It's the Most Emotional Time of the Year 

For the week of December 15-21, 2010.

This isn't just any Mercury Retrograde, and all best efforts to summon a seasonal deceleration are likely to meet with opposition. I don't know about you, but I was expecting the current retrograde phase to bring daily life to a crashing halt, and from what I can tell, it's more about picking up stitches than dropping them. What's more, this peculiar retrograde rhythm continues well past the silent night of Christmas weekend, which means rather than winding down to an end-of-the-year review, we're revving up into much more than a few last-minute details. Frankly, I'm bummed; I was really looking forward to a slo-mo rewind holiday, with plenty of extra time to contemplate a too-intense year in preparation for another. Oh well ... I guess I'll just have to settle for interference and interruption from the usual retrograde suspects — lost packages, misplaced car keys, server problems, and emotional meltdowns.

Oddly, it is not just Uranian eccentricities that make this retrograde hectic and frenetic. Pluto and Mars are also at the heart of this signature. Mercury began its third review of the year on December 10, and as it "turned around" it formed a conjunction with Pluto, Mars, and the South Node, a powerful bundle that can often manifest as a restless mind that tends to speak before it thinks. Rash words are likely to be a problem, especially because the combined influence of Pluto and Mars has the potential to turn attitudes aggressive. As provocative language incites riots, large or small, the peacemakers among us will be busy putting out a variety of fires. This tendency towards rashness was also present last week, when the focus was on an impetuous heart. As I always say, "Marry in haste, repent at leisure." Wherever you find yourself spending the currency of this Mercury/Mars/Pluto/South-Node conjunction, it would be wise to take your time.

Unfortunately, patience won't be easy to grab hold of, because as Mercury retrogrades, it moves into a conjunction with the Sun, as well as a square to the ongoing Jupiter/Uranus conjunction. And this combination is even more over the top. Yes, this is an inventive, innovative, and highly creative combination. But it is also really hard on nervous systems, which means for those of you already suffering from disturbed sleep, get ready for more than sugar plums to be disrupting your REM state.

And if all of that isn't enough, there's a lunar eclipse on December 21, on the morning of the Solstice. Both the Sun and the Moon — and Mercury — square the Jupiter/Uranus conjunction. This isn't necessarily a negative interaction, but it is an intense signature that's likely to stir already stirred emotional bodies.

As the final weeks of 2010 unfold, a lot of us are likely to respond to our year-end reviews with suppressed, repressed, or simply pent-up feelings that have been held at bay. But what's held back eventually gets loose. So don't be surprised if you or someone you love starts to "share" or act out. Rather than react, try to remember that we are in the most emotionally charged time of the year, the time of year when all acts of kindness and compassion have an exponential beneficial effect.

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

ARIES It's another week of extraordinary demands, especially career obligations. The best way through this deluge of details is one foot in front of the other and one day at a time.

TAURUS Call your condition an "existential crisis" and you won't be wrong, because you're uncertain where you really belong. But home always has been and always will be where the heart is.

GEMINI You can say that life continues to be all about the money. But you can also say that what you are facing is a crisis of values: what matters most to you versus what matters most to others.

CANCER Partners — past, present, and perhaps future — are sure to show up, but don't worry; these aren't ghosts from a Christmas carol. You're simply reviewing your attachments.

LEO Life continues to revolve around work, and given your desire to create greater financial stability, this is not a bad thing. Just don't work your spirit to the bone.

VIRGO Open to your creative potential and you will find a way to work through the obstacles. I'm not suggesting you buy a bulldozer, just advising you to keep transforming.

LIBRA Try not to let disagreements over petty details intrude on your desire to celebrate. Of course there are difficulties to deal with, but you have the strength to make it through.

SCORPIO Conversations continue to define your circumstances, but this week, dialogue is more important than monologue. State your case, but listen carefully to the response.

SAGITTARIUS No matter where you stand financially, take stock of what's needed to create greater stability. Work out the details now and you'll be much more relaxed later.

CAPRICORN You're still working on the details of your new persona, and you aren't completely clear about the next piece. Don't worry about the outcome; you are growing into it.

AQUARIUS Reach out with your imagination and allow yourself to be inspired by a new level of depth. You don't have to produce a product; you just have to feel your connection to psyche.

PISCES As friends, old and new, make holiday contact, you may find yourself a bit puzzled by a certain level of intensity, both yours and theirs. Rather than worry about it, simply accept it as part of life's process.


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