Neptune Means Mystery 

For the week of August 22-28, 2012.

A hypersensitive astral air makes it difficult to establish and maintain an emotional equilibrium this week, and because skins are thin, reactions are likely to be immediate and exaggerated. Try not to misconstrue a casual, off-hand comment for a full-blown negative critique. Also do your best to curtail any harsh verdicts against yourself or others. Neptune, the master builder of illusion, is stirring all sorts of pots — personal and political, local and global — and because imagination is Neptune's terrain, the potential to tell stories based on projection and presumption is high. Stick to the facts and check them thoroughly, especially if you're inclined to voice harsh judgments about others — judgments you may be fabricating simply to protect yourself.

This week's source of hypersensitivity has several facets. First, the Sun moves into Virgo today, and as it does, it forms an immediate opposition to Neptune, in Pisces. A Sun/Neptune opposition has the potential to make many of us highly susceptible to suggestion and easily deceived by wishful thinking. And while for some that super-sensitivity stirs creative imagination and spiritual search, for many more, a Sun/Neptune opposition encourages a negative mindset that tends to see the worst in a situation. And that tilt toward pessimism could exacerbate a desire to self-soothe through drugs or alcohol. Not that self-medicating is necessarily bad, but the heightened stress from this opposition makes bingeing probable.

And that's not all. Mars enters Scorpio tomorrow, and as Mars changes its Sign, it sextiles the Sun and simultaneously trines Neptune. A Sun/Mars sextile is a positive, energetic interaction that favors movement and action. And while you would think that a Mars/Neptune trine would also be a positive signature — and in certain cases it is, particularly when used for creative pursuits — this trine carries a potent shadow: It's a highly empathetic combination with a strong urge to merge. Keeping good boundaries under this influence will require attention and intention, especially if you are prone to losing yourself in romantic or other types of passionate relationships. Good boundaries are essential to healthy interactions of every variety.

As Mars leaves Libra behind, it also ends its conjunction with Saturn, but we won't feel the full effect of that discharge until the weekend. Saturn symbolizes the harsh, critical voice of the judge that only speaks a separating dualistic language. Be careful not to aim the Saturn/Mars discharge at yourself or others.

The good news is that Mercury, in Leo, sextiles Jupiter, in Gemini, forming an amiable alliance that lends itself easily to conversations on a wide variety of subjects. It also supports an objective perspective, which is something much needed in the midst of such strong Neptunian waves.

As you work your way through the week, go easy with your fellow travelers. Everyone benefits from kindness.

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

ARIES As Mars leaves your Solar House of partnership, try not to let that shift spur a last-minute discharge. Yes, there are things that need to be said, but it might be wiser to wait until the situation settles down.

TAURUS Mars moves into your Solar House of relationship and fires up interactions with significant others. Pay attention to what rankles and what pleases, because when Saturn enters that house in a few weeks, that's exactly what you'll be working on.

GEMINI The emphasis is on work-related issues, and whether it's a job or career situation, or both, it matters not. Avoid the temptation to make promises you can't keep. And be very clear about what you can realistically accomplish.

CANCER Mars moves you out of hibernation and into a new cycle of creativity and self-expression. Immerse yourself in this phase, allow your imagination to lead the way, and you'll be pleased with the outcome.

LEO Mars focuses your attention on home improvements, and whether those renovations are internal, in the form of increased meditation, or external, in the form of physical work, the result is the same: a greater sense of stability.

VIRGO Expect to feel energized as both the Sun and Mars shift signs and you begin two new cycles. The Sun focuses on a new sense of self — it's your birthday, after all — and Mars stimulates increased interactions with friends and family.

LIBRA Mars motivates a desire to improve your financial situation. But be wary of get-rich-quick schemes that sound too good to be true, because they are. If you stay grounded and practical, you'll remain solid and stable.

SCORPIO Mars enters your Sign — one of its home signs — and as it does, it places you firmly in the leadership role. Make the most of this spotlight by accepting the position graciously and gracefully, and you'll derive great benefit from this new phase.

SAGITTARIUS Mars moves into your Solar House of dreams, inviting you to while away so many hours that you could lose precious and valuable time. Give yourself permission to dawdle, but don't completely shirk your responsibilities.

CAPRICORN You're decidedly more social than you've acted recently, and while you're used to being a hermit, the demands of interaction are invigorating. Enjoy this new phase, and anticipate very interesting conversations.

AQUARIUS Mars concentrates on career concerns, stimulating your ambition as it simultaneously enhances opportunities to advance your goals. Be clear about what you want to accomplish, and then create a positive strategy.

PISCES You're on a journey of heart and mind, and while it may be confusing at times to decide what turn to make next, Mars will help provide the clarity you need, as well as the determination to continue your trek.

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