Just don't expect the fascination to endure. Uranus trine Venus also enhances artistic endeavors, stimulating a desire to experiment. Let your imagination run wild. Try new colors or a different instrument. This trine feeds unadulterated, free-spirited abandon. Allow it to catalyze your choices and you'll move out of the doldrums and into action.

Next and amplifying the powers of imagination, Neptune opposes the Sun, making us highly susceptible to suggestion. Be wary of schemes or situations that sound too good to be true because they are. Neptune loves playing the Trickster. A Neptune Sun opposition also produces an atmosphere of hypersensitivity, making us permeable to our surroundings. Avoid negative environments, especially if you're feeling a little down in the dumps. What's more, Neptune opposition the Sun often arouses the need for addictive substances. Find healthy ways of channeling this energy or you could find yourself in a state of constant craving.

Lastly, Pluto and Saturn tighten their opposition. As these two mighty titans continue to generate tension, we continue to experience the stress of polarization. But here's my moment of kvetching. I'm tired of writing about Pluto and Saturn, and I suspect that means you're just as tired of reading about it. So this week, I'm taking a break from the deep waters. Blame it on a Uranus Venus preoccupation. Call it a Neptunian space out. Chalk it up to feeling scattered. But sometimes even those who love to delve need to come up for air. If we don't, we lose perspective.

July 18, 2001
The Retrodrama of 2001 ends tomorrow, late in the day, when Mars goes Direct, ending its two-month plus retrospective. As Mars shifts its focus from the past to the present, so do we. The activities of daily life quicken with renewed vitality, shaking loose what was stuck or stagnant. Unfortunately, that Martian need to forge ahead runs headfirst into barriers and obstacles, as the ongoing Pluto Saturn opposition continues generating a highly--and I mean highly--resistive climate. Don't be surprised if you find yourself caught in power plays, your own or someone else's. Also be prepared for bristling egos, offended by even a hint of constraint. Finding and maintaining your center in the midst of these contrasting energies requires a healthy sense of self and an awareness of a greater Self. Do whatever it is you do to strengthen your spiritual connection, and let that alliance guide your choices.

At the core, Mars represents the principle of individuation. It symbolizes the process of having a self, separate and distinct from other selves. As part of its review, Mars led us on a journey of self-hood, internal and external, revisiting old people, places, and patterns. This trek also focused self-assertion, in all its complex manifestations. You may have found yourself cleaning up the past, making amends where due, or receiving those very same apologies. Now, as Mars moves forward, it covers the same path it followed during its retrograde, providing opportunities to integrate what we've learned and create positive resolution. We can't go back and rewrite the past, but we can make our current conduct congruent with who we are now.

While this Martian chronicle was strenuous, it was also the perfect preparation for what lies ahead. Pluto and Saturn will oppose each other for the next ten months, and their interaction is a minefield of egoistic encounters. Pluto is the principle of power. When its urges are unconscious, unprocessed, or unwholesome, Pluto's energy easily turns into a ruthless need to win at any cost. Saturn is the voice of authority, and when its edicts are challenged, Saturn turns stern and severe, diminishing what it can't control through punishing criticism. This opposition hardens hearts, creating a cold, harsh emotional environment. It won't be easy being flexible, especially about what you want and need. Even if you can keep your own appetite for power in reign, dealing with the ravenous hunger of others is apt to wear you down. Put to positive use, Pluto Saturn supports stamina and serious self-discipline. However, to derive beneficial results, you have to first pass through a series of tests designed to challenge the unbridled ego, unaware or unconcerned about the consequences of its actions.

This week, as the need for action crashes into a wall of resistance, take your time. There's no need to push. And as always, remember to treat your fellow travelers with respect.

July 11, 2001
The big wheel keeps on turnin' and the 3-D keeps on burnin' with intensity. For some, this energetic grind feels oppressive, as obstacles, internal and external, block progress. For others, the planetary abrasion rubs away what's unnecessary, making what's important impossible to ignore. For still more, the continuous astro pressure squelches free-spirited abandon. While it's impossible to eliminate the negative, this week, the stars do offer a bit of astro aid. Make every effort to accentuate the positive and you'll have an easier time handling the tension.

Here's the good news: Only eight more days of Mars Retrograde. Now, the bad news: As Mars changes direction, daily life slows to a snail's pace, and the seconds turn into minutes, minutes into hours, and an hour into an entire day. What's more, whatever you managed to deny or ignore during the course of this retrograde is likely to surface and demand immediate attention. The focus of Mars Retrograde is self-hood and as part of the process we've been examining issues of assertion, aggression, anger, and passion. Retrograde since the middle of May, Mars has revisited places, inside and out, where the self was fragmented or lost. Take some time during these last days to reflect on the impact of this retrospective. Do you have a stronger sense of self? Did you reclaim lost vitality? Are you determined to be all you all the time?

Saturn also throws its weight around this week. First, it conjuncts Venus. When Saturn and Venus share the same space, they give birth to disappointment and inhibition, especially when it comes to matters of the heart. Avoid being critical to yourself or others.

Second, Saturn tightens the grip on its opposition with Pluto. This opposition feeds cruel intentions, so continue monitoring your motivation, conscious and unconscious. If you find yourself needing to punish anyone--your lover, neighbor, parent, or pet, think twice before you indulge a hard attitude. I've said it before and I'll say 10,000 times over the course of this Saturn Pluto opposition--engage in violence, toward yourself or others, and that harmful energy will boomerang with lasting consequences.

Fortunately, Neptune trines Venus, softening the hard edges of the week by creating an inclination toward mystic pursuits and positive receptivity. Allow this dreamy, gentle energy to soothe your weariness.

Mercury and Jupiter move into Cancer, tomorrow, and their movement also adds a softer touch. As they focus their energy through the Cancer lens, the emphasis is on the home. Don't be surprised if you feel like hunkering down under the covers or if you're suddenly inspired to take on home improvements.

Most importantly, this Jupiter Mercury conjunction engenders a kind-hearted attitude sincerely interested offering comfort wherever it is needed. Reach out for help if you need it and don't hesitate to offer help where you can.

July 4, 2001
This week, and the next several weeks, unfolds with increasing intensity, as the pent up frustration born of the recent retrodrama collides with equally strong resistance. Power plays pepper the days, egos go unchecked, and a need to dominate motivates callous choices. You'll have to get out of your own way to handle this stress effectively, so make every effort to look beyond selfish concerns to find the Self in all things. You don't have to set the bar of daily life at a height only the Sainted can reach. But be aware, egocentric behavior is apt to backfire with serious repercussions.

Three key-players--Pluto, Saturn, and Mars--are the source of strife. When they negatively engage, we do, too. Here's how their dysfunctional relationship plays out.

This week, Saturn, in Gemini, begins moving into an opposition with Pluto, in Sagittarius. This opposition is cold and hard, producing an unrelenting need to have it your way--and your way only. Pluto is all about power. Saturn is all about limitation. Pluto wants control. Saturn wants the last word. Don't be surprised if you find yourself dictating demands. Also be prepared for despotic stipulations from others. Everyone wants to rule the world, and in lieu of establishing a universal domain, fiefdoms sprout up all over the place. On a personal level, anticipate calculated attitudes averse to even considering an opposing viewpoint. Also expect confrontations with authority figures, real or imagined. Collectively, zealots of all kinds thrive on the self-righteous discharge of this energy.

We're in the throes of this opposition until May 2002, which means we've got plenty of time to figure out how to transform this intensity into greater understanding and awareness. And there are respites along the way. But this week is the start of a ten-month astro enduro aimed at challenging egos of all sizes.

Mars plays a role in the first lap, as it continues to conjunct Pluto. This conjunction encourages ambition and doesn't hesitate to employ ruthlessness as a means of achieving success. If you experience a need to vanquish your opponent, instead of acting out, contemplate the source of your ire. Get in touch with where you're feeling so ineffectual you have to lash out at another in order to feel powerful.

This week, and the coming weeks, won't be easy. The overwhelming intensity of the Pluto Saturn opposition tests character, and the influence of Mars makes it all to easy to put your needs above all other. Yet it is possible to embrace this challenge and move out of the petty and into the meaningful. Fussing and fighting will only mire you in the mundane, so reach for a touchstone capable of reminding you of what's important. Immerse yourself in the transcendent and you'll deal with the temporal from a position of strength.

