Opportunities for Growth 

For the week of December 2-8, 2009.

This week, you don't even have to listen closely to hear the waves of stress crashing on the shorelines of consciousness. You also don't have to stretch to hear the universal chorus shout: "Enough already." Uranus, Direct as of December 1, is challenging our already distended capacity for change, and as it does, some of us ... no, make that lots of us ... are going to need a time out. Here's the bad news: there isn't time for a time out. This week, as well as next, daily life moves at almost lightning speed and regular routines blaze by in a daze of hurry up. Here's the good news: by the middle of the month, the planetary pace slows down. Here's the bad news, again: that deceleration morphs into molasses, as Mars Retrograde begins on December 20 and Mercury Retrograde begins on December 26. When the two planets that drive the mechanics of daily life are retrograde simultaneously, collective angst is palpable. Forewarned is better prepared, which means rather than ride a wave of resentment about the breakneck pace, be willing to surf the current and get done what needs to be done before "hurry up" turns into "hey-I-need-to-think-about-it-for-a-long-time-first."

A Mars/Jupiter opposition, in effect until Mars goes Retrograde on December 20, is promoting overextension as a way of life. And that expansive signature is joined by a Sun/Mars trine that lasts for the next two weeks. While it may be a useless warning, do your best to be and to stay moderate. This entire Sun/Mars/Jupiter bundle offers lots of opportunities for success, but all the success in the world means nothing if you're too exhausted to show up for the applause or the award. By the beginning of next week, a Sun/Jupiter sextile turns some of that Sun/Mars ambition toward generosity and enthusiasm, which is appropriate for the season, as well as for our times, when so many need so much.

It's especially handy to have this positive alliance in the midst of the ongoing Saturn/Pluto square, which as many of you know, symbolizes violence, martyrdom, and a heartless severity, all of which can identified in the victim/victimizer polarization. There isn't enough space to go into this complex in depth, so I'll cut to the chase: Part of what's driving the current levels of individual and collective stress are negative attitudes born of helplessness and hopelessness. And while it is easier said than done, those feelings of futility, no matter how oppressive, are also opportunities for growth. And I'm not being glib, woo-woo, or superficial. One of the ways to use the power of this Saturn/Pluto square is to align with Saturn, not as the critic and the judge who only dwells on what's wrong, but rather to align with Saturn, the teacher, who knows so well what needs to be learned next. When that willingness to grow combines with the transformative power of Pluto, anything is possible.

Of course, there is real suffering in the world and that always needs to be acknowledged. But for those who have a choice, and many of us do, my first question after listening to anyone, including myself, who lingers too long on the pity pot is "So what are you doing about it?" One of the lessons of Saturn/Pluto is learning how to also ask, "How can I help?"

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

ARIES Meditate on "The Hanged Man" Tarot card, and allow that image to help you to embrace a new perspective. You might feel discombobulated at first, but it's guaranteed to stimulate a new creative process.

TAURUS Stay open to compromise but don't assume it is your only choice. Give in where necessary, but don't relinquish what matters most to you.

GEMINI Be passionate and indulge your appetites. And don't worry ... it's not likely you'll drown in an ocean of desire, and if you do, you could be reborn as the goddess or god of love.

CANCER Instead of worrying obsessively, turn your anxiety over to No-Freti, the ancient Egyptian goddess who transforms worry into trust. Remember, a positive attitude translates into positive action.

LEO Trust your intuition, and allow that self-confidence to guide your decisions. I'm not suggesting you have all the answers. I'm simply advising you to honor your own wisdom.

VIRGO Life is moving fast, but that's no reason to rush through every moment. Take each day at your own pace and you'll have an easier time handling the intensity.

LIBRA Closure isn't always easy, but can be rewarding. Spend time gathering the loose ends of your life and contemplating how to bring certain areas to completion.

SCORPIO Be aware of your limitations and you'll expand your strengths. This sounds contradictory, but you are learning to reconcile opposites, a necessary step to authentic power.

SAGITTARIUS Your mission, should you accept it, is figuring how to hold steady in the midst of so much activity. Here's a hint: Do not get sucked into any soap operas, your own or other's.

CAPRICORN You are facing a mountain of hard work, both internal and external, and while you seldom resist gargantuan tasks, this phase is going to require effort, energy, and realistic expectations.

AQUARIUS You are not backsliding, so don't forget how much you've grown. There is simply still more to do, but you are father along than you can imagine.

PISCES Whether you are aware of it or not, you are merging several worlds, which is why you may be feeling slightly out of sorts. Give yourself time to synthesize and you'll make the necessary adjustments.

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