Endings and Beginnings 

For the week of August 29-September 4, 2012.

It's anything but a typical back-to-school, back-to-work, end-of-summer week — the planets are far too busy to be lolling about on the beach. We're in the tightening grip of the second exact Uranus/Pluto square, an interaction that has more than a few nervous systems struggling to maintain reasonable responses to unreasonable events. We're also in the last wave of the 2012 relationship intensive, and as unresolved situations with significant others, personal and professional, dominate the daily dialogue, the week feels like a retrograde something or other — but it's not. The good news — and there is always good news — is that the planets support the physical and psychological stamina to keep putting one foot in front of the other and facing what needs taking care of. And if that's each other, don't hesitate to make thoughtful care your first choice.

The Uranus/Pluto square, with its signature of revolutionary upset, continues to be at the heart of the intensity. From a historical perspective, Uranus/Pluto contacts are always present when struggles for social justice escalate; the movements for civil rights, women's rights, labor, and civil disobedience are all linked to their cycles. Uranus symbolizes the freedom fighter, and Pluto, the cultural nuclear reactions that effect change at the core. This week (as last week) the Sun, in Virgo, trines Pluto, in Capricorn, a positive alliance that adds a layer of strength to both the insistence for as well as the resistance to change — even if that resistance seems to lack both common sense and generosity of heart. As I write this, women's rights are at the epicenter of the political news, and by the time you read this, I'm sure the Republican National Convention (if it hasn't been blown away by Isaac) will make clear its agenda regarding not just the rights of women, but the rights of all those who benefit from social justice.

Mars forms a sextile to both the Sun and Pluto, a position that transforms certain circumstances into tests of personal power. And it will certainly be a litmus test for the Democratic platform to respond with equal vigor on behalf of the young, the poor, the ageing, people of all color, and, of course, women.

And speaking of the feminine, Venus, the goddess of love, beauty, and what matters most, is forming a final square to Saturn in Saturn's last moments in Libra, the Sign of relationships. (Saturn leaves Libra on October 5.) During Venus' recent six-week retrograde phase, in Gemini, from the middle of May through the end of June, many of us revisited all sorts of relationships issues. During that phase, a Venus/Saturn trine kept interactions highly idealistic. Currently Venus is in Cancer, the Sign of nurturing, and as she clashes with Saturn through the friction of a square, interactions are sure to be more emotional than intellectual. What's more, because Saturn is the planet of limitation, we can also anticipate clearly delineated boundaries.

As you move through the week, try to focus on process rather than outcome. Remember, we are in the midst of a very long phase of transformation.

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

ARIES Assume an objective stance and assess the benefits, if any, of your current attitude toward relationships, personal or professional, and/or your relationship status. You might be surprised by what you discover.

TAURUS Holding steady in the midst of so much transformation is never an easy task, but it's always worthwhile to try, especially if you can allow these winds of transformation to clear out what is no longer necessary.

GEMINI Everything in your life is currently connected to everything else, so the challenge is figuring out how to make all the pieces of the puzzle fall into place simultaneously. Think "big picture" and you'll find a way.

CANCER Give yourself permission to ask for what you need, and while it may be uncomfortable to be forthright, you won't lose anything by acknowledging those desires — you'll likely gain clarity.

LEO Consider this a clean-up phase in preparation for a very busy next step. I'm not trying to sound mysterious; I'm simply suggesting that you set the stage for what is likely to be a remarkable transition.

VIRGO Give yourself permission to stand in your power, and whatever you do, don't hold back. Not every decision or utterance will be a work of art, but perfection isn't the not the point.

LIBRA It's a matter of trust, but not necessarily only trusting another human being. This challenge is about trusting what you've put in motion, and knowing that those efforts will yield a positive result.

SCORPIO Dynamic, thoughtful conversations with co-workers and associates will give you a better grasp on what's next. Expect some surprises, but remember: Forewarned means you'll be better prepared.

SAGITTARIUS Focus on what's right with your picture, and you'll shift your mood and attitude. Yes — I've suggested this before, but there are never enough opportunities to practice positive, practical magic.

CAPRICORN Empowering others requires patience, especially if you're training them to follow a certain line of reasoning. Present your perspective, but give your listener time to digest the information.

AQUARIUS There's no need to worry that taking the time you need to assess your current accomplishment will take you out of the action. A thorough reflection will only enhance your position.

PISCES The focus is on honing your communication skills in all your relationships. Don't despair if this seems a daunting task. Practice makes perfect, and there are plenty of opportunities within a wide range of interactions.

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