June 29, 2001
Functioning in the 3-D is slightly easier, this week. Mercury is finally Direct, which means the grueling intensity of constantly reviewing and reexamining the details is over. Telephones work at last, crashing computers settle down, emails lost in cyberspace appear in the appropriate in-box, and that pesky fax machine sends and receives the way it was meant to. Call me a cockeyed optimist, but the next few days offer the possibility of a respite from frustration. It's not that we're out of the woods. The planets are still dialing up difficulty, so don't expect daily life to be free from bumps and glitches. But that doesn't mean you can't use this week to rest, recuperate, and relax.

Mars is still Retrograde--only three more weeks to go--amplifying issues of selfhood, particularly ambition, assertion, and aggression. This week, Mars' reverse motion moves it into a conjunction with Pluto and that conjunction continues until the end of the retrograde. As Mars and Pluto share the same space, they generate tremendous power, but their conjunction isn't kind. In fact, it engenders an almost compulsive need to use force as the means of getting your own way, regardless of the impact on others. As this dynamic energy coalesces with the release of Mercury Retrograde tension, insistence is probable. It is possible to harness this power and aim it at specific goals, but you need to stay mindful of your intentions to handle it effectively. Brute force eventually backfires, especially now, because everyone else is apt to be feeling just as adamant about their own agenda. Soften your need to win, and make room for others.

Fortunately, Neptune trines Saturn, producing the potential for self-restraint and caution. Let this steady, spiritual influence feed prudence and patience. Take your time. The Mercury Retrograde roadblock may be history, but that's no reason to be hasty.

One more bit: Uranus squares Venus this week, giving birth to a deep need for personal freedom and independence. This square often makes relationships wobble. If you're in a good relationship, Uranus square Venus shakes out as positive changes. If you're relationship isn't built on solid ground, this square could break it apart. Uranus square Venus is also a highly creative partnership. Channel its energy into artistic projects and you'll experience the potent juice of inspiration.

Despite the lingering planetary tension, it's a good week to take a break from the intensity and catch your breath. Summer is here and these days made for play.

June 22, 2001
Contradiction and contrast continue coloring daily life. "Buts" cause confusion. Activities move to uncertain beats. The strain of frustration reaches the break point, and carefully contained feelings bust through barriers of restraint. Put simply, it's a mess. Fortunately, insight and revelation also continue to prevail, making it possible to find short cuts through this complex maze. You'll need a reliable internal compass to guide you through external obstacles. You'll also need a strong sense of humor, capable of laughing at life's ironies.

The source of this week's angst is many-fold. First, we're in the last lap of Mercury Retrograde--Mercury goes Direct late in the day on June 27. Don't get too excited. While relief from the tedium of details is in sight, as Mercury turns around, life seems to stand still. What's more, Mars, Retrograde until July 19, continues to oppose Mercury. This opposition taxes nervous system, creating the need to grumble. Complain, if you must. Whine, even. Just keep in mind, everyone has been under the strain of this irritable influence for the last several weeks. So as you bemoan your fate, be equally willing to indulge to the grousing of others.

The next stress contributor ups the emotional ante. The stars are moving out of their tightly held, polarized positions, which should make it easier to drop entrenched positions and rigid postures. But a Solar Eclipse on June 21 stymies this separation process, making it harder to access an easier attitude. During a Solar Eclipse, the Moon overshadows the Sun, and the unconscious takes center stage. As the tension of recent weeks releases, it converges with the untrammeled energy of the eclipse, making eruptions probable. What you managed not to say in the midst of the retrodrama might be the only thing you say, now.

Fortunately, Uranus provides catalytic conversion, as it continues trining Jupiter and Mercury. We love this astro combo because it inspires the desire for the biggest possible perspective. If you're lost in small-minded thinking, this trine can pull you out of the doldrums and onto the high seas of consciousness. Anticipate unforeseen solutions suddenly appearing on the horizon. Uranus loves surprises and when it unites with Jupiter and Mercury, miracles are possible, particularly if you're willing to reinvent your outlook. What's more, optimism flourishes, generating the necessary breath to explore your options. Expect something good to happen and it just might.

June 15, 2001
And the retrodrama goes on and on as the stars continue strewing the path of daily life with obstacles, big and small. Schedules fall apart. Plans get postponed. Two-minute trips to the grocery store turn into time intensive excursions. It's a hell-zone of reverse motion capable of making even the most compassionate among us lose that lovin' feelin'. But don't despair. This week, Uranus, that scene-stealer of shift, provides plot twists guaranteed to break the monotony of frustration. Don't expect complete relief. Do anticipate opportunities to access a new attitude.

This particular retrograde feels extreme because it is. Mars went Retrograde on May 11. Mercury went Retrograde in an opposition to Mars on June 3. While I'm willing to hold fast to my rule that all retrogrades are great opportunities to review the details, this retrograde is starting to feel too much like Ground Hog Day. I don't know about you, but if I cull through the fine points of certain situations one more time without the benefit of knowing the questions on Jeopardy, I'll lose my mind.

That's why I'm so happy Uranus is grabbing the spotlight. Uranus isn't interested in old. Uranus wants new. Repeat performances are passe to the Planet of Revolution. Yes, Uranus, too, is Retrograde, but that doesn't diminish its need for innovation. Uranus' backward journey started on May 29th and continues until Halloween. As Uranus retraces its path, it provides us with opportunities to change our minds--and that's just what minds are made for. Don't worry, this isn't about frivolous behavior, or capricious whim. Many times, the forward, impulsive nature of Uranus prompts rash decisions. Then, when Uranus revisits choices made in the heat of the moment, we have a chance to reconsider our commitment.

This week, Uranus moves into an exact trine with Jupiter, Mercury, and the Sun, and acts as a lightening rod for tension, catalyzing stress of recent weeks into a hunger for wisdom, knowledge, and hope. During a prolonged retrograde it's all too easy to become fixated by the same old story. Now, Uranus breaks that spell, inviting us to get deep and probe the causal level. Use the divine inspiration of Uranus to figure out why or where you feel stuck and how you got there.

Be aware, Uranus is still sextiling Chiron and Mars, generating the need for action. No matter how fast your mind may be moving as a result of Uranus trining Jupiter, Mercury, and the Sun, your body is still in retro-land. Don't expect the fruits of your insight to instantly shift your situation. Do have faith in your ability to finally grasp what needs to change.

June 8, 2001
Mercury Retrograde slows the pace of daily life, dotting the energetic landscape with delays, disappointments, and detours. Normal routines feel mired in molasses and unforeseen circumstances make it difficult to get anywhere in a hurry. Make sure you leave enough time to get there on time, and try not to lose your mind when everyone else shows up late. Reverse motion tends to grate nervous systems, so as the days play out, try to be as patient as possible. It's only the beginning of Mercury's retrospective, but this retrograde is particularly complex because several other planets participate in the rewind process making it much harder to muddle through. So get out your astro scorecard--you'll need one to track the action.

Mars is conjunct Chiron and both are Retrograde in Sagittarius. This conjunction focuses on issues of self-hood, specifically where self-assertion is wounded and in need of repair. Both Mars and Chiron oppose Mercury, in Gemini. This opposition engenders a faultfinding mindset. Notice what needs work, but resist the temptation to dwell on what's wrong. Also avoid being too critical of yourself or others. The Mars, Chiron, Mercury bundle breeds hypersensitivity, and this tenderness is apt to make even the "right" word sound judgmental.

The Sun is conjunct Jupiter, in Gemini, and by the middle of the week, both the Sun and Jupiter conjunct Mercury. Fortunately, when the Sun, Jupiter, and Mercury share the same space they produce an optimistic outlook. Unfortunately, Mars and Chiron also oppose the Sun and Jupiter, instigating excess and exaggeration. Commit to moderation, and use this energy to redefine your goals and aspirations.

All these oppositions and conjunctions constellate along the Gemini/Sagittarius axis. Gemini and Sagittarius are dual Signs and represent two-fold systems. Gemini is the Sign of the Twins. Its ruling planet, Mercury, is in charge of the mind and focuses the binary energy of Gemini on intellectual pursuits. Gemini loves gathering and sharing information, but struggles with applying all it knows. For Gemini, finding the facts is often juicier than the arduous process of integrating that knowledge. Sagittarius is the Sign of the Centaur. Its ruling planet, Jupiter, also enjoys collecting information. But Jupiter's quest differs from Mercury's. Jupiter wants wisdom capable of synthesizing the supposed split between instinct and reason and the struggle to make sense of the human condition often produces a profound sense of alienation. For Sagittarius, finding a system that satisfies intellect and intuition often generates despair until the focus shifts away from external evidence and concentrates, instead, on internal knowing.

