Celestial Stop and Go 

For the week of March 30-April 5, 2011.

For the next several weeks, unusual traffic patterns along the astral skyway are sure to be felt as major and minor disruptions to the routines of daily life. It's a stop-and-start stride that resembles a global game of Simon Says, so don't be surprised to find yourself taking three steps forward and an "umbrella step" back. Unfortunately, this uneven pace is at odds with the uncontrollable urge to surge forward, no matter what the obstacle or what the cost. In short, it's a celestial mess that's bound to confuse and confound. Best to keep your patience pills close — like in your pocket. Handling these erratic planetary rhythms with skill is going to take fortitude and stamina.

The first planetary disturbance is Mercury Retrograde, which starts on March 30 and lasts until April 23. All of the normal retrograde rules apply: Don't start anything new. Clean up what's already in motion. Pay attention to the details, no matter how time-consuming. Expect to repeat all instructions at least three times. But be aware, this is going to be a rambunctious retrograde, with little or no slogging through the molasses of a normal, slo-mo retro-review. And here's why:

First, on April 2, Mars enters Aries, its Home Sign, where it forms an immediate conjunction with Uranus, which just moved into Aries on March 11. This powerful planetary alignment speaks to prodigious amounts of energy. Mars symbolizes physical energy, and Uranus signifies the instability of radioactive energy. When Mars and Uranus share the same space, especially in a Sign as physically dynamic as Aries, you can count on haste and hurry. This is likely to result in accidents and injuries caused by irrepressible urges to act, even when acting is ill-advised. Don't push the river. Instead, breathe, as often as is necessary to settle your nervous system.

Also on April 2, the Moon joins that Mars/Uranus conjunction, exacerbating emotional volatility by increasing the need to act on impulse. Don't be surprised if you find yourself in a shouting match. The Moon is the feeling body, Mars signifies aggression, and Uranus ... well ... is Uranus, always happy to instigate an insurrection. This powerful emotional drive coalesces with an already all-time-high need for action, because along with the Moon, Mars, the Sun, Jupiter, and Mercury are also in Aries. This planetary concentration is certain to override the resistance and reticence of Mercury Retrograde. Just be careful not to let it turn into a conflagration of rash and reckless behavior. Despite the thrill of Aries' heat, what gets set in motion under this intensity will yield consequences — and you want those results to be positive. If you must act, by all means, have at it. Just try not to burn too many bridges, especially the ones you might need later.

And there is more: On April 4, Neptune moves into Pisces, its Home Sign, and a Sign it hasn't occupied since 1847. Despite the often subtle presence of Neptune, this stirs deep psychic currents, personal as well as collective, so don't be surprised if your dreams are in Technicolor and your fantasy life more vital than reality.

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

ARIES It won't be possible to tone down your intensity, so don't even try. Instead, be prepared to move like lightning. As you do, make every effort to be generous, gracious, and gentle with your fellow travelers.

TAURUS The best way through your busy internal monologue would be to figure out how to quiet your mind. If you don't already have a healthy method of maintaining mental clarity, now would be a good time to find one.

GEMINI Holding back is not the answer. While I am not suggesting that every idea is worthy of an audience, I am advising you to find friendly ears, which will alter your attitude for the better.

CANCER Don't be surprised if you're suddenly driven by ambition and determined to accomplish new goals. Be clear about what you want to achieve, then focus your energy on success.

LEO You're thinking about a lot of issues, especially the question of what you believe to be spiritually true. Be brave and explore ideas other than your own — you might be pleased with what you discover.

VIRGO Yes, you can expect more than a fair degree of emotional turmoil, but try not to let the tumult affect your equilibrium. Stay calm, and you'll handle any upset, skillfully.

LIBRA Expect several breakthroughs — even an "a-ha" or two — as you continue to contemplate the meaning of partnership. Keep in mind, though: The most important relationship of all is your relationship to yourself.

SCORPIO You have a cosmic invitation to take care of all the niggling details of daily life. Pay attention to your health, wealth, happiness, and especially what brings you joy and why.

SAGITTARIUS Creative waves are still pounding the beach of your imagination. The only difference from last week is that you are now improving your ability to ride an inspired moment safely to shore.

CAPRICORN You're still experiencing powerful rumblings from the depths of your being. And while some of those reverberations are disturbing, others are moving you to greater insight.

AQUARIUS Take your time and continue to listen closely to what's being said. This dialogue won't disappear, which means you will have plenty of opportunities to contribute.

PISCES As opportunities for financial success continue, remember: You can't take money with you, and while money often makes the material world easier to navigate, it never has the power to soothe the soul.

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