Cockamamie Christmas 

For the week of December 23-29, 2009.

This year, Christmas is more than a little kooky. So don't be surprised if traditional festivities turn eccentric and all you can hear (as part of your internal soundtrack) is "Have yourself a cockamamie Christmas." It all begins the day before the night before Christmas, when you, those you love, or utter strangers could be prone to odd emotional outbursts, completely unrelated to seasonal celebrations but driven by what feel like sudden eruptions of extraordinary insight. Unfortunately, by the afternoon of Christmas Eve, the fickle finger of holiday fate may have turned some of those keen observations into the stone of judgment, causing some to square off on the value of sugarplum fairies, mistletoe, or eggnog. The good news is that by the time it's time to open gifts on Christmas morning, some of those "differences" will dissolve in the excitement or simply be folded into customary patterns of denial. By the morning after, there will be plenty of time to digest another year of seasonal dysfunction. And for those of you not celebrating Christmas but still caught in the static of unified Santa field, be prepared for a couple of moody days, punctuated by the highs and lows of normal year-end mania.

The first source of this year's screwball Christmas is a Mercury/Uranus sextile, a positive alignment known for inventive thinking. Mercury symbolizes the mind, Uranus signifies innovation, and when they work together, independent analysis is possible. But what turns this sextile emotionally quirky is the Moon, which joins the team early on the 23rd and stays conjunct Uranus until the morning of the 24th.

Unfortunately, as the Moon sheds the role of "mother of invention," she moves immediately into the role of Medusa, as she opposes Saturn and simultaneously squares the Sun/Pluto conjunction. (Oy.) All day on Christmas Eve, the power of her gaze is sure to petrify those who disagree, especially when it comes to how long to cook the stuffed turkey or whether or not to add duck fat to the gravy base.

Fortunately, by Christmas morning, the Moon moves into a trine with Mars, igniting impulsive expressions of intense emotions. Translation: Let's kiss and make up; we're family, after all.

All of this transpires as Mars is in its first days of a retrograde phase that began on December 20 and persists until March 10. And as if all that isn't enough, Mercury goes retrograde on December 26, turning travel plans before and after the holidays to mush. When Mars and Mercury, the two planets that drive the mechanics of daily life, go retrograde at the same time, regular routines here on Earth tend to seize and then fall apart. The good news is that no matter how much we acknowledge the influence of astrology, we still have free will and can choose how to respond to the delays, detours, and dramas of Mars and Mercury Retrograde.

So, dear readers, cope with the stress of a cockamamie Christmas with a sense of humor — and, just like Santa, keep your "ho, ho, ho's" handy.

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

ARIES At the moment, it's all about allowing your fire to burn brightly, and while that doesn't mean you should suck the oxygen from the room, it does translate to being confident and passionate.

TAURUS You are still in a deeply internal phase, gathering your strength as well as your wisdom. Make time to reflect on what you have accomplished.

GEMINI The world may be promoting family, but you're contemplating financial improvement. Don't worry about how your actions will be interpreted, and use this time to get your money matters in order.

CANCER Try not to let the mood swings of others trigger your own. Rather than react to confrontation or criticism, refuse to engage in negativity of any kind. Keep a positive attitude and others will eventually follow your example.

LEO With Mars Retrograde in your sign, you're continuing to model the ideal leader. As you hold the spotlight, demonstrate your best self by being clear, direct, and balanced in thought, word, and deed.

VIRGO Of course you are worried about money — who isn't? But that's no excuse to turn into Scrooge. Remember, gifts are always more deeply appreciated when they express what's heartfelt and true.

LIBRA Hunker down for the holidays but try not to turn blobitude into complete disconnection. Yes, emotional waves are pounding your "personal shores," but if you find your center and hold to it, you can ride them with skill.

SCORPIO Be prepared for intense conversations to challenge your ability to stay cool, calm, and collected. No matter how personal some of what's said may appear to be, mostly it's just others blowing off steam.

SAGITTARIUS Your mission, should you accept it, is simply to be strong and hold steady in spite of internal and external emotional tremors. I'm not suggesting this will be easy, but I can promise it will be worthwhile.

CAPRICORN It's a profound time of change and your choices will have lasting consequences. As you contemplate your next steps, consider the short-term and long-term effects of your actions.

AQUARIUS You are actually time-traveling, thinking about what was, what is, and what will be. As you move through this process, don't forget: The past creates the present as the present creates the future.

PISCES Is money the only form of abundance? That's your question this week, as you try to make sense of your financial position. Just remember, while money matters, it's not a measure of true value.

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