Conjunctions consolidate energy. Oppositions generate tension. Mercury Retrograde amplifies this stress mess by making forward progress problematic. For some, the strain is aggravating and agitating. For others, retreat feels like the only viable solution. For still more, old information collides with new facts, exacerbating an already too confused climate. Instead of clinging, let go. Take a deep breath, and reach for wisdom capable of containing contradiction.

June 1, 2001
This week, and the next several weeks, are exercises in duality. Several planets polarize along the Gemini/Sagittarius axis, and the tension created by these oppositions generates a seesaw of contrasting agendas. Staying balanced in the midst of this stress won't be easy, so don't be alarmed if you're up one minute and down the next. What's more, Mercury, in Gemini, and Mars, in Sagittarius, are both retrograde as they oppose each other, which means we're also moving backward instead of forward. While this astro ride is bumpy with confusion, breakthroughs are possible, particularly as startling developments catalyze consciousness. Aim your efforts at increased awareness. Make "spectrum" your mantra and you'll step out of the tension of division and into the power zone of unity.

Mercury goes Retrograde on June 3 and stays Retrograde until June 27. For those of you new to Mercury Retrograde, here's the Reader's Digest version: Communication is Mercury's domain, which means when Mercury appears to be moving backwards, all things connected to communication also seem to move in reverse. Mercury Retrograde wrecks havoc with computers, telephones, faxes, and mail of all denominations. Do back up everything. Don't buy new software. Also don't expect to get anywhere quickly. Mercury governs the day-to-day movements of life and its retrograde makes traffic jams probable. This is not a good time to initiate new projects. If you can, wait. Mercury Retrograde is always best spent reviewing, reexamining, and reconsidering what's already in motion.

Mars Retrograde amplifies the slo-mo effect of Mercury. A Mars Mercury opposition irritates nervous systems, producing a restive environment. This impatience easily translates into a combative attitude. Try to avoid rash behavior. If externals thwart your ambitions, bide your time.

Uranus, also Retrograde, provides some much needed astro relief as it sextiles Mars, trines Mercury, and trines Jupiter. Uranus sextile Mars generates lots of energy. Unfortunately, the free flow of that tremendous force is blocked, so make sure you have healthy outlets for spending this excess. Uranus trine Mercury fans the fires of invention, providing intellectual flexibility--something we can all use in times of stress. Apply this ingenious energy wherever you feel stuck. You may not be able to act, but you will gain greater insight into how to solve the problem. Uranus trine Jupiter supplies a "Thank the Lord" attitude as it stimulates release of tension. Anticipate sudden realizations capable of unlocking old systems.

Back to the oppositions. Pluto, in Sagittarius, opposes the Sun in Gemini, exacerbating power struggles. Before you point a blaming finger or cement yourself in a self-righteous stand, take responsibility for your half of the situation.

Rather than mimic the planets' polarity, use the next few weeks as a mirror for self-reflection. If something or someone makes you nuts, examine your charge on the situation. Keep in mind, clinging to a dualistic perspective feeds a judgmental attitude. If one person is right, the other must be wrong. A multidimensional perspective feeds big-heartedness, as it bridges divisions, inside and out, and provide the possibility of common ground.

May 25, 2001
Mars Retrograde: Part Four
Waves of frustration pound against walls of routine as brooding clouds turn the climate confrontational. Overwhelm is likely. Emotional overload makes showdowns probable. Anticipate a great gnashing of teeth, especially if you're trying to move forward and make progress. Better to ride this backward tide than resist it, because this week, in addition to Mars Retrograde, Uranus, too, turns around. But (and there's no way to break this news gently) next week, Mercury goes Retrograde for nearly the entire month of June. As Mercury slows down in preparation for its second retrograde cycle of the year, the cosmic brakes go on. Daily life shudders from the strain of this non-stop stoppage. The best way to handle the stress is to hunker down, go within, and get comfortable revisiting previously covered terrain.

Mars Retrograde continues to focus on issues of selfhood and certainly selves are challenged when forward movement is blocked. But Mars isn't an introvert and doesn't much care for self-examination. Mars is a warrior. It's aggressive and when its ambitions are threatened, Mars gets angry. Unfortunately, most of us aren't skilled at expressing anger in healthy ways. We suppress, deny, or feel ashamed of angry feelings. That lack of skill often translates into passive aggressive behavior, a grudging nature, or the need to lash out in global rage, unaware or unconcerned with the consequences of our fury. What's more, the majority of us lack the tools to cope with the anger of others. We retreat, collapse, or become aggressive ourselves, meeting fire with fire. Anger is a powerful force, and while it can be dangerous, there are times when anger is appropriate. From a positive perspective, anger is an instinctual, healthy response against the injustice of having a self denied. Anger provides the backbone to say, "No". Expressed inappropriately, anger becomes harmful hostility aimed at dominating others. As the next few weeks unfold, angry outbursts simmer through the days. Backing off or backing down won't be easy. But before you start swinging, try probing your motivation. Does your ire stem from old, unresolved encounters? Or, does the current situation truly justify a fight?

Unfortunately, that Retrograde Mars opposes Mercury as Mercury prepares for its Retrograde. This opposition amplifies an already quarrelsome atmosphere. Expect rash behavior and irritable attitudes. You could find yourself grumbling about every little thing. Keep those patience pills handy. Rather than point a blaming finger, take responsibility, Remember, we're all in this together.

Uranus goes Retrograde on May 29 and stays that way until October 30. Uranus Retrograde ups the intensity ante by stimulating startling developments. While Uranus does catalyze change that doesn't mean the changes will hold. Break up under Uranus Retrograde and you might make up when Uranus goes Direct.

Collectively, we're in the grip of a mighty retro tractor beam, pulling us inexorably into the past. Positive personal moments are possible, particularly if you conserve your energy and spend it on simple pleasures.

May 18, 2001
Mars Retrograde: Part Three
Tension, frustration, and temper tantrums dot the landscape as Mars Retrograde continues to interrupt forward movement. Don't be surprised if you find yourself barking at your neighbor or shaking your fist in the wind. We're only in week two of this two-month review, and as the retrograde gathers momentum, its impact gains strength. Set your inner compass on steady, and do whatever it is you do to stay calm and patient.

An abundance of astro activity makes it difficult to delve into deeper facets of the Retrograde now, but there's plenty of time to delineate the fine points as the retrograde unfolds. Here's this week's game plan.

Uranus sextiles Mars, producing huge amounts of energy. Normally, an alliance between Uranus and Mars supports sudden and swift shift. But as these power surges slam against the Mars Retrograde roadblock, their current turns erratic. Uranus demands action at the speed of light. Mars Retrograde says, "Back off". This energetic resistance turns the atmosphere restless. Try not to let an antsy mood motivate hasty action. Impulsive behavior aimed at blowing off steam will provide temporary relief, but under this retrograde rash acts may not be the wisest choice. Find healthy ways of expressing this pent up power.

Uranus also squares the Sun stimulating an urge for personal freedom. This square provides the juice to breakdown, breakthrough, or breakup old restrictive patterns. Spontaneous declarations of independence are likely. But you don't have to spontaneously combust. Again, don't let frustration motivate a meltdown. What might look like freedom one day, could prove to be a prison the next. What's more, this Uranus Sun square catalyzes unpredictable twists of fate. Be prepared for surprises, interruptions, and interventions.

Next, Pluto trines Venus giving birth to the desire to fall madly in love, while Jupiter sextiles Venus, generating an optimistic attitude. Don't propose prematurely. Pluto opposes Jupiter pushing expectations in the realms of the fantastic. Channel this energy into artistic pursuits and you'll have an easier time handling the intensity.

A Jupiter Mercury conjunction offers well-needed astro aid in the form of common sense. Use this energy to maintain a realistic perspective. Let it help you consider your choices and their impact.

It's a stressful week. Increased planetary activity stimulates nervous systems, but Mars Retrograde impedes progress. It's the astro equivalent of an out-of-body experience. You're there, aware, yet strangely disconnected. Make every effort to stay present. As you experience the pressure of this peculiar paralysis, try to remember we're all encountering the same weird wobble. So be kind when you can.

