Backup Your Computers, It's Retrograde Time 

For the week of May 6-12, 2009.

Nothing is moving quickly this week, or for the next couple of weeks, so if you are looking for a speedy anything or want instant returns or gratifications of any kind, you'll need to travel to a parallel universe. The planets have a pace of their own, and attempting to force this natural rhythm will only result in frustration. So rather than wasting time or energy resisting or insisting that daily life be anything other than it is, take a deep breath, exhale, and do your best to adjust to the astral pulse. While the deceleration may feel awkward at first, within a couple of days, you'll be wondering why you were so intent on pushing so hard.

The source of this slowdown is Mercury Retrograde. From May 7 to May 30, Mercury is in its second retrograde phase of the year. For those of you unfamiliar with Mercury Retrograde, here's the skinny: Mercury represents all things related to communication and travel. Three times a year it appears, at least from our perspective on Earth, to move in reverse. And during those retrograde phases, all things within its vast domain also seem to move behind rather than ahead. Phones of every ilk, documents of every dimension, and mail of every denomination fail to perform to perfection, which means messages vanish into the void.

Computer crashes are probable under a Mercury Retrograde, so be sure to have a backup plan, especially if you aren't backed up. Same with travel plans. Try to solidify your arrangements before the retrograde. And during the retrograde, be prepared for delays and detours. While Mercury Retrograde is not a good time to initiate anything new, it is an excellent time to review, refine, and reconsider anything already in motion.

Given the reflective nature of Mercury Retrograde, the next few weeks would be a good to time to contemplate the state of the nation, from a personal as well as a collective perspective. The first few months of 2009 have been months of significant shift. Although its immediate hold has lessened, we are still in the grip of the Saturn/Uranus opposition, a configuration that symbolizes confrontations to the status quo. Saturn signifies structures, Uranus, revolution, and when they oppose one another, certain facets of society tend to tumble. Just as an example, the last time we experienced an opposition between Saturn and Uranus was in 1965 to 1967, a time of tremendous social upheaval, when social mores disintegrated in a cultural revolution that was undeniable. We are in just such a stage now. And just as consciousness was the cutting edge of change during the Sixties, during the current cycle, consciousness continues to be the cutting edge of change.

As Mercury Retrograde unfolds, instead of devolving into frustration or anxiety about the technological failures or traffic jams, contemplate what current cultural mores are in the process of disintegration. We are living through a paradigm shift, and the more we can see what's occurring through a broad perspective, the easier it will be to adjust to the changes.

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

ARIES Mercury reviews your finances, and while you may feel as if you've done as much as possible to improve your situation, there is still room for adjustment. Use this time to your benefit, and you'll be pleased with the outcome.

TAURUS Mercury focuses on your public persona. Contemplate what you would like your image to be, and then spend time figuring out what the necessary steps are to effectuate the changes you desire.

GEMINI Mercury takes you into the altered states of the dreamtime, and while certain perceptions of reality may be disconcerting, if you relax and allow the journey to unfold, you'll garner valuable self-awareness.

CANCER Friends from the past appear in present time, and while some are welcome, other encounters may not be pleasant. Keep healthy boundaries and you'll sort through this process with skill.

LEO Mercury focuses on career, but is interested more in partnerships than résumés. Stay open to the possibility of alliances, and you could find yourself solidifying a solid, beneficial relationship.

VIRGO Mercury urges you to think about what really matters to you, and why. Embrace this process, even if it is uncomfortable. Knowing what you value will ultimately help you make authentic decisions.

LIBRA Mercury probes financial issues, especially shared finances with partners, personal and professional. Make an honest assessment of the situation, and there won't be any trouble reconciling the "books."

SCORPIO Mercury encourages social interaction with a wide variety of people. Whether it's friends, lovers, business associates, family members, or strangers, stay open to the possibility of thoughtful conversation and connection.

SAGITTARIUS Mercury is all details, which means you may find yourself revising what you thought was already finished and complete. Stay open to making necessary changes and you'll improve what's already perfect.

CAPRICORN Mercury might push you into taking chances in uncharted territory. But given the uncertainty of the times, it might be wiser to limit your leaps of faith to creative choices rather than financial ones.

AQUARIUS Mercury wants to hunker down at home, and so do you. Give into the idea of hibernation, and instead of accepting an invitation, just say "no." Honor your instinct for rest and renewal, and you'll emerge from the retrograde refreshed.

PISCES Mercury gets chatty and, as a result, you're talking up a storm. And while nonstop conversation may feel strange at first, you are likely to find very interesting people who are just as eager to engage in conversation with you as you are with them.

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