Choose Peace 

For the week of July 11-17, 2012.

The turbulent seas of change get even rougher this week and next, as several planetary configurations make the already intense days and nights on planet Earth even more intense. Expect controversy and confrontation, both individual and collective. Frustration and ensuing temper tantrums are probable. And because of that, those tried and true patience pills won't be enough to handle the interruptions, interference, detours, and delays that punctuate the ongoing unpredictable atmosphere. All of us — though perhaps not the saintly — will need to think before we speak and breathe before we leap into reactions we're likely to regret the very moment we start to go off on a tirade. A neutral stance would be the best position to assume, especially if you're caught in the middle of conflict.

The week unfolds as a series of astral speed bumps — all of which are strong enough to take any of us off track. (1) On July 14, Mercury goes retrograde, and (2) on July 13, Uranus goes retrograde. Yes, I know I've listed them backwards, but that's completely in keeping with the signature of this dual retrograde — they really act as one. Most of us know the Mercury retrograde drill, but that's no excuse for failing to back up your information. Those of you new to Mercury Retrograde, here's the skinny: Mercury Retrograde negatively affects all things related to communication and language. Translation: All mail sources from the snail to the email have problems, as do all other sources of connectivity, from phones to scans to documents to negotiations to travel.

But this retrograde is particularly problematic because Uranus symbolizes technology, and that means your smartphone is certain to turn stupid. It could take enormous effort to resist the temptation to throw your iPad or any other electronic device against the wall, in the lake, or off the mountaintop. We always feel an etheric bump when Uranus throws its weight around, but because the essence of Uranus is unpredictability ... well, there's no telling how we'll experience the jolt.

On July 15, a Sun/Saturn square is exact and separating. This square is traditionally interpreted as a pessimistic interaction that could lead to hypercriticism — but really, given the degree of intensity, who wouldn't be pessimistic? From a positive perspective, this combination can serve as a sobering buoy amidst a stormy sea.

But it is Mars that poses the biggest challenge to stay afloat on these shifting seas. On July 9, Mars began a square to Pluto as well as an opposition to Uranus, forming a T-Square that culminates on July 17 and 18. T-Squares are laden with tension, and when they release, we experience their full effect. The energetic signature of the Uranus/Pluto square without the presence of Mars is revolution. Uranus and Pluto want to take it to the street. Mars easily agrees, and its famous need to lead, win, and get physical exacerbates ego conflicts, power struggles, and discord of every denomination. Keeping a cool head will require constant effort.

Navigating these waters successfully will require an abiding trust in the idea that positive solutions are possible even when we can't see the end of the tunnel. Sometimes it's enough to know that peace is the wisest choice.

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

ARIES The dual retrogrades could tempt you to engage in needless strife. But if you anchor yourself in creativity, you could find this retrospective inspirational and invaluable.

TAURUS Mercury and Uranus stir the deep waters of your unconscious. Allow this process to happen, and even if it is uncomfortable, be confident that it will inspire positive participation.

GEMINI As always, conversations cover a broad range of topics, but don't be surprised if old acquaintances reappear and suddenly you're rehashing what you thought was ancient history.

CANCER Be willing to put aside your concerns for financial security — yes, easier said than done — and concentrate on figuring out how to revitalize previous opportunities.

LEO The dual retrograde stimulates an identity crisis, but don't worry; this isn't a negative process. It's simply about taking stock and deciding what facets of your personality would benefit from an honest reassessment.

VIRGO You're not in any real danger during the retrograde, but if you aren't careful, the Brain Worm could manage to steal your attention, as well as your extra mental energy, and that wouldn't be the best use of your time.

LIBRA The dual retrograde reviews interactions with significant others, personal and professional. Pay close attention to assumptions you or others have made, and then do your best to transform any unrealistic expectations.

SCORPIO Several past work-related projects suddenly make a comeback, and while you may be predisposed to dismiss these opportunities, take one last look — you could find gold at the core of one or more prospects.

SAGITTARIUS Mercury and Uranus catalyze a keen desire to travel to distant locales, and while travel is never recommended during this type of retrograde, there's nothing to keep you from armchair adventures.

CAPRICORN Yes, you are working through financial issues, but a much bigger process is being stirred by the particulars. Allow yourself to contemplate how the need to hold on is influencing your choices.

AQUARIUS Whether it's a romantic dilemma or another situation related to the heart, your focus stays on dialogue and discussion with significant others about the benefits of a creative approach and creative solutions.

PISCES The dual retrograde could revisit a financial crisis, but it could just as easily revive the question of how to honor your value without diminishing the values of others.

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