May 11, 2001
Mars Retrograde: Part Two
Today, we begin a two-month, slo-mo rewind cycle, as Mars goes Retrograde, in Sagittarius, and stays Retrograde until July 19. This reverse rhythm is discombobulating. Interruptions of all kinds, pleasant and unpleasant, interfere with normal routines. Feelings of defeat, internal or external, turn the days into a molasses nightmare--no matter how hard you try, nothing moves as quickly as you want or need it to. Pushing against this Martian River of Review will exhaust your reserves. So rather than spend your energy in a frenzy of frustration, make patience your spiritual practice. Release the need for immediate gratification and just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Eventually you will reach your goal.

As Mars turns around, we turn reflective. All retrogrades are about reexamination and because Mars is the planet of individuation, the next two months are an intensive on what it means to have a self, separate and distinct from other selves. Self-actualization is the hardest personal work. It requires consciousness, self-awareness, diligence, and the courage to grow. As Mars retraces its steps, all sorts of self-ish behavior, from narcissism to selflessness, surface in the interactions of daily life. Don't be surprised if you feel the need to renegotiate your personal contracts. If you've been overbearing, you might be faced with finding the ground of compromise. If you've resisted self-assertion, the next two months might manifest as a non-stop series of stands designed to take your power back.

Mars goes retrograde in a conjunction with Chiron, also retrograde in Sagittarius, and their conjunction colors how the retrograde plays out. Known as the Wounded Healer, Chiron represents the need for synthesis and integration. Travelling together, Mars and Chiron reveal where the self is split and in need of mending. Of course, healing the self is a lifetime's work. So don't expect a miracle. Do anticipate increased awareness of where you feel fractured in your ability to assert. Rather than despair over this information, embrace it. This Mars Chiron conjunction isn't about picking yourself apart. It's about finding the loose threads of the self and weaving them back into the fabric of wholeness.

One more bit: This week, Uranus squares the Sun producing a heightened need for personal freedom--now. As this irrepressible urge for independence collides with Mars Retrograde, stress levels escalate. What's more, surprises and setbacks are likely. Remember, everyone is adjusting to the new and awkward pace of daily life. So cut your fellow travelers some slack. Again, make patience your ally, and you'll handle the days with a greater generosity and compassion.

May 4, 2001
Mars Retrograde: Part One
We're headed into a major slow down this week, and just as the creatures of the forest scurry about before an impending storm, a sense of urgency drives activity. Daily life unfolds at an almost reckless pace as pressure builds. The next six days of May are the last days before Mars begins a two-month Retrograde. On May 11, as Mars downshifts into reverse, the etheric brakes go on, While life won't exactly come to a screeching halt, the next two months unravel with ever increasing waves of frustration. You'll need a healthy dose of patience to navigate the jarring rhythm of this backward force. Everybody--even the steadiest among us--is apt to feel off their game.

Retrograde phases are a time to review, reconsider, and reconnoiter. When the planets seemingly move in reverse, we retrace previously covered ground. All the big planets, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, retrograde over the year. We're used to these planetary course corrections, tending only to notice their impact the week or day they turn around. Mercury retrogrades three times a year, and even though its retrograde phase is a drag, we're learning to put it to good use. Venus retrogrades approximately every 18-19 months. This year, Venus went Retrograde on March 8 and turned Direct on April 19. Venus Retrograde raised issues of value, as it simultaneously stirred deep feelings. It was an intense time, yet for most of us this emotional reexamination wasn't impossible to bear.

Mars Retrograde is an entirely different story. Mars retrogrades once during its approximately two-year cycle. But because Mars is a goal directed force aimed at crossing the finish line and isn't the least bit interested in replays, instant or otherwise, when Mars does retrograde, it disrupts and disturbs the routines of daily life. What's more, Mars turns petulant in reverse, turning the energetic climate cloudy with temper tantrums, prideful stands, and emotional meltdowns.

Of course, from a transformational perspective, Mars Retrograde offers opportunities for growth and healing. But you'll need a really good attitude to reap the rewards of this retrospective. As the I-Ching advises, sometimes retreat becomes the wisest choice. Willfully pushing forward can push us over the edge. During times of disruption, it's often best to marshal our internal forces and wait patiently for the appropriate moment to forge ahead.

April 27, 2001
Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain--or at least pay him no mind. This week, illusion and delusion distort perception, making it almost impossible to tell fact from fiction. Daily life glistens with big plans and fast talk, as imaginations become intoxicated by exaggeration. A word of warning: all that glitters is not gold. Commit to common sense instead of pipe dreams, and you'll sidestep the snares of shysters with greater dexterity. Know Shinola from you-know-what, and you'll be able to distinguish snake oil
from Rescue Remedy.

Two planetary configurations contribute to this climate of chimera. First, the Pluto Jupiter opposition that plagued the presidential campaign is back.

Pluto is the planet of power. Jupiter, the planet of excess. Pluto Jupiter configurations produce an enormous appetite for power and control. Oppositions generate tension and this stress translates into a despotic desire to rule. Charismatic leaders of all kinds--political, spiritual, and intellectual--feed on this energy, hoping it will support their fantastic aspirations. We were under the spell of this Pluto Jupiter opposition from August through the middle of November 2000, which is why lots of promises were made which sounded fabulous but actually had no basis in reality. Now, this exploitive force returns. Resist the temptation to embellish the truth. Stick to the facts. If it's bad news, just say so. What's more, don't believe in something just because it sounds and looks good. Dogma may satisfy anxiety, but substance and meaning endure.

Second, Neptune squares the Sun heightening impressionability. Neptune rules imagination. The Sun symbolizes vitality. Squares cause friction. As Neptune and the Sun clash, we become increasingly susceptible to suggestion. As I often advise, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don't be afraid to prod and poke a glamorous façade. Maybe the Emperor is wearing new clothes, maybe he isn't. Don't give your power away just because somebody is singing a tune you're longing to hear. What's more, this Neptune Sun square stimulates addictive appetites. While drugs and alcohol do alleviate tension, they also create their own peculiar smokescreen.

Fortunately, Saturn lends a sobering hand, as it sextiles Venus. Use Saturn's sense of responsibility and reserve to guide your choices. Saturn likes perfection, but it also appreciates structure. Let it assist you in asking questions aimed at uncovering intention and motivation. The lure of what could be is always dazzling in its potential, especially if we're dissatisfied with life as it is. But before you hitch your wagon to someone else's star, make sure you're sharing the same dream.

April 20, 2001
We're in transition. And the days and nights are bumpy with stops and starts befitting a pattern of change. Passages are often uncomfortable-even when we're excited about the possibilities. So don't be dismayed if you feel just a tad cranky. Adjusting to any new situation always takes time.

 Saturn is the epicenter of this week's tremors. Moving into Gemini, today, Saturn stays in Gemini for approximately two years. Poor Saturn! It has such bad reputation I'm always inclined extol its virtues. Yes, Saturn is the Lord of Karma. Yes, again, Saturn is stern and judgmental. But Saturn is not a demon. Saturn sets limits, stabilizes structures, and reminds us of what we need to learn next. Resist or resent Saturn, and you'll find yourself at the negative end of its power spectrum, viewing the world through a critical eye, finding the flaws in everyone and everything. That's when Saturn turns harsh and punishing. Embrace Saturn, and you'll gain access to its positive power, viewing the world through a lens of discernment, culling wisdom from experience. That's Saturn's gift: the ability to learn and grow from mistakes.

Gemini is the birthplace of language, which is why Gemini is the sign of communication. From casual conversations to intimate exchanges, from lettersto cell phones, Gemini keeps us connected. What's more, Gemini is curious about everyone and everything, eagerly gathering and disseminating information. From the petty gossip of neighbors to the plethora of facts available on the Internet, Gemini is the astro encyclopedia.

 When Saturn journeys through a sign, it shakes loose anything built on shaky ground. Collectively, Saturn's transit through Gemini is apt to restructure cyberspace. Those changes might manifest as strict rules and regulations or increased understanding about how to integrate information overload. How Saturn's Gemini journey translates into personal experience is hard to predict. For some, Saturn's heavy hand inhibits free speech. For others, Saturn's wisdom deepens intimacy.

Venus also sends ripples across the psychic pond. She ended her six-week retrograde on April 19. Venus' seemingly backward movement has been a passionate affair. Now, as she goes Direct, emotional tension releases. Venus is still in the bold, blunt, and brassy Sign of Aries, which means the fireworks of recent weeks continue.

