Power Plays 

For the week February 9-15, 2011.

Planetary interactions turn daily life into a complex web of power plays this week, and while certain configurations pack an altruistic intention, other combinations, less inclined toward idealism, aren't the least bit interested in selfless aims. And these mixed celestial messages are certain to be confusing. As they say in New York, "Hey ... we're dealing with power issues, here." Confrontations around who's in charge could include all sorts of stands for freedom and independence, personal as well as collective. The quest for dominance is likely to outweigh humanitarian concerns, but that doesn't mean compassionate efforts won't be effective. So when and where you can reach out to your fellow travelers and extend a helping hand, a little bit of kindness will go a long way.

Several interactions contribute to this week's astral tableau. First, a Sun/Mars conjunction, in Aquarius, continues to arouse a freedom-fighting spirit. Expect increased struggle in all those regions of the world already experiencing violence. But also anticipate feeling combative urges on the personal front, even in areas you thought were pretty much immune to aggression. The good news is that Saturn continues to trine the Sun/Mars conjunction, providing the potential to turn hotheaded rhetoric into grounded change.

The ongoing Venus/Pluto conjunction continues to fan the flames of fanatic desire, and while the "heat" of this interaction is more traditionally understood as sexual heat, it could just as easily produce political heat. Venus, in addition to signifying love and beauty, also signifies values. Pluto represents power as well as politics, and when it shares the same space with Venus, they engender uncompromising agendas. But that's not all. Jupiter squares both Venus and Pluto, and because Jupiter represents a global perspective, our current state of interconnectedness is undeniable: What happens in Egypt has a direct effect everywhere. A Jupiter/Pluto square, by the way, produces a large appetite for power. Be aware that this hunger drives petty despots as well as world leaders, and oppression is just as prevalent at home as it is abroad.

Last week, I promised I would try to explain the intricacies of the "new" zodiac story. In truth, no one knows the exact origins of Western astrology. It's an amalgam, and the prevailing assumption is that it's a science based on the position of the planets in the constellations that seem to encircle the ecliptic. But we forget that other cultures trace different constellations around the same celestial path. I often wonder how the constellations were first identified. Every time I stargaze, I can't help but think, "What drugs were those ancient astronomers using when they etch-a-sketched so many pictures across the night sky?" On my best night, I can only see the Big Dipper.

Arguments about precession and a thirteenth Sign are arguments about whether astrology is a valid system, i.e., does it work? That's the real question. And we all know the answer to that: sometimes. A better question might be, "Does astrology have value?" That's a question that can be applied cross-culturally to any astrological system that attempts to delineate a relationship between heaven and earth.

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

ARIES It's a question of balancing confidence with humility and ambition with generosity. You may not find the perfect blend with your first try, but in time you will find the appropriate combination.

TAURUS There's no need to apologize for working hard — that's just the phase you're in right now. And because all things change, eventually you'll enter the vacation phase.

GEMINI Sometimes reticence and resistance have their own logic. Don't be dismayed by certain opinions, yours or others', that won't budge no matter how much the facts support a new perspective.

CANCER Opportunities for financial improvement are still available, especially if you are willing to make the necessary adjustments in terms of how you spend your time and where you apply your effort.

LEO There's no need to fight, just to be right. So if you find yourself arguing with someone you love and can't find your way out, take a deep breath and a step back.

VIRGO You're right, it is a lot of work, but it's all worth the effort. Continue to concentrate your efforts, and even though it might take time, eventually you'll be pleased with the fruit of your labor.

LIBRA The challenge is how to feel safe from the inside out, regardless of your financial situation or your living arrangement. Here's a hint: Acknowledge the truth of your heart.

SCORPIO Allow intense and thoughtful conversations with friends to stimulate a new approach to your financial situation. This is not about miracle solutions; it's about creating a healing process.

SAGITTARIUS Pay attention to the details of your daily life and you could discover valuable information, previously overlooked, that will help you put a new plan in motion.

CAPRICORN You're experiencing an odd assortment of feelings: On one hand, your nest is disturbed; on the other, the disruption feels exciting. The good news is that the excitement will override the discomfort.

AQUARIUS The best way to manage your agitation is to get in touch with what's bothering you, then figure out healthy ways to remedy your situation.

PISCES Continue to do whatever it is you do to support and maintain a calm attitude, and you'll be in the best position to deflect outside influences that could disturb your internal equilibrium.

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