Arts & Culture » Aquarium Age

A Hard Road to Follow

For the week of April 18-24, 2012.

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How do you spell "relief"? M-a-r-s D-i-r-e-ct. But be careful what you wish for. This week brings such rapid acceleration to almost every sector of life that simply catching your breath will feel like a major accomplishment. Okay, I'm exaggerating — slightly — and as I wrote last week, Mars takes more than a moment to gain forward traction. But as the week unfolds, many of us are going to feel as if the sluggish, pokey local train of regular routines has turned into a swift high-speed rail express. Concentration, determination, and mindfulness are the keys to staying on track. Distractions will abound, especially as everyone — even animals — experiences the shift in pace. Interruptions will also be frequent and we're likely to need assurance that all is well. Of course it is, primarily because even as the intensity intensifies, and nervous systems shudder from the shifts, beneath the astral hustle and bustle the planets are also providing a solid, grounded foundation. As always in times of transition, set your internal compass on steady. And, when possible, encourage and help your fellow travelers to do the same.

A Mercury/Uranus conjunction sets nervous systems on fire this week. Mercury, recently released from its retrograde review, entered Aries on April 16, where it immediately formed a conjunction with Uranus. Mercury symbolizes the mind, Uranus represents innovation, and when they share the same space, their perfect union engenders intellectual flexibility. This conjunction also produces a strong intuition, as well as a heightened capacity for conceptualization. Also anticipate a strong need for conversation; so many ideas are likely to strike you as more than a little interesting, you could find yourself talking to anyone who will listen — friend or stranger. What's more, because both planets represent movement, you are likely to also need more than the normal amount of exercise and activity. But that's not all: Mercury and Uranus were also conjunct from March 3 through March 23, which includes the first half of the recent Mercury Retrograde; don't be surprised if you find yourself revisiting circumstances set in motion at that time.

And the déjà vu continues: Mars, transiting Virgo since November 2011, turns around at the position it occupied in mid-November, and as it does, some of us are likely to be revisiting situations, issues, and themes set in motion last year. As Mars gains forward momentum it will move through Virgo quickly, entering Libra on July 3, which I will formally dub "Mars Declares Independence From Virgo Day."

Fortunately, Mars Direct also provides a solid foundation for daily life. As Mars turns around, it trines the Sun, a positive, powerful configuration that fully blossoms when the Sun enters Taurus on April 19. This trine signifies vitality, and because Taurus and Virgo are both Earth Signs, it fosters strong urges to get everything done. For the next several weeks, we are out of the retro-zone. (Venus goes retrograde on May 15, but that turn-around seems light years away.) At the moment, there is no need to put anything on hold.

If you know your Ascendant and/or your Moon Sign, read that, too.

ARIES You're talking — a lot — to anyone who will listen, and your ideas are strong and dynamic. Just be careful not to squander your time and energy. Share your opinions, but make sure your listeners share your enthusiasm and exuberance.

TAURUS Mars Direct stimulates a wide range of creative endeavors. Pay attention to your muse, and allow yourself to not only be inspired, but also to be guided in turning those visions into reality.

GEMINI There are opportunities to iron out certain fundamental issues of safety and security. Honor what you need to feel supported, and then do what's necessary to meet those requirements.

CANCER Be prepared for significant shifts in your attitude as powerful conversations with significant others bring to light issues in need of collaborative resolution. There's no need to worry; you're simply clearing the air.

LEO You have a chance to choose among several career opportunities. Make the most of this time by being intentional about what you want to accomplish, and then be willing to work as hard as necessary to achieve your goals.

VIRGO Make a concentrated effort to identify the major lessons of Mars Retrograde, and then make a commitment to integrate what you've learned. Be thorough and you'll benefit greatly from this process.

LIBRA Once again, the focus is on partnerships, but this week the emphasis is on your relationship with yourself and how well you can leave behind psychological patterns that no longer serve your best interests.

SCORPIO Whether your interactions are personal or professional, clear and direct communication is the key to your success. Prioritizing your goals will help you keep important conversations on track.

SAGITTARIUS Read Leo, above, and add this: Even if you aren't able to implement every creative inspiration, figure out a way to catalog all the ideas available to you right now.

CAPRICORN There is no need to let the flux in one area of life disturb your equilibrium in another. Manage the stress of your insecurity by knowing that you have the strength to transform any negative situation into a positive one.

AQUARIUS You have a profound opportunity to experience a deeply relaxed state of satisfaction. Allow this inner calm to settle into all of your thought processes, and you'll experience a profound shift in awareness.

PISCES Engage in dialogue with significant others and allow those discussions to generate insight into how to better meet everyone's needs. Sort through individual concerns with care, and you'll be pleased with the results.

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