Additional astro-bytes: The Sun moved into Taurus yesterday, lending a grounding touch. Mercury also moves into Taurus on April 21, turning minds practical and pragmatic.

Be patient as you move through the week. Also try to be kind. A gentle word or gesture will go a long way toward easing unsettled atmosphere.

April 13, 2001
The ethers continue radiating heat waves of all kinds, on all levels. Physically, great potency enables extraordinary effort. Mentally, minds move with penetrating power. Emotionally, hearts express with passion as egos simultaneously surge with power and pride. From a spiritual perspective, a constantly shifting terrain of sudden events offers opportunities for integrating wisdom and understanding. Handling this week's abundant strength requires skill. Don't take on too much. Herculean accomplishment is possible, but overload and overwhelm are probable.

The Sun, Mars, and Uranus generate this mighty vitality. Individually, all three of these planets are power sources in their own right. But this week, as they work in unison, daily life turns turbo. Here's the blow-by-blow: The Sun, in Aries, trines Mars, in Sagittarius. This vigorous relationship supports physical stamina, providing the juice to overcome almost any obstacle. Be aware, a Sun Mars trine turns the climate competitive. Mars wants to win and doesn't enjoy having its ambitions thwarted. This need to achieve also feeds the courage to do battle. Arguments, justified or not, are likely.

Amping up this virile force, Uranus sextiles both the Sun and Mars. Uranus turns the entire bundle fiercely independent. No one is likely to yield easily. What's more, Uranus supplies startling developments. What was settled becomes unsettled, and these topsy-turvy twists of fate provoke impulsive solutions. Resist the temptation to plunge headlong into action. Think before you leap. And if you're too excited or agitated to contemplate the consequences, find a disinterested party who can.

On a sobering note, Saturn ends its almost three year journey through Taurus next Friday, which makes this week the final distillation of that journey. Saturn is the astro voice of reality. Taurus is the sign of resources and values. Over the course of its trek through Taurus, Saturn focused on what matters most. On the material plane, that spells
m-o-n-e-y, and certainly the changes on Wall Street witness Saturn's influence. On a personal level, Saturn's sojourn through Taurus focused on what matters most. Use these next seven days to contemplate what Saturn shifted in your life. Are you still measuring your worth by your bank balance? Or, are you reaching for some greater way of gauging your ultimate value?

This week, don't let the fiery atmosphere motivate hasty decisions or premature action. Rather than hurry, move with deliberate steps. Stay mindful and you won't get swept away by the heat of the moment.

April 6, 2001
Fireworks of all kinds punctuate daily life. Dragons, demons, roses, and rainbows blaze across the days with such brilliant intensity, you're likely to feel transported to Middle Earth just in time to witness a dazzling display designed by Gandalf. The week amazes and delights as it simultaneously startles and surprises. Even the most experienced of us are apt to feel reduced to an over-stimulated five year old, exhausted and excited from all the activity, hungry for sleep, but unable to settle down. Keep in mind, Wizards always stir things up. As this power packed week unfolds, you'll need a realistic perspective to avoid becoming a drama queen.

Several sources contribute to this week's pyrotechnics. First, Uranus sextiles Mars. When these two giants of energy join forces, pulses quicken and hearts skip beats. Uranus and Mars move quickly--all most too quickly--which means we feel the need to hurry even when hurrying isn't necessary. Be careful. Uranus Mars relationships breed accidents. What's more, their combined influences translates into premature action. Despite the need for the constant contact of instant messages, time isn't running out.

Next, Pluto, in Sagittarius, trines the Sun, in Aries. This trine empowers individualism. Everyone feels the need to lead and wants to move to the head of the line. As you jockey for position, remember, great leaders inspire by example. Respect the needs of others. As Bob Dylan once said, "The first one now will later be last".

Third, and amping up this desire to be number one, Mars trines the Sun, creating a highly competitive climate. Extraordinary achievements are possible under this influence and advancement is likely. But this energy can also turn you into a blowfish, puffy with power, and spouting with superiority. Avoid arrogant stands. Also keep your goals realistic. If you're the winner, remember to honor the aspirations and achievements of others. Pay respect where it's due, and you'll find plenty of people willing to assist you when you need help.

This week takes it to the limit one more time. For some of us, the astro fever of recent weeks has been completely overwhelming. If you're agitated, aggravated, anxious, angry, or hyper-alert, take a break. For others, this fiery climate burns off stagnation, sparks action, and motivates change. But even if you're flourishing from the heat, you might still need time out. Overworked bodies, minds, and hearts, no matter how happy, still need rest.

March 30, 2001
This week, the Stars spur all sorts of urges. Whim, fantasy, and longing dominate daily life, as the need to relieve tension fires the desire to over-indulge. You could shop till you drop, drink till you drown, or revel in whatever other appetite will get you through the night. While self-medicating offers the promise of temporary relief, addictive substances don't provide a long-term solution for managing stress. Life is trundling along at a fevered pitch and the pressure of recent weeks isn't ending any time soon, which is why it's important than ever to find healthy, positive ways of coping with the intensity.

The on-going Neptune Jupiter trine focuses the attention on addiction. Neptune, among its many domains, rules drugs. Jupiter encourages excess. While this trine does turn the atmosphere idealistic, it also seduces us into being unrealistic. Gambling feels risk free. Bingeing becomes safe. And rationalizing the benefit of "just one more" is all too easy. While this trine does promote increased meditation and contemplation, answering this spiritual call won't be easy. Venus is at the midpoint of Neptune and Jupiter, forming a sextile to both. Venus likes--no loves--to have fun, especially when she's in the fiery, adventurous sign of Aires. This threesome stimulates such an optimistic attitude, it's almost impossible to set reasonable limits.

But that's not all. The Sun, in Aries, is conjunct Venus, which means the Sun also sextiles Neptune and Jupiter. The vitality of the Sun blots out concerns about self-control. You or someone you know will want to take it to the limit as many times as possible. What's more, Pluto trines the Sun, supplying pure power. Be aware, this combination encourages unreasonable leaps and could result in unfortunate losses. As the energy of Neptune, Jupiter, Venus, and the Sun coalesces it engenders deception. Lots of people are apt to make exaggerated claims and even more of us are likely to believe them. The sky may be the limit, but it's best to keep your money in the bank. If you can manage to harness this energy without blowing your circuits, you'll feel the stamina and strength to complete whatever it is you're working on.

One more bit: A Uranus Mars sextile agitates the atmosphere, creating the need to move--and move quickly.

As the week unfolds, try not to make excess your solution. In extreme times, a prudent approach goes a long way. Make "moderation" your mantra, and you'll have an easier time staying steady on your path.

March 23, 2001
The astro heat wave continues and temperatures--of all kinds--are rising. On the 3-D, activity is apt to reach a fevered pitch. On the emotional front, hotheads are likely, especially as smoldering embers erupt with sudden fury. Mentally, tired minds meet a wall of resistance. Yet from a spiritual perspective, the heat continues to inspire. Under the constant glare of so much intensity, daily life doesn't go too smoothly. Fighting this fire with more fire won't work. Back blazes are apt to backfire. But a soothing touch will work wonders. Be gentle whenever possible and apply the healing balm of understanding wherever it is needed.

Every planet, with the exception of Mercury and Saturn (and, of course, the Moon, which moves through all 12 Signs every 28 days) is in a Fire Sign or an Air Sign. And that's what's driving the energetic thermometer into the fever zone. Fire Signs blaze with initiative. Air Signs thrive on inspiration. When Fire and Air unite, they ignite idealism. But there is a downside to this enthusiasm. While Air and Fire are famous for supporting creative endeavors, they are infamous for encouraging an exaggerated, pie in the sky attitude. Make sure you know the difference between a really good idea and a whole lot of hot air.

Pluto fuels the fire. First, Pluto and Mars continue separating out of their conjunction in Sagittarius. As they pull apart, situations you thought were under control are likely to spontaneously combust. Make every effort to avoid cruel clashes. Most importantly, don't let minor squabbles over petty differences turn into karmic quarrels just because you feel like fighting. Find healthy ways of channeling your frustration.

Next, Pluto trines our gal Venus, as she sashays her way through Aires. This trine carries a powerful sexual charge. Keep in mind, while Pluto Venus attractions feel fated, that doesn't necessarily mean they are. If the attraction isn't mutual, don't insist.

