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A Volatile Week

For the week of August 24-30, 2011.

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Here's the good news: Mercury Retrograde ends on Friday. And here's the not-so-good news: Most of us are likely to be too exhausted to notice. But the best news of all: By the end of the week, the planetary pattern generating so much of the recent intensity begins to recede, and while life won't return to normal (whatever that is and whenever that was), at least the tumult starts to settle down. But until then, emotional overwhelm is probable, especially for those of us slogging through a thick soup of issues that challenge body, mind, heart, and soul. Those born during the early degrees of the Cardinal Signs — Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn — have been hardest hit by the current planetary pattern. No one is exempt from the intensity, and those whose birth charts contain planets at the same early Cardinal positions are certainly feeling an equally intense force somewhere in their personal lives. Of course, some are thriving under the might of these astral interactions, and acknowledging that happiness is possible, too, is a good reminder that here on Earth (and perhaps elsewhere) the reality of daily life is created by a kaleidoscope of perspectives. No matter where you find yourself along the energy spectrum — exhausted, overwhelmed, or joyous — remember to be mindful of the situation of others. A singular act of kindness could have an exponentially beneficial result, especially when directed toward helping those who are consciously or unconsciously channeling the power of the planets.

Retrograde since August 2, Mercury goes Direct on Friday at 6:02 p.m. Whew ... it's been a crunchy retrograde with a disturbingly uneven pace that distorted time by quickening the minutes as it simultaneously elongated the hours. (Honestly, there were a few times I thought Tuesday was Thursday and Friday was Monday.) While some astrologers feel that we aren't quite free of a retrograde until Mercury pulls past the point where the retrograde began (which would be September 10), I'm not certain the shadow rule always applies. That being said, there is a three-day rule that gives Mercury a chance to gain momentum, so if you can continue to be patient, wait until Monday to jump into new plans and projects.

The hot spot of the week and the source of continued irritation is the ongoing Mars/Saturn square. This difficult interaction tends to manifest either as a belligerent, judgmental attitude that needs to have its own way, or as a broken, atrophied vitality, incapable of lively participation. Be especially mindful of how this plays out in your relationships. Saturn is in Libra, the Sign of relating. Mars is in Cancer, the Sign of belonging. Squares represent friction. The strife between these two planets has the potential to illuminate the clash between your needs and the needs of others.

This week, we are in the final phase of the Mars/Saturn square, a phase that concentrates the volatility of the last several weeks. Pay attention: This volatility is not only about the stock market. It's also about the emotional instability of recent weeks and how each of us has chosen to either react or respond to that flux.

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

ARIES Put aside negative thoughts about others meeting your needs and focus on meeting those needs through your own efforts. You'll be surprised at how a sense of accomplishment will restore your spirit.

TAURUS If you let go of the need to control the outcome and instead trust that life will unfold beneficially, you could experience a deep sense of well-being and optimism about your future.

GEMINI The secret of your success is finding delight in the small and simple joys of life. Make it a point to participate with family and friends in activities that are fun and fulfilling.

CANCER Meaningful conversations with significant others, whether they are friends or family, have the power to help you gain perspective on where to focus your time and energy.

LEO Create a clear vision of what it is you would like to accomplish and you'll make the first strong step toward bringing that idea into being. Concentrate on the foundation, and the blueprint for the building will follow.

VIRGO Despite the turmoil of the world (or because of it), there are abundant opportunities to make creative changes in how you are perceived. Seize the moment and shift your persona.

LIBRA It is the same old song, but you don't have to play the same old part. Avoid habitual reactions, continue to seek creative ways to respond, and eventually you'll transform the pattern.

SCORPIO You can engage in an internal struggle over who's right, or you can open to the notion that everyone is entitled to his or her way of viewing the world — even if it's a view you don't share.

SAGITTARIUS Stay present in the moment and you'll find the strength and power to turn your creative endeavors into tangible, solid, practical gains — and I mean m-o-n-e-y.

CAPRICORN Do battle with significant others, personal or professional, or find the solid ground of compromise. The choice is yours. And while this sounds simple, finding a win/win solution requires a deeply creative attitude.

AQUARIUS If you allow the situation to unfold, you're likely to benefit financially. While money may not be your ultimate goal, it will help you to create the security you're craving.

PISCES Allow a keen sense of humor to help you to restore relationships with significant others. Let laughter find the way toward peaceful negotiations and you'll emerge with vital vigor.

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