Upping the intensity ante with mind games, Pluto squares Mercury. This square makes gray matter restless, and this week, that nervous mental energy manifests as impatience and frustration. Before you lose your mind because you just can't get it to work the way you want it to, breathe. Breathe, again. Do something completely mindless. Then, return to the task at hand.

This week, find a way to cool down and cool off without causing harm to yourself or others. Go for a swim. Take a shower. Dig in the garden. Better yet, bathe in mud. Do whatever it is you do to keep your personal temperature normal.

March 16, 2001
The Planets continue fueling bonfires of intensity. As the ethers crackle, daily life heats up. For some of us, certain circumstances turn too hot to handle. For others, the stars ignite deep personal passion. For still more, these energetic blazes bust loose what's stagnant, motivating movement. On the personal plane, you're likely to feel a compulsive need make something--anything--happen. Collectively, zealots are apt to demonstrate renewed determination. Staying mindful won't be easy. You'll need a steady spiritual compass and an equally strong commitment to ethical action to hold true to your course.

Pluto conjunct Mars is still the source of this week's burning intensity. This conjunction produces enormous energy. It also supplies great self-confidence. But be aware, this dynamic power easily translates into sheer brute force and over-the-top self-assurance could become obsessive ambition. Everybody wants to rule their world. This Pluto Mars conjunction is exact on Sunday, and as this difficult pairing separates, containing its aggressive force requires some doing. Meltdowns are likely. So are temper tantrums. And frustration is probable, especially if you run headlong into a barrier of resistance. Playing fair requires personal restraint, particularly if cruel words aimed at hurting find their target. Rather than brawl, find healthy ways to blow off steam. Muster the determination to search for positive resolution. Rather than polarize, role reverse. Look at the situation through the eyes of your adversary. This isn't about agreeing with the opposition or condoning harmful behavior. It's about catalyzing a fresh perspective and through that new view, opening up to the possibility of compassion.

Both Pluto and Mars continue to trine Venus. Venus softens the strident impact of their conjunction by providing a pathway for excess energy. Venus is the Goddess of Beauty and Art. Channel your intensity creatively, and you'll have an easier time withstanding the heat of the week.

Fortunately, Neptune trines Jupiter. This positive alliance feeds imagination. It also supports big-hearted idealism and generosity of spirit. Allow this spiritual energy to invigorate your attitude. Lean on it--hard. Try to give love where love is needed.

It's a juicy week. On one end of this power spectrum lies the temptation to succeed at any cost. On the other, lies the ability to burn through the limitation of the ego. Don't misunderstand, there's nothing wrong with success. But accomplishments born of ill intention tend to backfire somewhere along the line. Rather than aim your aspirations at immediate gratification, seek Higher Ground. Positive intent will yield lasting results.

March 9, 2001
Planetary heat drafts blast us into the power zone as the dynamic tension of recent weeks continues to bust loose. The meek become mighty. The mighty get mightier. And the bombastic compete for the spotlight with ruthless determination. Handling the force of these energies without getting swept away by the intensity requires skill. Stay grounded and realistic about what you can and cannot accomplish. What's more, no matter how pressing external demands may be, moments of internal reflection will restore balance and perspective.

A Pluto Mars conjunction in Sagittarius fuels this week's belly fires. Pluto spells power. Mars wants to win. Sagittarius is the sign where we search for truth. But the shadow of this Sagittarian quest can often manifest as ignorance or a myopic fanaticism that expresses itself as "one way and one way only". A Pluto Mars conjunction breeds the need to lead--at any cost--which means this whole bundle is apt to manifest as brutish forced aimed at diminishing others. Avoid the pitfall of superiority. Try humility instead. Harness this energy positively, direct it at specific goals, and you'll marvel at all you accomplish.

A trine to Venus softens the edge of this Pluto Mars conjunction. But Venus is in Aries and Aries, too, fosters the need to be in charge. The downside of Venus in Aries is rash, impulsive behavior or blunt, sometimes inappropriate declarations. Speak from the heart but try to consider the feelings of others.

Yesterday, Venus began her retrograde journey through Aires and she stays retrograde until April 19. Don't worry. Venus Retrograde isn't the same as Mercury Retrograde. No communication snafus, here. Venus retrograde revisits previous romantic territory. Don't be surprised if you find yourself indulging in remembrances of springs past. Who knows? The phone could ring. The door could knock. Have the courage to answer, and you might come face to face with your first grade crush, high school sweetie, or that one special someone who always seemed to slip away. Learn from this emotional retrospective, but try not to wallow in regret. Instead, use Venus' love call to create your heart's desire, right here, right now.

A Uranus Mercury conjunction in Aquarius fans the fires of this week's intensity with inspiration. You won't need a thinking cap to feel this innovative force. When Uranus, the Mother of Invention, joins with Mercury, the Ruler of the Mental Realms, innovative thought springs forth with ease.

As you experience the heat of the week, try not to get signed by overwhelm or blistered by burn out. Keep it simple and you'll keep it sweet.

March 2, 2001
This week, Venus broadcasts a 24/7 signal of love. And her message is loud and clear. Romance rules. Passion prevails. Spring has sprung. As the ethers quiver with anticipation and expectation, you're likely to fall head over heels with everyone and everything--including yourself. So don't be surprised if you suddenly burst into song. The air is hummin' and something good just might be comin'.

Venus, the Goddess of Love, is in the fiery sign of Aries, that astro pioneer who just must physically explore new terrain, conquer new heights, and satisfy its burning curiosity. Flirtation flourishes under this influence. But Venus in Aries is impulsive. Her initial spark of interest is apt to burn out just as quickly as it flares up. What feels like true love could be a passing fancy. Also keep in mind, Venus in Aries is blunt--very blunt. Casual interactions cut to the chase with lightening speed. Just don't confuse impetuous declarations with true intimacy. Venus sends out a magnetic pulse. But lasting love requires more than sexual attraction--no matter how delicious that appeal may feel.

Amping up this ardent atmosphere, Pluto continues to trine Venus. Pluto is in Sagittarius. Sagittarius is also a Fire Sign and no slouch when it comes to romance and adventure. As Pluto and Venus tango, the days sway with sexual tension. Keep in mind, the shadow side of this configuration is fanatic attraction or compulsive behavior. Pluto trine Venus also infuses creative endeavor with dynamic, palpable inspiration. Channel this energy into artistic projects. Then, step back and watch your efforts come to life. If you're neither addicted to love nor art, this trine ignites a passion for life and living. Let it imbue your days with vitality and vigor.

Pluto is also busy squaring the Sun. This square spurs an urge for power. Try not to let these surges translate into arrogance or the need to dominate and control. Keep your aspirations realistic. Honor the boundaries of others. On the positive side of the spectrum, a Pluto Sun square provides energy to spare. Make sure you have healthy ways of handling the energetic overload. Go to the gym. Walk three miles instead of two. Extend your hike. Or schedule an extra dance class.

This week, allow your heart to beat a little faster. Let Venus quicken your spirit. Answer her amorous invitation. Your affection doesn't have to be sexual. Take your mother to lunch. Have a date with your dog. Buy your cat a box of treats. Spend extra time with friends. Connect with love and let passion spark a lust for life.

February 23, 2001
The planetary winds shift this week moving us out of the doldrums and into activity. Breathe in this astro change of air, and as you exhale, release the migraine strain of recent weeks. Take another deep breath, and this time, exhale the tension of frustration. Then, breathe again, and feel your sails lift with inspiration and vitality.

The source of this new atmosphere is Mercury's change of direction. Mercury goes Direct on Sunday. The two days before and after Mercury's course correction still feel sluggish. So don't expect to operate at full speed immediately. As Mercury gains momentum, so do we, and by Wednesday, daily life hits a vigorous stride. What's more, as Mercury turns around it sextiles Pluto. This positive relationship gives Mercury a big boost. Mercury rules the mental realms. Pluto rules power. As Mercury and Pluto form a positive alliance they engender a strong intellectual climate, able to suss out the subtleties of most situations. Also be aware, this mind power easily translates into restless energy, eager to form opinions based on assumptions. Let the situation unfold before you react to surface appearances.

By the end of the week, Mercury also moves into a conjunction with Uranus. When Uranus and Mercury share the same space, they enhance innovation and invention. On a personal level, these energies coalesce into increased cognition. Collectively, these very same energies converge into the power of persuasion. Pay attention to what's being sold. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Hoisting the energetic sails even higher, Pluto continues to trine Venus. There's no denying the non-stop romantic force a Pluto Venus trine. For some of us, this dynamic energy translates into love at first sight and these amorous attractions are apt to feel fated. By all means, answer destiny's call, but also keep in mind, Pluto Venus liaisons are often fueled by compulsive desire. Rather than force fate, allow it to unfold. For the non-romantically inclined, Pluto trine Venus provides profound artistic talent. Channel this energy creatively, and you'll fall in love with the results. For the non-artistically engaged, this trine supplies an ample feeling of well being. It's a feel good energy meant to make the days sparkle with vitality.

Mars still squares the Sun producing the potential for testy tempers and angry attitudes. While a good fight sometimes clears the air, anger for anger's sake, can hinder progress. This square also feeds a lusty nature. But that's not all. Mars square the Sun fuels ambition. Harness this hot-blooded energy and put it to good use actualizing your goals.

This week's transition from stagnation into action is a welcome relief. Give yourself time to adjust to the new pace. You don't have to get everything done at once. Find a comfortable personal stride and stick to it.

February 16, 2001
Here's the good news: The high waves and undercurrents of intensity are receding. Daily life has less of an edge. And even though Mercury is still Retrograde, there's an abundance of creative energy available for renewed inspiration. Now, the not so good news: Agitation and frustration linger, as too many demands drain already overloaded systems. Pushing ahead is apt to push you over the line. Resist the temptation to insist and, instead, gather your strength and restore your reserves.

The rigid Fixed T-Square of the last four weeks is gone. While another T-Square is with us, this one doesn't have the same fractious, acrimonious impact. Our current T-square is created by a Jupiter, Mars, and the Sun. Jupiter, in Gemini, opposes Mars, in Sagittarius. On Sunday, when the Sun enters Pisces, it squares both Jupiter and Mars. All three participants are in Mutable Signs. Mutable Signs are adaptable (which is a relief) and this concentration of pliant energy offers the possibilities for reconciliation and compromise. Sure, it's a tense configuration, but at least there's room to bend.

Jupiter is optimistic. Mars is ambitious. Their opposition fosters an atmosphere of exaggeration and excess. Don't take on more than you can handle and don't make promises you can't keep. A Jupiter Sun square is extravagant, so don't spend more than you have. Jupiter square the Sun is also humorous. Just try to avoid feeling good at another's expense. Be aware, a Mars Sun square gets angry and impatient. So continue to find healthy ways of expressing your ire.

Pluto and Venus open up the wide space of creativity, as they start a trine that last for the next several weeks. This trine is sexy--on lots of levels. Venus, Goddess of Love and Beauty, is in Aries, the Sign of the Pioneer. Pluto is in Sagittarius, the Sign of Expansion. Their harmonious alliance fuels the desire for all sorts of adventures. Feel this passionate force and allow it to revitalize body, mind, heart, and spirit. Be open to spur of the moment romantic excursions. What's more, Pluto trine Venus awakens the Muse. So even if inspiration calls in the middle of the night, get up, get out of bed, and write down those ideas.

Mercury is still Retrograde, which means forging blindly ahead will only increase your frustration. So take a deep breath, continue to put one foot in front of the other, and be as patient as possible.

February 9, 2001
Daily life is an obstacle course. The spirit is willing, but the timing is off. The goals are clear, but the path is cloudy. The mind is able, but details thwart execution. Frustration dots the landscape. Anger feels appropriate. And even if you manage to stay calm, the fretful or willful choices of others create strife. What's more, Mercury Retrograde slows the minutes, hours, and days, turning one difficult moment after another into an eternity. Knowing when and when not to act is key to navigating this week's polarized terrain. So make sure you have your internal compass set on steady. Be prepared to let go when necessary. And remember to rely on your Higher Power as often you can.

The Fixed T-square between Uranus, Saturn, and Mars is over. But a new one takes its place. This week, Mars squares the Sun Mercury conjunction in Aquarius, as Saturn simultaneously squares that same conjunction. When Mercury and the Sun are conjunct, subjective viewpoints prevail. Add a Mars square to the mix, and these highly personal perspectives easily turn argumentative. Mars just loves a good fight. Don't be surprised if you find yourself in heated debates over just about anything. Avoid road rage by finding an attitude that doesn't mind getting to your destination 5 or 10 minutes later than you planned. Mercury is Retrograde, so whoever you're meeting is also likely to be late.

The week's contentious attitude is exacerbated by a Uranus, Sun, Mercury conjunction. When Uranus and the Sun share the same space the need for personal freedom is unparalleled. This conjunction is the energetic signature of original, independent consciousness eager for reform. And it won't take "no" for an answer. Mercury's role fuels innovative thought. But these new ideas can't find a place to land. Not only is Mercury Retrograde, but Saturn's square to Uranus, Mercury and the Sun amps up the already narrow-minded atmosphere and turns it critical. Saturn's inhibition stalls innovation by requiring diligent, methodical, boring routine. Progress takes a back seat to process. And once more, frustration fills the air.

One more bit: Jupiter opposes Mars producing a tendency toward excess and exaggeration. Stick to the truth. Resist the temptation to embellish, especially if you're arguing over something important. False claims will return to bite you in the behind.

This week, the best way to handle the dissention is to follow the path of least resistance. Take no unnecessary action. And don't worry, you won't look like a wuss. Refusing to engage in the brouhaha will simply lessen the tension and ease the stress.

February 2, 2001
Hurry and you'll get no where fast. Push and you'll hit a wall of resistance. Insist, and you'll meet with disappointment. It's just another funky week on Planet Earth. The big planets continue to clash, displaying their dark side, and revealing our shadows. What's more, amidst an already frustrated atmosphere, Mercury goes Retrograde. Computers crash, plans cancel, and snafus snarl traffic. You'll need a good attitude to navigate these stressful waters. You'll also need flexibility. Most importantly, you'll to soothe yourself.

It's the on-going Fixed T-Square between Uranus, Saturn, and Mars that's making everyone more than a little testy. Part of this configuration is a Saturn Mars opposition, which is exact on February 3. After that, as Saturn and Mars separate, the lid blows off pent-up emotions. By the middle of the week, the Sun joins this complex configuration as it conjuncts Uranus. The Sun's influence amps up the need for independence, personal and collective. Relationships based on bondage bust loose with a bang. And revolutionaries across the globe feel renewed determination to make their stand regardless of the consequences. You'll need patience, tolerance, and the desire to find a psychological and spiritual approach capable of providing a positive framework.

Mercury is Retrograde from February 3-25. For those of you new to Mercury Retrograde, here's the scoop. Mercury rules communication and language. So when it seemingly moves in reverse, the days are punctuated with misunderstandings and confusion. This is not the time to sign contracts, buy computers, install new software, or expect travels connections to work without a hitch. It is an excellent time to reconnoiter and review.

Make a concerted effort to adapt to this two steps forward one step back kind of pace, because this Mercury Retrograde is a little preview of the next six months. In March, Venus goes Retrograde. In May, Mars goes Retrograde. In June, Mercury goes Retrograde, again. And that's all in addition to the normal retrograde patterns of Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.

The astro retro look of the next six months reflects the retro attitude of the Bush Cabinet and the new administration's determination to return to the good old days. A word of caution: The good old days weren't all that good. So before you get sucked into a Leave it to Beaver Vacuum, remember, dysfunction lurked beneath the surface of Ozzie and Harriet's picture perfect life. Father definitely didn't know best. What's more, the denial and repression of those bygone days gave birth to the rebellion, activism, and creativity of the Sixties.

To everything there is a season. And while this may not be the season of progress, it doesn't mean you can't prosper. Rather than resent this retro cycle, use it to conserve your energy, hone your goals, and polish your plans.

January 26, 2001
Cranky, Grouchy, and Testy, three of the Dwarfs edited out of the final version of Snow White (but included in the Director's cut) stage a coup this week and take over the airwaves. They broadcast a fractious message. Frustration, negativity, and pessimism skulk through ethers. The days turn dour. And a mean-spirited attitude permeates daily life. It's not pretty. But it's a tale that must be told.

The source of this gloomy forecast is a Fixed T-Square between Uranus, Saturn, and Mars. Uranus squares Mars and Saturn, as Saturn and Mars oppose each other. Squares create friction. Oppositions, tension. T-Squares are notorious for soul stress and strain. Here's the break down:

The Uranus Mars square creates nervous, restless, fiercely independent energy, in search of dynamic expression. Stubborn stands are probable. Arguments, likely. And because lots of people simply want to blow off steam, angry encounters feel as if no one is truly interested in finding a solution, which just makes everyone dig in and yell louder. Saturn opposing Mars turns this already volatile atmosphere nasty. Harsh bitter criticism flies with self-righteous zeal, and you could easily find yourself rigidly constricted in a one-way-and-one-way-only perspective, unwilling to even consider an alternative viewpoint. What's more, as Uranus squares Saturn, old structures set in stone, struggle to survive. And I'm not just talkin' politics. Personal belief systems are challenged under this oppressive atmosphere. If you're lucky enough to notice you're stuck, don't hesitate to call time out. Just to play it safe, start the week by designating an attitude driver. Ask loved ones or co-workers--or even a stranger--to tell you when you've gone too far. Then, call time out. Breathe, as often as necessary, until you're back in your body. Most importantly find healthy, safe ways of handling your anger.

But that's not all. Next Friday, Mercury begins its first Retrograde of 2001, which means all week long we're sloggin' through the molasses of Mercury's slo-mo change of direction. By mid-week, the world feels as if it's standing still. Frustration meter pin in the red. Just about everyone is likely to have a meltdown of some kind. Yelling won't make anything move faster. So keep your patience pills handy and make positive use of the down time.

Consider this week, and the next several weeks, the astro equivalent of Survivor--but with a decidedly different twist. The only way to win the jackpot in this reality show is through compassion, tolerance, and kindness. That's right, in order to wrest the power away from the dark side, you must be willing to stay on track spiritually and commit to positive behavior. Meditate. Exercise. Go to therapy. Pray for peace. Do whatever it is you do to stay centered and calm. Remember, we are all in this together and everyone is going to be feeling the squeeze.

January 19, 2001
Winds of change blow through the week altering the mood and pace of daily life. Anticipate shift, personal and collective. Also expect a strident tone. Again, personal and collective. Everyone wants to be heard--now. This cacophony tweaks the nervous system, and by the middle of the week, overload is likely. You'll need patience. Lots of it. You'll also want to keep your eye on the prize of personal peace. A strong, internal center will keep you on course.

While Mars and Venus continue their love trine, providing a strong dose of friendly, warm-hearted affection, Mars is called into action by a much stronger force. Uranus, the Che Guevara of the astro world, squares Mars, creating an unstable and volatile atmosphere. What's more, Mercury is conjunct Uranus, which means Mars also squares Mercury. Uranus radicalizes whatever it touches. Mercury rules intellect. When Mercury and Uranus share the same space, minds reach for new and innovative thinking. This is the free-spirited energy of invention, able to journey into the ethers and return with unusual and provocative ideas. Mars is a Master of War and seldom backs down from battle. As Uranus and Mars collide, their friction ignites the need for untrammeled personal freedom. Neither planet is inclined to compromise, and their square feeds on confrontation and discord, especially as opposing ideologies clash. On a personal level, frustration is probable, particularly if you feel your ideas are being ignored. Collectively, demonstrations during the Presidential Inauguration could erupt in violence. Keep in mind, these winds of change aren't just political. They are also deeply personal.

But that's not all. Saturn, in Taurus, goes Direct on January 24. This is the last phase of a journey that started in June of 1998 and ends in April of this year. (Astrologers please note I'm including Retrograde Phases in this cycle.) Saturn's transit through Taurus raises issues of resources, material and spiritual, as it simultaneously examines value systems, again, material and spiritual. Much has changed financially over these last three years. And for the next several weeks, as Saturn also squares Uranus for one last time, we can expect continuing challenges to the status quo.

One more bit: Jupiter goes Direct on January 25. Fortunately, as Jupiter corrects its course, it trines the Sun, just entering Aquarius. This trine gives birth to an offbeat perspective, capable of seeing this week's intensity through a humorous lens.

This week, and the coming weeks, are a rough energetic ride. So, keep breathing--even when you want to shout it all out. Choose your confrontations with care. Above all, make laughter your ally. Not only will humor soothe the immediate circumstances. It will help you avoid the sand trap of self-righteous rigidity. In times of turmoil, a good attitude is a must.

January 12, 2001
The Stars deliver an early astro Valentine designed to gladden the heart and bolster the spirit. Let their siren's song sweep you away. There's no need to worry about crashing on the rocks or losing your crew. It's a planetary love-fest, all week long, and that just can't be bad.

Mars, in Scorpio, trine Venus, in Pisces sets the amorous tone. This trine started on the 9 and continues until the 27, so there's plenty of time to enjoy this sensual magnatism. Mars in Scorpio loves lust. Venus in Pisces stirs the urge to merge, as it simultaneously turns erotic longings emotional. Fall in love under this influence and you'll want to wile away the hours in the arms of your beloved, intoxicated by mutual desire. Amping-up this carnal charge, Pluto squares Venus, giving birth to mesmerizing powers of attraction. Just keep in mind, Pluto square Venus easily turns the longings of the heart into compulsive or obsessive behavior.

If you aren't inclined toward the erogenous zone, Mars trine Venus trine also serves as an artistic aphrodisiac. Channel your passion creatively, and your art springs to life. Add in Pluto, and you're apt to fall madly in love with your creation. What's more, Mars trine Venus translates into deep, warm-hearted feelings toward friends and family. It's a great big love letter to life.

Adding a poetic touch to this week's planetary love affair, Mercury conjuncts Neptune in Aquarius, and both trine Jupiter. Mercury rules the mind. Neptune, imagination. When Mercury and Neptune unite, fantasy ignites. Aquarius adores the unusual. And Jupiter just loves to have fun. Jupiter is in Gemini, fueling expansive and humorous verbal intercourse. The combined effect of Neptune, Mercury, and Jupiter, turns conversations extraordinary. Feelings find the perfect words and intimacy becomes easy. Use this energy to express your wildest dreams. Write poems. Play jazz. Dance an avant-garde ode to the New Year.

There's no need to worry you'll turn into a space cadet or get lost in the land of illusion. Saturn, in Taurus, still trines the Sun, in Capricorn, providing an earthy tether to reality. This trine gets down to the bones of things. Put Saturn trine the Sun to good use examining structure and foundation as you simultaneously implement plans and projects.

But don't get too serious. There's plenty of time for that in the weeks to come. Now's the time to enjoy the sweetness of life and the pleasures of the body. There are some benefits to being a spirit in a material world.

January 5, 2001
It's a put-your-feet-on-the-ground-and-keep-them-there kinda week. Industry replaces lethargy, enterprise returns, and resolve rejuvenates daily life as the planets strengthen intention and determination. Be prepared to be busy. And get ready to get real--very real.

One facet of this week's reality check is the end of the Neptune Mars square. Clouding the ethers with confusion, this square has been the source of a namby-pamby attitude, apt to manifest as the inability to take decisive action. Neptune square Mars is moody and those moods often turn into self-destructive behavior aimed at numbing the pain of doubt and uncertainty.

On January 9, a Lunar Eclipse puts a period at the end of this Neptune Mars paralysis by providing a decidedly 3-D perspective. During a Lunar Eclipse, the Earth comes between the Sun and the Moon, and psyche takes a back seat to earthly concerns. The January 9 eclipse occurs along the Capricorn Cancer axis. If Capricorn is anything, it's realistic. Practical and pragmatic, Capricorn wants tangible results. Equally anxious about outcome, Cancer craves safety. It wants to know there's enough. Both Capricorn and Cancer are responsible. Neither is in a hurry. They both know the value of a sure-footed pace and they like careful planning. This eclipse cuts through the molasses and gets down to the nitty gritty on what needs to be done--now. Use this energy to strategize. Be honest in your assessment of your current situation but not hypercritical. What's more, try not to let fear motivate your goals and choices.

Yet another component of this week's sober atmosphere is a Saturn Sun trine. Saturn, the Ruler of Capricorn, is trine the Sun, currently in Capricorn. This trine perseveres, lending strong support for delving deeply into whatever needs your attention. Don't be afraid of the details. Saturn also trines Mercury, amplifying clear, levelheaded perception and thorough persistence.

Use this week to down-to-earth atmosphere to stabilize. Get grounded. Get to the point. Let reality strengthen your New Year's resolutions.

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